September 15, 2021

Saint Bessarion I the Sanctified, Metropolitan of Larissa (+ 1500)

St. Bessarion the Sanctified of Larissa (Feast Day - September 15)

On September 15th the Synaxarion lists two Saints for commemoration that bear the same name and title: Metropolitan Bessarion I of Larissa (+1500) and Metropolitan Bessarion II of Larissa (+ 1540). The latter is the most well known of the two. Saint Bessarion I is officially known as Saint Bessarion the Sanctified, and he served as Metropolitan of Larissa from 1490 to 1499. Previously he had been the Bishop of Demetrias, and abandoned his post as Metropolitan of Larissa in 1499 due to old age. Unlike Bessarion II, his existence was not known for centuries, although there is a Patriarchal Sigillum of Dionysios with which Bessarion I was raised to the Metropolitan throne of Larissa in 1490. His existence was confirmed in 1920 when it was discovered that both Saints Bessarion I and II appeared together in a fresco in the Chapel of the Holy Anargyri in Trikala. This fresco in fact depicts seven metropolitans of Larissa, and Bessarion I is given the epithet of "the Former" and Bessarion II is known as "of the Savior". We know nothing else of his life.
Apolytikion to Sts. Bessarion I and II in the First Tone
Let us honor with hymns the renowned shepherds of Larissa, who are of the same name and shined with lives equal to the Angels, the first Bessarion O faithful, as well as the other of the same name, Bessarion the second, crying out together: Glory to Him Who crowned us, glory to Him Who works wonders, glory to Him Who who performs for us all manner of healings.