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August 15, 2020

Holy New Hieromartyr Christos of Ioannina (+ 1823)

St. Christos of Ioannina (Feast Day - August 15)

In August 1823, the Turkish militia in the region of Ioannina started a particularly violent suppression of the Christians there initiated by Sultan Mahmut II. The hieromonk Christos comforted and encouraged the suffering Christians, and for this he was arrested, beaten and, for refusing to give up his Christian confession, was condemned to death.

On August 15th the Orthodox Christians were celebrating the festival of the Dormition of the Theotokos, and the Turks chose this time to execute the Saint. Furthermore, they deliberately chose to mock the Savior's Passion in the way they devised to kill him. Father Christos was crowned with thorns, stripped and spat upon, and nailed to a cross, which was set up by the plane trees at Kalou Tzesme.

As he expired on the cross, the Martyr prayed for his tormentors, but they sat around and taunted him. One of the Turks eventually pierced his side with a sabre and he gave up his soul. Even in death they did not cease tormenting him; some gypsies coated his body in tar and set it alight so that it was consumed in the flames.

The above account was recorded by the French diplomat, writer and explorer François Pouqueville (1770-1838) in his Histoire de la régénération de la Grèce (Paris, 1824). He had served as Napoleon's consul general to the court of Ali Pasha of Ioannina.