September 4, 2020

Synaxarion of our Venerable Father Anthimos the New Ascetic of Kefallonia


By Priest Haralambos Floriou (+ late 18th cent.)

On the 4th of this month [September], we commemorate our Venerable Anthimos of Kefallonia, the New Ascetic, Father and Protector of Astypalaia.


As a flower of the Spirit, O Anthimos,
You make fragrant the souls of those who honor you,
As a most-fragrant flower in Paradise,
There spring, without a change exists.
Destiny seized the Chief-Shepherd Anthimos on the fourth.

This Venerable one was born in Lixouri of Kefallonia in the year 1727 to pious parents, receiving the last name Kourouklis, while in Holy Baptism he was named Athanasios. At the age of seven he became blind due to an epidemic outbreak of smallpox. Miraculously, after having forty liturgies done by his pious mother with fasting and prayer in the Sacred Temple of the Holy Apostles, he regained his sight in one of his eyes. Soon after he took on the occupation of being a seaman, like his father, during which time his vision was completely destroyed or it was diminished to its minimum. Between the age of 20 to 25 he was tonsured a Monk probably at the Sacred Monastery of Saint Paraskevi in Lepeda of Kefallonia, and from there he went to the Holy Mountain where he received the Great Schema. After many years of austere asceticism, he withdrew from there and went to Chios, Sifnos, Paros and other islands of the Cyclades, finally arriving in Palestine to venerate the Holy Land. This is when his missionary activity began in the Islands of the Aegean and in the Peloponnese, where he preached and built monasteries. He was active in Kastellorizo where he built the most-brilliant male Sacred Monastery of Saint George, and in Astypalaia where he raised up the female Monastery of the Most Holy Theotokos the Portaitissa. For these two Monasteries he asked the Patriarchal Throne for Stavropegic status, which they were granted through a Sigil of the renowned Patriarch Ioannikios III, whom Venerable Anthimos auspiciously commemorated. He performed many miracles and admonished the faithful, while in Astypalaia he was proclaimed by them after his burial as their protector and is honored as this island's patron.

After devastating earthquakes in Kefallonia in the years 1766-67 he visited the island to give moral strength to those who were suffering, settling in the now ruined Sacred Monastery of Saint Paraskevi in Lepeda, which he restored from its foundations, converting it into a female coenobium. From this Monastery he journeyed to the Peloponnese, Crete, Kythera and other islands of the Cyclades. In the latter islands he established Sacred Monasteries - in Sfakia, Crete that of Venerable Anthony, in Kythera that of the Honorable Forerunner, in Sikinos that of the Life-Giving Spring - where he performed many miracles and taught the faithful.

As the time of his activities were coming to an end, he returned to the Sacred Monastery of Saint Paraskevi in Lepeda, where he nourished the nuns of the Monastery. On the 4th of September in the year 1782 he reposed and was buried there. The Venerable one was also adorned with the gift of foresight and he subjected himself to austere spiritual and physical feats of asceticism. When Monk Anthimos Kourouklis met his end, he was shown to be an ascetic and missionary of the Church.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Boast of monastics, teacher of repentance, showing forth miracles, shining upon all you rose like the sun, banishing the assaults of the passions; for this reason Venerable Anthimos, we kiss the case of your relics. Glory to Christ Who glorified you, glory to Him Who works wonders through you, glory to Him Who granted you to us, to be our protector and boast.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
At the raising up of your honorable corpse, our Father Anthimos, your divinely faithful flock, cries out to you rejoicing: you came as a light, my guardian and deliverer.

How shall I praise your struggles, Venerable Father, your sweet teachings, how shall we utter them? Twice you venerated the tomb of the Lord and received the Heavenly Jerusalem. With self-control you clearly put to death your passions, and you brought your flesh to the subjection of the spirit. You had prayer as a knife, and became a protector against the darkness, wherefore your flock cries out to you: you came as a light, my guardian and deliverer.

Rejoice the beauty of Venerables, and the brilliant delight of Astypalaia, rejoice emulator, of Elijah the Tishbite, O thrice-blessed Anthimos, save us all.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.