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December 10, 2015

Saint Athanasios, Bishop of Methoni

St. Athanasios of Methoni (Feast Day - December 10)

Saint Athanasios was born in Catania, Sicily probably between 814-818 AD.

Around 827 his parents, because the Arabs ravaged Sicily, came to Old Patras in the Peloponnese. This was the great age when there lived in Patras the future great and wise hierarch of Caesarea, Arethas of Patras.

Although he was still young in age, Athanasios requested that he become a monk in one of the monasteries of the area.

Bravely he set about the monastic struggle and quickly attained the prize of his high calling, which is why the then Metropolitan of Patras made him abbot of the monastery, despite his repeated refusals.

His position as abbot did not stop him from living a virtuous life, rather he proved that he could serve the Church also in its highest office, which is why the Metropolitan of Patras ordained him as Bishop of Methoni, which at that time was subject to his Metropolis.

As bishop in small Methoni, Athanasios worked with admirable zeal to respond to all the material and spiritual needs of his flock, while being a perfect model of evangelical poverty and all the Christian virtues.

When the time approached for his passing to God, he called for his disciples and advised them to always exercise the virtue of love and maintain continuously the remembrance of the Second Coming of the Lord.

After his blessed repose (around 880), his grave became a source of miracles, which is why many people ran to him for healing.

Saint Peter, Bishop of Argos, visited this shrine and delivered a panegyric in honor of Saint Athanasios, and it is from this that we receive much information about his life. The memory of Saint Athanasios was celebrated on December 10th, but due to the occupations of the region by the Franks, Turks and Venetians, his memory was forgotten from local memory.

For this reason the Metropolis of Patras reinstated his memory recently and celebrates one of its children as a man who was perfected in grace and the power of the Holy Spirit. A Divine Service was composed by Archimandrite Nikodemos Aerakis and former Metropolitan of Patras Nikodemos Vallindras.