February 10, 2021

The Veneration of Saint Haralambos in Arta

The Establishment of the Festival of Saint Haralambos in Arta

The memoirs of the abbot of the Monastery of Kato Panagia, Konstantios Platonos, which are found in the book Pidalio written in 1896, say the following:

"In the year of our salvation 1768, they began to celebrate the memory of the most-glorious Hieromartyr and Wonderworker Haralambos in the church of Arta. The reason for this as I heard it from old and faithful Christians is as follows. That same year and on that day it rained so much with hail and deep darkness, that they thought that this day the people would perish, and the hail lasted until the 5th of January, for a period of about a week, causing great destruction of many trees, fruits and animals. And in memory of this calamity and other miracles, those who invoke his holy name celebrate him until now in 1869, on February 10th."

According to the existing historical data, the Metropolitan of Arta then was Paisios.

Saint Haralambos Saves Preveza and Arta from Cholera in 1848

Saint Haralambos is the patron saint of the cities of Preveza, Pyrgos, Ilia, Kea and Filiatra. The Saint is credited with a saving intervention in 1848, when a plague befell the local population of Preveza. Then the Saint's skull was transported from the Monastery of Saint Stephen in Meteora to Preveza, where he was placed for veneration and miraculously prevented the continuation of the plague. Panagiotis Aravantinos notes: "In 1848 the plague of cholera visited Amphilochia which caused not a little destruction over the course of two months in the city of Arta and in the regions of Kampos and Vrysis." The miraculous intervention of Saint Haralambos eradicated the deadly disease of cholera in Arta and the surrounding areas.

The Relics of Saint Haralambos in Arta

The relics of the Saint have healing powers. He is the pre-eminent protector from plagues.

Metropolitan Seraphim Xenopoulos in his essay mentions that in Arta there are relics of Saint Haralambos in the Holy Monastery of Rovelistis, in the parish Church of Saint George, as well as in the outskirts of Arta such as in the parish of Kostakia (Monastery of Nikopolis) and in the Metochion of Iveron Monastery - Panagia Portaitissa. However, a relic of Saint Haralambos also exists in the Holy Monastery of Kato Panagia. Our research on the way the monastery acquired this particular relic led us to an ecclesiastical figure unknown to Artinians, the Metropolitan of Triki and Stagi, Cherubim Anninos. 
This blessed Metropolitan was born in Lixouri, Kefallonia in 1890. On November 29, 1908, he became a monk in the Holy Monastery of Docheiariou, Mount Athos. He was ordained a deacon on January 30, 1909 by the Metropolitan of Karpathos and Kasos Nilos. Then he came to Arta, where he was numbered among the brotherhood of Kato Panagia (no. 55 / 3/19/1911 document of the Holy Monastery of Kato Panagia). He studied at the seminary of Arta and was ordained an presbyter (1934) by the then Metropolitan of Arta Spyridon. He was then elected Metropolitan of Paronaxia (1935) and later (1945) he was transferred to the Metropolis of Triki and Stagi. He probably transferred a piece of the relic to the Monastery of Kato Panagia, as well as to his particular homeland, Lixouri. He died in Trikala on March 8, 1952.