December 8, 2013

Saint Parthenios of Chios (+ 1883)

Venerable Parthenios of Chios (Feast Day - December 8)

The venerable Parthenios was from the village of Dafnonas in Chios. At a young age he got engaged and he worked in trade between Chios, Smyrna and Constantinople. While preparing for marriage he was notified that his wife became seriously ill and before he returned from a trip, she died.

Desiring to behold his dead fiancee with his own eyes, he went to the grave at night, dug her up, and took her in his arms. He philosophized, as is said in the hymns from the Funeral Service: “We went out and saw in the tombs that the naked bones of man are worms and filth and stench”, and without telling anyone, he left the cares of this vain world, and became a monk in Nea Moni of Chios, and he became noted for his ascetical feats.

With the blessing of his elder, he ascended the peak of Mount Penthodos, and there he would light the vigil lamp and cared in general for the abandoned church there of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Mark. At one point, by the will of God, he uncovered a cave at the southeast side of the mountain, where he decided to live in asceticism. There he lived in fasting, vigil and prayer day and night.

The Lord, beholding his spiritual feats, bestowed on him many spiritual gifts, among which was foresight. He foretold the great and terrible earthquake of Chios in 1881. Soon, his fame grew, and the abandoned Church of Saint Mark was transformed into a Skete, where the venerable Parthenios and his disciples performed their monastic duties.

All the people gathered from the various parts of the island to hear his sweet words and to seek his prayers and his blessing. The ever-memorable teacher Lazarios Zanaras, wrote against the will of the Venerable One, that Venerable Parthenios performed many miracles in his life.

He reposed in peace on December 8th 1883.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos

The only extant photograph of St. Parthenios