December 3, 2013

Holy New Martyr Angelis, the Physician of Argos (+ 1813)

Saint Angelis the New Martyr (Feast Day - December 3)

Pious in faith, quiet and gentle in character, and obedient was the merciful and zealous Angelis, who took up medicine as his profession in Argos of the Peloponnese. In a religious debate with an unbelieving and impious Frenchman who mocked the Christian Faith, he sought to further defend the Christian Faith not merely with words but also through vigorous deeds. He challenged the Frenchman to a public duel to show the power of the Orthodox Faith, allowing the atheist to fully arm himself, while he himself would only be armed with a stick. Angelis went to Confession and received Holy Communion through his spiritual father and received his blessing to become a martyr after much resistance. The Frenchman, in the face of Angelis' faith and courage backed down, and Angelis was declared the winner.

Angelis despaired however, because he had decided to become a martyr for Christ and thereby show that an Orthodox Christian has no fear of death. He then abandoned medicine and closed the shop in his house, and abandoning all companionship he went to live in silence. And suddenly, in an attempt to fulfill his desire for martyrdom, on the Saturday of Lazarus of the year 1813, he denied Christ and became a Muslim! Because he created a scene in a cafe in Nafplio, and appeared drunk on wine, and did any disorderly thing he could to show his repudiation of Islam. The authorities therefore banished him to the island of Chios.

Many of his actions seemed strange, and were reminiscent of other "fools-for-Christ". He repented there, and cried every day with tears of repentance in their churches, prayed and gave alms. Seeking martyrdom, one day during Ramadan Angelis drank water in the company of many Turks before the appointed hour, and stood up and confessed Christ and his Christian faith. Another time, after about six months, he entered the custom-house shaved and confessed his Christian faith before the Turks there. Finally, the Turks arrested him, mercilessly beat him and locked him in irons in the prison of the Castle of Chios. He confessed to the Muslim rulers that all that he did may have appeared foolish, but he did it with complete understanding and knowledge in order to show the foolishness of Muslim beliefs and superstitions. Remaining steadfast in the Christian confession, he was beheaded on December 3rd 1813, and his sacred relics were thrown into the sea.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
The choir of Angels, O Neomartyr Angelis, and the city of Athletes, clap their hands above, at your endurance and steadfastness for the faith, and they receive your spirit, leading it to the heavens with glory, to Christ our God.

Rejoice young Athlete of Christ, thrice-blessed Angelis, together with the choirs of Angels, and the Martyrs, and all the Saints, in standing beside the throne, of the Ruler of All.