August 18, 2013

Holy New Martyr Constantine of Kappua (+ 1610)

St. Constantine of Kappua (Feast Day - August 18)

In the grim years of Ottoman rule, as is known from history, thousands of Christians were martyred. One of them is the Holy Neomartyr Constantine of Kappua in Thessaly, who before being baptized and received into the bosom of our Church was a Muslim, the son of a Turkish official. At the age of twenty he was introduced to Christian doctrines by a certain educated monk from the Monastery of Saint Nicholas in Kappua. When this monk determined that the faith in Christ was established in this young Turk, he baptized him in the Monastery, and from his former name Saim he was given the new name Constantine.

The reaction of the Turkish official, who was the father of the neophyte Constantine, was thunderous and dynamic. He wanted to punish the three monks of the Monastery in Kappua with death, but he did not succeed because they managed to flee to Meteora, where they sought protection from the monks there. The anger of the father peaked and he burned down the Monastery. Enraged by the strong stance and behavior of his son, he ordered the soldiers of his guard to throw him in the dungeon and were ordered not to release him until he returned to his ancestral faith.

The soldiers acted in accordance with the orders of the father. They threw Constantine into a dark and moldy dungeon, and from morning till night they would ask him if he repented of his apostasy. Constantine, however, would answer with sweetness and stability: "I will never deny my Christ, no matter what you do to me. I fear nothing. He is beside me and strengthens me." The angry and exhausted father, having reached the limits of his patience, ordered his soldiers to torture him harder, and that if he still refuses repentance, they were to bring him to the gallows. But even the new harder tortures were not able to bend the mind and faith of Constantine. Then the soldiers announced the decision of the father to have him hung, as a last resort threat, but they still received the same firm answer: "I tell you again, nothing can separate me from my Christ. I love Him so much, that I do not care if I even have to give my life for His love."

Under the command of his father, the soldiers led him outside of the town of Kappua, where the modern day village of Kappa is located. Here they threw a rope over a thick branch of a large plane tree that existed at this location, near the Community Bureau of Kappa, and they hung Constantine. The holy soul of the young Constantine flew near to the eternal love of Christ. His honored relics were buried by Christians near the place of his martyrdom, at a place called "Tria Dendra" (Three Trees), where a church was erected.

Saint Constantine was martyred on the 18th of August in the year 1610.

Apolytikion in Plagal of the First Tone
Neomartyr Constantine of Kappua, as a brave soldier of the Church of Christ, let us bless and praise O faithful, for he forcefully abandoned the impiety of his father, preaching the Savior, and having lawfully contested, he gave his head as a gift to Christ.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.