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April 10, 2021

The Makeshift Coffin of the Holy Hieromartyr Patriarch Gregory V

In the Church of the Entrance of the Theotokos in Domato of Leivathos in Kefallonia is kept the makeshift coffin which was built inside the ship of the Kefallonian Nicholas Sklavos. In this coffin was placed the relic of Patriarch Gregory V, whose body was retrieved from the waters of the Bosporus on April 14, 1821. 
The Patriarch had just been hanged by the Turks at the entrance to the Patriarchate in Constantinople on April 10, 1821. After his body had been left hanging for three days, three impious Jewish men gave the Turks money and took the body, dragging it throughout the city screaming "This is the King of the Christians", and cast it into the Bosporus. 
The pious captain Nicholas Sklavos saw the body of a cleric floating on the water on Thursday April 14th, had it identified as that of the Patriarch, then secretly transported the relic of the Patriarch to Odessa in Russia where it was buried with honors. 
During this 25-day trip, to preserve the body, Nicholas had the coffin which contained the body filled with rum. After the burial he brought the makeshift coffin to Kefallonia and placed it in the family church of his village in Domato.