March 17, 2017

The Skull of Saint Alexios the Man of God

The honorable skull of Saint Alexios the Man of God was given as a gift to the Holy Lavra Monastery in Kalavrita by Roman Emperor Manuel Palaiologos in 1398. Till this day Saint Alexios is the patron saint of Kalavrita, Greece where his skull still resides for veneration. A great celebration takes place on the feast of Saint Alexios, March 17th, with numerous pilgrims attending the all-night vigil. In the morning of the feast a procession takes place with the skull where it is brought to the Metropolitan Cathedral of Kalavrita, where the Divine Liturgy is celebrated.

In 1585 the Ottomans set Holy Lavra Monastery on fire, but the holy skull was saved by two monks.

With the blessing of Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens, the reliquary left Greece in 2005, for the first time since given to the Holy Lavra Monastery, and traveled to Moscow and placed at the Novospasskiy Monastery for public veneration.

Saint Alexios is also highly honored in nearby Patras, where a dependency of Holy Lavra named after the Saint celebrates, together with other parishes in Greece named after the Saint.

It should also be noted that a portion of the holy skull of the Saint is also found in the Monastery of the Nativity of the Theotokos - Saint Pelagia in Akraifnio of Boeotia.