July 24, 2016

Holy New Martyr Athanasios of Kios (+ 1670)

St. Athanasios of Kios (Feast Day - July 24)


Blessed Athanasios gave and received,
He gave his head and received immortality.

Athanasios was from the village of Kios in Bithynia of Asia Minor, and was also a wealthy and pious married man with children. He held the position of demogeron in his village, which means he was one of a small group of men elected by the Orthodox Christian community to represent them before the Muslim authorities to serve their needs. For example, he often protested on behalf of his fellow Orthodox Christians against unjust taxes levied upon them by their Ottoman overlords. His outspokenness in this regard was not appreciated by his Muslim neighbors, therefore they retaliated with the allegation that Athanasios had expressed a desire to convert to Islam.

Because Athanasios denied such an accusation, he was taken to Constantinople to appear before the Grand Vizier Koprulu Faz─▒l Ahmed Pasha. Before the Grand Vizier he again denied the accusation, but he in turn urged Athanasios to embrace Islam so that he could at least save his life. To this Athanasios replied: "God forbid I should ever deny my faith."

Seeing that Athanasios was firm in his Christian faith, the Grand Vizier had him imprisoned, where he was tortured on a daily basis. Despite this, Athanasios remained steadfast, and repeated: "I was born a Christian and a Christian I will die."

Unsuccessful in their attempt to convert Athanasios, the brave athlete of Christ, he was sentenced to death by the Grand Vizier. After being led to a place called Parmak Kapi, the Neomartyr Athanasios was beheaded, and received the unfading crown of the contest on July 24, 1670.

His life was written by a contemporary of his who was an aristocratic scholar of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, named John Karyophylis.