May 29, 2018

Church of Saint John the Martyr in Old Gynaikokastro

The Holy New Martyr Nannos, or John, was born in Thessaloniki in 1785 and martyred in Smyrna (Izmir) on May 29, 1802. His father, also named John, was born in 1764 in Avret Hisar (Old Gynaikokastro) in Kilkis and his mother was from Northern Halkidiki, but they settled together in Thessaloniki. His father was a cobbler and went to work in Smyrna due to lack of business in Thessaloniki; his two sons Theodore and John (Nannos) soon followed him.

The memory of the Holy New Martyr Nannos is honored by the Orthodox Church on May 29th and miracles in his name have been reported. In the early 19th century, specifically 1838, a church was built in the name of Saint John the Martyr close to his home village, in Avret Hisar (Old Gynaikokastro), where his father was from. Today the ruins of this church are visible, below the Byzantine castle, and a newer shrine to the Saint is built next to it.