August 8, 2017

The Veneration of Saint Aimilianos of Cyzicus in Greece

Though Saint Aimilianos the Confessor and Bishop of Cyzicus has been the primary Saint celebrated on August 8th for many centuries, there are only three shrines dedicated to his honor in all of Greece. The first is a church in the coastal area of Kallimasia on the island of Chios, the second is also a church in the neighborhood of Tarampoura in the city of Patras, and the third is a chapel in the village of Tripotamos on the island of Tinos. It should be noted that the Parish Church of Saint Aimilianos on Skouze Hill in Athens and the chapels dedicated to Saint Aimilianos in Porto Heli, Kea, Symi and Antipaxos all honor a different Saint Aimilianos who was a martyr and is celebrated on July 18th.

Saint Aimilianos of Cyzicus is especially honored by the Greek people as being a patron of those children who are unable to speak, either due to fear or illness. Many miracles have been done for children that have suffered from this disability, and this can be seen by the offerings made to his wonderworking icon in Kallimasia, which is the center of his veneration. A Service of Praise was compiled in his honor in 1876 by Metropolitan Nikodemos of Cyzicus, who was also from Kallimasia. The hymnographer Haralambos Bassias further composed a Supplicatory Canon and Akathist in his honor.

In Kallimasia he is honored by a great crowd of people that comes not only from throughout Chios, but from throughout Greece as well as other places. Festivities begin on August 7th when an old icon of Saint Aimilianos is transferred by ship from where it is kept in the Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Kallimasia. It is accompanied by young men and women in traditional uniforms, and many pilgrims, on boats, fishing vessels and inflatables, since Saint Aimilianos is also the patron of the Inflatable Boats Club of Chios. The icon is brought to a beach that bears the Saint's name, and it is greeted by clergy, authorities, soldiers and a number of pilgrims. From there it is carried to the Church of Saint Aimilianos as the bells ring joyfully along with the whistles and horns of boats. The next day a Divine Liturgy is celebrated, and afterwards the traditional octopus is served to the pilgrims for the festivities.

Church of Saint Aimilianos in Kallimasia, Chios

Church of Saint Aimilianos inTarampoura, Patras