May 29, 2018

Holy New Martyr Andrew Argenti of Chios (+ 1465)

St. Andrew Argenti (Feast Day - May 29);
illustration shows the Coat of Arms of the Argenti family in Chios

Andrew was born on the island of Chios in 1437. The Argenti family had long been one of the most eminent families of Chios. Italian by origin, the Argentis were already established on the island before it passed under Genoese sovereignty in the fourteenth century. In the course of time they became Hellenized and predominantly Orthodox in their faith. Andrew himself came from a pious Orthodox family. When he was a child he became severely ill, but through the intercessions of the Mother of God he was healed.

When he was twenty-seven he went to Constantinople to conduct some business in the Galata neighborhood with other Christians. Some Egyptian Muslims, however, thought they had recognized Andrew as someone who had once been Muslim and now was presenting himself as an Orthodox Christian. Despite his protests that he was not a Muslim nor had he ever been to Egypt, Andrew was taken into custody and brought before the Turkish judge. After hearing his case, the judge offered to spare his life if he abandoned his Christian faith and returned to Islam. Andrew refused this offer.

As a consequence to this refusal, Andrew was tortured in an attempt to force him to embrace Islam, but he remained steadfast in his Christian faith, saying: "O Virgin Mary, help me! Virgin Mary, attend unto me!" With this, his wounds were healed. Seeing that nothing could be done to change his mind, he was sentenced to death and beheaded. This took place on May 29, 1465. The Sultan gave the Christians permission to bury his body at the Church of the Panagia in Galata. Shortly after this George of Trebizond recorded his martyrdom. In Chios, near the Church of Saint Marina in Kaloplytos, there is a church dedicated to him.