August 16, 2015

Saint Akakios, Bishop of Liti and Rendini (15th cent.)

St. Akakios, Bishop of Liti and Rendini


Leading over a mighty chorus, the pious praised you,
As a divinely inspired friend of the Savior, sacred Akakios.

Saint Akakios lived in the late fifteenth century. He was ordained bishop of the historic diocese of Liti and Rendini by the then Metropolitan of Thessaloniki and later Patriarch of Constantinople, Saint Nephon (Aug. 11), with whom he was associated spiritually. He also had a close spiritual relationship with Saint Theophilos the Myrrhgusher (July 8), whom he ordained a priest. Saint Theophilos had him as his Elder, "because he found Akakios to be pious and virtuous," who bore no wickedness. Thus, through Akakios, Saint Theophilos became associated with Saint Nephon, as well as the entire holy company in the circle of Saint Nephon, such as the subsequent Holy Martyrs Makarios (Sept. 14) and Joasaph (Oct. 26), Elder Iakovos of Dionysiou and Deacon Iakovos who were martyred in Adrianople (Nov. 1), Saint Theona (Apr. 4), the brothers Theophanos and Nektarios of Apsaras (May 17), as well as the well-known Saint Maximos the Greek (Jan. 21).

When Saint Nephon, as Patriarch of Constantinople, learned of the great and wonderful things that were taking place in Egypt, he sent there in 1486 the only man he completely trusted and was distinguished for his wisdom and virtue, Bishop Akakios of Liti and Rendini, whom he very much revered and respected, along with his disciple, Saint Theophilos, and a group of clerics, to be better informed of the details of what was seen and heard. They brought a letter of Nephon to the Patriarch of Alexandria, Saint Joachim of Pany (Sept. 17), where he thanked the Lord that he answered the prayer of Joachim for performing in a wonderful and great way these miracles.

Patriarch Joachim accepted his guests with love and joy and had them stay at the Patriarchate for a good while, where they were taken care of, showing admiration for the personalities sent by Constantinople.

From there Saints Akakios and Theophilos with those who escorted them went to God-trodden Mount Sinai, and having piously venerated that place, they went into the desert to meet the ascetics of the desert. From there they went to the Holy City, Jerusalem, and having venerated with longing the Life-giving Tomb of the Lord, they went to Mount Tabor. After they went to Damascus and met with the Patriarch of Antioch, who gave them a letter for the Patriarch of Constantinople, then they returned to Jerusalem. There Saint Akakios suddenly fell ill and reposed in the Lord. He was buried by his disciple Theophilos with great reverence, who buried him according to the monastic and ascetic tradition of the time, because he was a complete enemy of the vanity and the futility of the world, probably in a humble place, as Saint Akakios would have wanted, where he wrote as a marker, "The humble Bishop of Liti and Rendini", always hidden from the glory of men.

Saint Akakios was a Bishop who lived an ascetic and hesychastic life in the tradition of Saint Gregory Palamas and Saint Symeon of Thessaloniki after the Fall of Constantinople, and was held in great reverence by the saints of his time, to whom he taught the ideals of noetic prayer, and was a bright star of the Orthodox Church.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.