April 22, 2019

Saint Gregory the Gravanos of Nisyros (+ 1812)

St. Gregory Gravanos (Feast Day - April 22)

Our Venerable and God-bearing Father Gregory was born on the Aegean island of Nisyros, and was a member of the Kollyvades movement. Having lived in asceticism for many years on Mount Athos, he followed his elder Venerable Nephon (+ 1809) to the islands of Naxos, Samos and Patmos, until they finally settled in Leipsos in the Dodecanese. There they founded an hesychasterion in honor of the Annunciation to the Theotokos in the village of Romani. Due to the threat of pirate invasions, they went to Fournoi and then to Icarus.

From Icarus, Gregory then went to Patmos. There he met Saint Makarios Notaras, and they lived together in asceticism at the Kathisma of the Panagia in Koumana. Later he went to the area known as Grava in Patmos, from where he was given the name Gravanos, and there with his disciple Theoktistos from Sofia he built a kathisma with a church dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos. His fame as an ascetic and spiritual father soon spread beyond Patmos, and many confessed their sins to him, including a major thief who hastened to him for forgiveness and gave him everything he had stolen. Even Patriarch Neophytos VII of Constantinople, when he was exiled to the island of Patmos, went to him at Grava and had him as a confessor.

In 1810 when the hieromonk attained old age he went to the island of Icarus to escape an unfortunate incident. The aforementioned thief thought Gregory had betrayed him, so he threatened to kill him. However, it was his subordinate Theoktistos that naively gave up the name of the thief, which is why they had to leave Patmos for Icarus to escape the threat. While in Icarus he reposed and was buried at the Monastery of the Annunciation on 22 April 1812. In 1815 there was a translation of his relics, and these sacred relics became a source of many miracles.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Offspring of Nisyros, and adornment of Patmos, known among the monks, as being distinguished in these latter days, let us the faithful sing hymns to Gregory, the divine guide of virtues, and inspired teacher of piety, to you we cry with compunction: Glory to Christ Who glorified you, glory to Him Who made you wondrous, glory to Him Who grants us through you, grace and mercy.