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May 12, 2020

Saint Kallitropos, Sister of Saint Epiphanios of Salamis

Venerable Kallitropos (Feast Day - May 12)

Like Saint Epiphanios of Salamis, her brother, Saint Kallitropos was a Jew from Eleutheropolis in Palestine in the fourth century. When at a young age they were left orphans, Epiphanios at sixteen years old decided to convert to Christianity and to become a monk. When he approached his younger sister about his decision, he said to her: "I wish for you to become a Christian, and to take up the monastic life." His sister replied: "As you wish so I wish, as you do so I do."

Then both Epiphanios and Kallitropos, with the local Bishop's blessing, were catechized by a monk named Lucian, who had inspired Epiphanios to convert to Christianity in the first place when Epiphanios had once seen him display extreme compassion by giving away his clothing to a poor person. Lucian catechized them in their house, and when the time came they begged him on their knees to "Make us Christians." Lucian then brought them to church to be baptized by the Bishop, and upon meeting him outside the brother and sister fell on their knees before him and begged him to illuminate them through Holy Baptism.

The Bishop took Epiphanios and Kallitropos inside the church. Before entering the church, Epiphanios took off his shoes, and from that day forward he never wore shoes for the rest of his life. He then with his sister stood before the Bishop as he sat on his throne, and he read to them from the Holy Scriptures. During this reading, the Bishop saw the face of Epiphanios brighten and a crown was seen over his head. When the Bishop had finished reading, they all went to the area of the church where baptisms took place. The Bishop officiated, while Lucian served as the godparent for both Epiphanios and Kallitropos.

When the Baptism was completed, the Bishop instructed them in living a life of virtue and excellence, and he brought them into his home for a period of seven days to receive this instruction. When the seven days were completed, Epiphanios handed his sister over to a holy virgin woman named Berenice. Epiphanios settled his sister in their house where Berenice was to be a mother to her, and he gave Berenice a thousand gold coins to take care of his younger sister and establish a convent for themselves, while everything else he inherited he sold to pay off any debts he had. Then he and Lucian went off to live in a monastery.