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July 10, 2017

Thousands Attend the First Celebration of the Newly Canonized Saint Vlasios of Akarnania

In a joyful and festive atmosphere, on 7 July 2017, the first official celebration of the memory of the Holy Hieromartyr Vlasios of Akarnania and those martyred with him took place in Sklavaina of Vonitsa in Akarnania, Greece. The official glorification ceremony of Saint Vlasios and his companions took place in August 2016 at the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Participating in the liturgical celebration were Metropolitan Amphilochios of Adrianople, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Patras, Metroplitan Theophilos of Lefkada and Ithaca, and others, invited by Metroplitan Kosmas of Aitolia and Akarnania.

A homily was preached by Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Patras, who spoke of the faith of the saints of God, and the expression of this faith in love. “Faith created love,” he said, “love gave birth to patience and testimony, and testimony to martyrdom… The saints are the light of the world… they are the sons of the Resurrection, the greatest benefactors of the world… With their lives they assure us that death does not exist.”

“So many centuries after their martyrdom, we celebrate this holy pilgrimage and the first official feast. It has been 1,011 years since Saint Vlasios and his co-sufferers Archimandrite Theokletos, the hieromonks Symeon and Ignatius, and the monks Nikephoros, Chariton, and Panteleimon, and a number of other Christians shed their blood in martyrdom at this place where we are. The saints watered the ground … with their holy blood for their faith in Christ, to bring spiritual fruits to the region and the salvation of souls,” Met. Kosmas recalled.

The act of canonization of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate was also read out by Archimandrite Epiphanios (Karageorgos), chancellor of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Both the icon and the wonderworking relics of Hieromartyr Vlasios of Akarnania and those who suffered with him are kept in the Church of Saint Paraskevi in Palairo, Akarnania.

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