September 4, 2018

Finding of the Sacred Relics of the Holy New Martyr Theodore the Hatzis of Mytilene in 1967

The Holy New Martyr Theodore of Mytilene, who was from Pyrgos Thermis of Lesvos, and commemorated by the Church on January 30th, was hanged in Mytilene in 1785 by the Turks for his love for Christ and refusal to embrace Islam. His honorable relic was then cast into the sea by the Turks, but a few days later it was found by certain Christians on the shore, and they buried him within the Chapel of Saint John the Forerunner in Mothona. There he remained buried until September 4, 1967 when his holy relic was found.

The discovery of his relics was made in the presence of the Metropolitan Iakovos, the Deputy Speaker and the Governor of Mytilene, among others, after research was done as to the location of the remains of the Saint. The primary source was the Life of the Saint written by Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite in his New Martyrology, who said that after the recovery of the remains of Saint Theodore from the sea, Christians buried him "in the Church of Saint John the Forerunner outside of Mothona." Upon the renovation of this chapel, the holy relics were brought to light, found under the floor to the right of the entrance in the narthex. It seemed that the Christians buried him there out of expediency, having just removed a "criminal of the state" from the sea and secretly buried him without a monument, leaving no trace of it and concealing it from his persecutors, hoping to preserve it. Though an average person would usually never be buried within a church, those of particular importance could be buried in the narthex area, such as a martyr.

Chapel of Saint John the Forerunner in Mothona

Today the Chapel of Saint John the Forerunner in Mothona, near the old hotel Xenia, is part of the early 19th century Church of the Zoodochos Pege in Varia. The relics of the Saint are therefore kept in the Church of the Zoodochos Pege. On September 3, 1985 a small portion of his relics was translated to his hometown of Pyrgos Thermis. The videos below record this event.

Church of the Zoodochos Pege in Varia