July 11, 2016

Saint Cyril the New of Paros (+ 1833)

St. Kyrillos the New of Paros (Feast Day - July 11)

By Monk Moses the Athonite

Venerable Cyril the New was born in Marpissa of Paros in 1748 and had the surname of Papadopoulos. As a young man he went to Mount Athos and became a student at the Athoniada School of Vatopaidi. His teacher was his fellow countryman Saint Athanasios Parios (June 24), "from whom he copied and applied fiery zeal and unstoppable indefatigable action for the glory of the Almighty."

The principal of Athoniada, Archimandrite Nikephoros Mikragiannanitis, states that "at the time of Parios Athoniada experienced glorious days and his students prospered in virtue, such as the Neomartyr Saint Athanasios Koulakiotis (Sept. 8) and the founder of the Monastery of Megalou Dendrou Venerable Cyril Papadopoulos." He remained on the Holy Mountain as a monk for a considerable time, teaching both sacred letters and secular wisdom, and was associated with the renewal movement of the holy Kollyvades fathers and their main representatives. Among these were the brothers according to the flesh Hierotheos and Philotheos Georgiou, who later went to Paros and became the new founders and renovators of the Holy Monastery of the Life-Giving Spring in Longovarda. During Cyrils’ time on Athos, his acquaintance with blessed elders and his desire for an increase in virtue made him an outstanding monk, whose virtue and learning were greater than those of any other Athonite ascetic.

After his departure from the Holy Mountain, the Patriarch of Constantinople appointed him preacher general of the Aegean, because of his virtues and knowledge. He became a zealous preacher of the word of God and wherever he went, like Kosmas Aitolos, he would set up a large cross and, with this as a symbol and banner, would deliver fiery speeches. His fervent and incessant sermons were very constructive, but at the same time discreetly corrective. At the Mystery of Confession and in private conversations he was compassionate, consoling and supportive.

In 1811, he found himself in Attica as a preacher and confessor. A young man whom he helped to further his education wrote: "Cyril the preacher from Paros, whom public opinion held to be an ascetic, since he had come from the Holy Mountain, where he had lived a monastic life, traveled around the Aegean Islands and villages in Greece, preaching the word of God and confessing those who came to him for this purpose." In 1823, he baptized a Turkish woman in Paros.

This important missionary and little known confessor of the Orthodox faith traveled as far as Caesarea in Cappadocia and Aivali on his travels as a preacher. Saint Cyril also "excelled as an ideal mentor, confessor and spiritual guide. In particular, through divine worship and the Mysteries of the Church he fortified, declared, affirmed and made intelligible to all the incarnate dispensation of the incomprehensible Word of God. His confident stance towards powerful politicians and men of the Church was such that he had no hesitation in reprimanding them, like a second Forerunner or Elijah, over any misconduct or injustice, despite the fact that this behavior cost him dearly. He was threatened, suffered ill-treatment and survived numerous attempts on his life on the part of the infidels."

The time he spent on Paros and his presence there had an impact on the pious population, ensuring a warm appreciation of monasticism and a revival of monasticism on the island. During his stay at the Monastery of Saint Anthony, in Marpissa, he was visited by Saint Arsenios and his Elder Daniel, as Blessed Philotheos Zervakos mentions: "They arrived on Paros with nothing but the cassocks they were wearing, having fled the campaign of Dramalis [Turkish general charged with quelling the uprising in 1822]. They were sent by Abbot Philotheos to the Monastery of Saint Anthony, which lies in Marpissa, to the noted missionary and national preacher Cyril Papadopoulos, who was living there with certain Athonite brethren of the Kollyvades, as they were known, who had gone there to lead the hesychastic life."

Saint Cyril renovated the nun’s Monastery of Christou Dasous on Paros: "providing for all their needs, advising as a spiritual father, contributing, assisting and consoling. He was particularly close to the Elders Philotheos and Hierotheos at the Monastery of Longovarda and, according them all honor and love, commissioned the former to draw up the Rule of the Monastery of the Nuns." He also renovated the holy Monastery of Saint George in Langadas and used his good offices for the restoration of the Monastery of Longovarda and that of the Mother of God Phaneromeni on Naxos.

Saint Cyril was endowed with the gift of foresight and with the ability to work miracles. He made the sign of the Cross over a snake and it died; he traveled on his monastic cassock which he spread out on the sea; he struck a rock at the arid Monastery of Saint George and a spring gushed forth which is still running to this day. He went to his rest in the Lord on 11 July 1833, at the Monastery of Saint George, of which he was renovator and abbot, and was buried there. His honorable skull is preserved in the Monastery of Saint George. His memory is celebrated on 11 July.

Source: Βατοπαιδινό Συναξάρι - Έκδοσις Ιεράς Μεγίστης Μονής Βατοπαιδίου, Άγιον Όρος, 2007. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.