October 20, 2015

Holy Martyr Andronikos of Crete

St. Andronikos the Cretan (Feast Day - October 20)

The iconoclastic controversy, between 726-843, produced many martyrs, not only in Asia Minor, but also in places like Crete. Among them was Saint Andronikos the Martyr.

However, we would not have known of the existence of Saint Andronikos if it wasn't for Metropolitan Manuel of Gedeon, the Great Chartophylax (Keeper of the Archives) of the Great Church of Christ, who was an erudite author and historian of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and born in Crete. He compiled the book The Byzantine Heortologion (1896), which is a book of the feasts of saints. We are informed about Saint Andronikos in his later book called Sunday Readings (1918), where he writes that the Cretan Meletios Sergios found an old manuscript in the Synaxarion for the month of October in which it is written: "The commemoration of our Venerable Father Andronikos who was born and reared in Crete and struggled as a champion of Holy Icons along with Nicholas the Studite." He further writes in his study titled Dispute Concerning the Recognition of Iconophiles that there were 106 Confessors who suffered by the iconoclasts with Empress Theodora. In addition to these, he adds that there were "three more [martyrs] about whom I learned after the publication of my Byzantine Heortologion ... including Andronikos the Cretan, who struggled championing Holy Icons and is venerated on October 20th. He is found in only one manuscript."

It is supposed that Saint Andronikos was martyred during the reign of the iconoclast Emperor Leo III the Isaurian, when General Theophanes Lardathyros governed Crete and persecuted the iconophiles. It was this Governor who cruelly put to death Saints Cosmas the Cretan, Stephan and Agallianos. In the Great Castle of Heraklion, there was a church dedicated to Saint Andronikos, but Ismael Agha had it converted into a public bath known as Dizdar Hamami. Though unknown to us, he is honored today by the Church of Crete on October 20th.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
You courageously defeated the old deceiver with ascetic living and with steadfast spiritual struggles, all-blessed Andronikos. You distinguished yourself for your confession of faith. Venerable Martyr, struggler of the Savior, we pray: intercede for our souls.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
You worshiped Christ with ascetic living, and as a struggler you honored His Holy Icon, and for the sake of His Icon you gave your life. Therefore we revere your memory.

You shone brightly with your ascetic life. You confessed honor for the Icon of Christ and endured great pain and struggles for it, all-blessed Andronikos, the adornment of Crete.