October 26, 2018

Saint Athanasios of Medikion Monastery (+ 814)

St. Athanasios of Medikion (Feast Day - October 26)

Our Venerable Father Athanasios came from a noble family of Constantinople and was well educated. His father wanted him to enter into public service at the Treasury, but Athanasios desired to live a monastic life dedicated to Christ, so he fled his home secretly and went to the Monastery of the Symvouli in Bithynia. His father rushed after him, and unable to change his mind to return home with him, his father took him home by force and made him change his clothes from that of a novice to rich clothing. His father shut him in a room and tried to persuade him to live his life in the world, but Athanasios tore his clothes into little pieces. His father then clothed him in more valuable clothes, and Athanasios repeated to them what he did with the first. This enraged his father, and he beat the young and naked Athanasios covering him with wounds. The wounds caused parts of his shoulder and back to rot, and doctors had to come and remove parts of his flesh. Meanwhile Athanasios said: "Even if my father crushes me to pieces, he still will not separate me from the love of God and will not turn me away from my intention." This pricked the heart of his father, who said: "Go, my child, in the good path, chosen by you, and may Christ be your helper and deliverer from every hostility."

After this Athanasios went to his former monastery and strove with great zeal to acquire the virtues with immense severity. Saints Nikephoros (May 4) and Niketas (Apr. 3) invited him to join their brotherhood in the Monastery of Medikion on the shore of the Hellespont. Athanasios was a devoted spiritual son and assistant to Saint Niketas, and eventually steward of the monastery. His zeal and piety were widely admired. Before his repose he addressed the brethren with the last words: “After my death, you will fully make sure whether I will at least get some grace from God.” He reposed in peace on 26 October 814. A cypress tree grew up on his grave, from which occurred many healings by the grace of God.