January 2, 2020

Saint Gennadios of Kerkyra (+ 1859)

St. Gennadios of Kerkyra ( Feast Day - January 2)

Where the Monastery of Panagia Kassopitra is located today in Kanoni on the island of Kerkyra there was a church dedicated to the Panagia which was established probably in the 13th century. In this church before the icon of the Panagia on May 8, 1530 a blind young peasant named Stephen was healed of blindness. This miracle caused the veneration of Panagia Kassopitra to spread throughout the island and beyond, with many shrines being established in her name, and eventually a monastery was established at the location of the original church.

Historical references to the monastery date back to 1706. In the year 1754 ownership of the church went to the priest and notary John Kosmas Filios, who came from a noble family listed in the Libro d'Oro. His heir Anastasios Filios sold the monastery in 1820 to Hieromonk Nicholas Patrikios of Spyridonos in Kefallonia. His brother-in-law and heir Elias gave the church to Hieromonk Gennadios Vasilis in 1850 for 20 Venetian talents. It was the dream of Elder Gennadios to establish there a female monastery. At the time there were living there two monks and two nuns with one servant.

Elder Gennadios was from the village of Kalarites in Epirus, born there in 1805. He was one of seven children born to Athanasios and Elizabeth, and was baptized with the name George. In 1820 he moved with his mother and sisters to Kerkyra. In 1850 he acquired an Ionian passport which allowed him to travel and which we still have today, which describes him as having dark hair and dark eyes and being a monk.

In the year 1856 Hieromonk Gennadios acquired full ownership of the church and its lands. He then built the two-storeyed communal building, decorated the sacred grounds, renovated the church, dedicated a silver icon and vigil lamp as well as a golden reliquary containing relics of holy martyrs. With this he established a female monastery with three nuns - Eupraxia Zampira the abbess and the sisters Athanasia and Synklitiki Metallinos.

Father Gennadios reposed in peace on January 2, 1859 at the age of 54. He left behind a reputation of a holy hieromonk and virtuous man, who loved God and people and lived an ascetic life, eating and drinking very little and sleeping on the ground when seeking his little rest and being vigilant in prayer. He was also a miracle worker who healed the possessed and helped barren women become fruitful. He left the monastery to Maria Mavrogiannis, a woman of the world who was friends with Abbess Eupraxia.

In 1862 the communal status was being developed. By the late 19th century the monastery was growing. In 1991 it became a male monastery. The cell and tomb of Elder Gennadios can be visited today. Within 20 years of his death two icons with halos were made of Venerable Gennadios. Apparitions of the Saint in the monastery and in his cell are reported.

Reliquary of Martyrs dedicated by Saint Gennadios

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Offspring of Kalarites, boast of Kerkyra, pillar of the Monastery of Kassopitra, champion of monastics, you lived your life as a heavenly angel of God, for this we hymn you with faith in our hearts crying out, our Venerable Father Gennadios: Rejoice beauty of monastics, rejoice boast of priests, rejoice healer of the faithful and before God a newly-appeared unsleeping intercessor.

Rejoice new luminary of Kerkyra, Father Gennadios, aid of the sick; rejoice great patron of the Monastery of Panagia Kassopitra and fervent protector of all the people.