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May 11, 2017

Holy New Martyr Argyrios of Epanomi (+ 1806)

St. Argyrios of Epanomi (Feast Day - May 11)


Having a soul of silver which name you bear,
You contested Argyrios with a pious mind.
On the eleventh Argyrios underwent the noose with a firm soul.

The Holy New Martyr Argyrios was born in the village of Epanomi, near Thessaloniki, in 1788. While still a teenager, he moved to Thessaloniki to find work and became an apprentice to a tailor. At that time, a fellow Orthodox Christian was imprisoned by the local Pasha for some offense and did not have the funds to free himself. In order to be released from prison he made the choice between hanging or denying his Christianity and accepting Islam. He chose the latter.

A short time later, Argyrios was in a local coffee shop and saw the former Christian celebrating with other members of his new faith. Boldly, Argyrios confronted him and tried to convince him of his great error, urging him to return to the faith of his ancestors, the Holy Orthodox Church of Christ.

“What evil have you done, my brother,” Argyrios said to him, “to deny Christ our Maker and Savior? What great evil, unfortunate one, did you do to your soul, surrendering it to hell where there is eternal death, to avoid this temporary death? Come, come, my brother, to your senses, come to yourself, repent, return to Christ. We ought never deny Him Who would never deny us?”

Some Janissaries overheard Argyrios and fell upon him, intending to kill him. However, they changed their minds and thought to convert him instead. They brandished their scimitars and tried to force Argyrios to say that he would deny Christ and convert. The alternative was death. Argyrios, however, remained unmoved by their invitation and threats, and was beaten and then taken to the local Kadi (judge).

Initially, the Kadi ruled that it was no crime to advocate one’s faith with zeal, which is how he interpreted Argyrios’s actions. However, the Janissaries present disagreed and called Argyrios an enemy of the “true” faith. They could not accept the Kadi’s affirmation that one who blasphemed their faith was not deserving of death.

During the customary interrogations, the Kadi tried desperately to make Argyrios agree to deny Jesus Christ to save his life. Instead, Argyrios proclaimed, “I was born a Christian and as a Christian I will die.”

Consequently, at the age of eighteen, on Friday the 11th of May in 1806, Saint Argyrios was led to the marketplace of Kapani in Thessaloniki, and there he was condemned to die by hanging, thus sealing his confession with the blood of his martyrdom.

Apolytikion in the Third Tone
Epanomi rejoices in you, her divine offspring and patron, Neomartyr of the Savior Argyrios, and we celebrate with songs your holy contest, hastening to your intercessions crying aloud. Glorious Martyr, entreat Christ God, to grant us the great mercy.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
You contested Holy one in these latter days, glorifying Christ for Whom you endured death, wherefore we faithfully honor you, as a co-dweller of Athletes, O Argyrios.

Rejoice new offshoot of piety, Martyr Argyrios, the beauty of Orthodoxy, rejoice you who are equal in glory and honor with the Martyrs, flower of Epanomi, the most fragrant.