December 30, 2020

The Discovery of the Relics of Saint Anysia of Thessaloniki in 1980

Saint Anysia was born to a wealthy and pious Christian family in Thessaloniki. Upon the death of her parents, she dedicated herself to vows of chastity and poverty, praying and helping the poor. In 298, while she was on her way to church, a Roman soldier apprehended her. Discovering she was a Christian, he beat her, and intended to drag her to a pagan temple to sacrifice to the Roman gods. When she refused and confessed Christ to be the true God, she spit in his face, and he murdered her by driving a sword through her stomach. Devout Christians then buried her with honors and eventually a church was built over her grave.

In the summer of 1980, in the days of Metropolitan Panteleimon II and the Minister of Public Works Nicholas Zartinidis, there was an attempt to open a new highway, 3rd Septemvriou, that connected the Universities with the beaches. During the excavations, on 4 July 1980, most of an early Christian monument was discovered, as well as the remains of Christians of that time. The announcement of the discovery aroused intense interest in ecclesiastical and academic circles. In fact, an extensive announcement was made at the 10th International Conference on Christian Archeology by Professor Theodoros Zisis. Despite the objections of the team of Professor Demetrios Tsamis, it was finally concluded that the ruins discovered belong to the Monastery of Saint Anysia and the sacred relics found inside the central aisle and near the Holy Bema belonged to Saint Anysia.

Reputable theological professors of the University, such as Theodoros Yagkou and Fr. Theodoros Zisis, studying the subject of the Basilica of Saint Anysia, decided positively about what was found of the ancient Christian monument and argued that it is impossible at that point outside the city walls to have another basilica that is located at a distance of 500 meters from the area "Syntrivani" of today's Thessaloniki, where the Kassandreotiki gate is, and has as large an area of buildings as the one that was discovered and described in the ecclesiastical texts. Therefore the early Christian monument and the holy relic must be attributed with almost certainty to the martyr Anysia.

Her relics were subsequently brought to the Basilica of Saint Demetrios, where they remain till this day.