Dear Readers: A long time supporter of the Mystagogy Resource Center has informed me that they would like to donate $3000 to help me continue the work of this ministry, but they will only do it as a matching donation, which means that this generous donation will only be made after you help me raise a total of $3000. If you can help make this happen, it will be greatly appreciated and it would be greatly helpful to me, as I have not done a fundraiser this year. If you enjoy the work done here and want to see more of it, please make whatever contribution you can through the DONATE link below. Thank you!
(Total So Far - Day 11: $2740)

May 11, 2021

Synaxarion of the Holy Venerable Martyrs Olympia and Euphrosyne of Karyes

 By Monk Gerasimos Mikragiannanitis


On the 11th of this month, we commemorate the Holy Venerable Martyrs Olympia and Euphrosyne of the Sacred Monastery of Karyes in Thermi of Lesvos, who contested in the year 1235.


Olympia having lived venerably,
Was seen as a Martyr of the Lord at the hands of pirates.
On the eleventh Olympia reposed having suffered and bewailed.

Blessed Olympia was born in Peloponnesos in the year 1200 to pious parents who were from Constantinople. Her father was a priest and her mother was the daughter of a priest, and it is unknown why and when they moved to Peloponnesos. At the age of ten she was orphaned of her parents, having departed life, so she was sent by her relatives to the Monastery of Karyes, which is located in Thermi on the island of Lesvos, where the abbess was her maternal aunt, whose name was Dorothea, and there she completely dedicated herself to God. When she became 19 years old, she was tonsured a nun, in the year 1219, and in her 25th year, the abbess Dorothea having died, she became abbess of this Monastery in the year 1225. After 10 years had passed, on the 11th of May in the year 1235, a swarm of pirates attacked the Monastery, striking like wild wolves, causing the nuns to scatter, plundering and destroying everything. At that time there were 30 monastics living in asceticism there, six of whom were dishonored by the savage barbarians, fleeing in grief to the mountains. However Olympia, as the abbess, stayed behind with a sister who was advanced in age, whose name was Euphrosyne, to withstand the rage of the assaults of the pirates. They suspended Euphrosyne onto a tree, which they set on fire; while they burned the body of blessed Olympia with burning torches. Then taking a fiery iron rod, they passed it right through her ears, and in this manner was her martyric end. Then the pirates, to complete their barbaric mania, took the body of the Martyr, and nailed it to a board of wood, and this is how she was buried, after the barbarians fled, by certain Christians, being unable to remove the nails, cutting the flesh of the blessed one by removing the nails, which numbered 20, the same number that were found with the bones of the Martyr, when her grave was discovered.

These things took place unseen and unknown to the Church, and in silence their graves were hidden, and buried deep in forgetfulness, through the unfortunate assault on our race, by the plundering of an undisciplined far away nation. However in these last days, by divine pleasure, these things were revealed, in the year 1959, when Saints Raphael and Nicholas appeared, who contested and lived in asceticism there. This is when the Holy Venerable Martyr Olympia appeared to a pious young man, and she told him everything about her calling, the name of her homeland, and the rest that was mentioned above. She was seen in both dreams and while awake. After this her grave was found, which contained her bones and 20 large iron nails, by which she was nailed, and they were informed from above that these belonged to Olympia the Venerable Martyr.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Living venerably in monasticism at Karyes, you contested in this monastery, slain by the hands of the pirates, even now you made known divinely-inspired one, to incline towards the divine, showing Olympia, your entire contest, wherefore Venerable Martyr of Christ we bless you.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
In Thermi you pleased the Lord, enduring the contests of martyrdom, by the barbaric raid, divinely-inspired one, wherefore you revealed all things about your life, as well as your divine death, by appearing in dreams, Venerable Martyr our support, therefore all of us sing to you Olympia.

Rejoice Olympia bride of Christ, equal to the Venerable Martyrs of all time; rejoice you who like those of old, contested lawfully, perfectly coming to know, the God you praise.
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.