August 23, 2015

Saint Haralambos the Newly-Revealed of Crete (+ 1788)

Venerable Harlambos of Kalyviani (Feast Day - August 23)

Saint Haralambos was born in the village of Dafnes in the province of Temenous in Heraklion, Crete on August 3, 1723 and had three brothers. Since early childhood he showed signs of purity and devotion to the Church and his friends and relatives noticed that, as a child, he would retreat to a cave, during rest hours, and pray to God.

His burning desire for asceticism and conscious devotion to the commandments made him worthy of visions of the Virgin Mary. His visions led him in 1763, at the age of forty, to the Monastery of Panagia Kalyviani dedicated to the Holy Virgin where he became her faithful servant. When he reached the Monastery, near the Turkish occupied village of Kalyvia, he met a number of monks who were not dressed in the traditional black cassock for fear of the Turkish Janissaries. They were Cryptochristians and passed off as poor men.

As soon as the Saint established himself in the Monastery he took an active role in promoting the free practice of faith, uncompromising to his principles in spite of the threats from Janissaries. At that time, the lush and fertile valley of Messara was in the hands of the Turks. The Orthodox Christians were deprived not only of spiritual but also of corporeal nourishment. The presence of Venerable Haralambos soothed the pain, he alleviated the grief of the Christians in the area, and his intervention was very effective. Gradually the Christians acquired more and more concessions by the Turks.

Among his many miracles in life, he performed one for the wife of the Muslim Aga of Kalyvia, with the result that all the members of her family were baptized Christians.

Haralambos served here for 25 years until he fell asleep in the Lord on August 23, 1788 at the age of 65. Six months before his repose, Haralambos had asked another monk named Anthony to be his successor as abbot.

In 1957 Saint Haralambos "made his appearance and revealed himself" to Metropolitan Timothy of Gortynos and Arcadia, who came to the throne in 1956 and would become later Archbishop of Crete. This took place when the courtyard of the Monastery was being fixed next to the old church, and a grave was found from which a fragrance poured out and relics were discovered. Saint Haralambos then began to appear to many people in the village of Dafnes revealing details of his life. Metropolitan Timothy built a church in honor of Saint Haralambos, upon the request of the Saint, and it was consecrated by Metropolitan Makarios of Gortynos and Arcadia on 9/29/2012. Metropolitan Timothy commissioned a Service to be composed for Saint Haralambos by Monk Gerasimos Mikragiannanites, and he himself wrote a dismissal hymn in his honor.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Let us praise the venerable Haralambos, and let all the faithful with gladness and longing embrace his honorable relics. For he lived brilliantly the perfection of virtue and received the grace to work wonders. And he ever intercedes for the salvation of our souls.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
In the latter days Venerable One, you revealed yourself to mankind, and showed forth your grace, which was hidden to all, wherefore we sing to you, as a godly-minded friend of the Lord, and we celebrate your revered memory. Grant us your entreaties and your aid Father Haralambos.

The faithful reverently celebrate, Venerable Haralambos, your holy memory. And with longing we ask for the grace of your relics, and the forgiveness of our offenses.

All Saints of Panagia Kalyviani Monastery