Thursday, March 31, 2022

The Veneration of Saint Hypatios of Gangra in Greece and Cyprus

Icon from 1817 in the current Chapel of Saint Hypatios in the Church of Panagia Dexia in Thessaloniki

Numerous miracles took place both during and after the burial of the Holy Bishop Hypatios of Gangra, a fact that proves that he received richly from God the gift of performing miracles uninterruptedly. That is why it was established for him to be honored from the fourth century as a miraculous protector and patron saint of the city of Gangra of Paphlagonia, while the oldest iconographic representations of the Saint are preserved in temples of Cappadocia and monasteries in Serbia. It is noteworthy that in his honor a majestic sacred temple was erected in Gangra, which until the Asia Minor Catastrophe of 1922 was the central point reference for his veneration and the center of the worship life of the pious inhabitants. This historic Church of Saint Hypatios in Gangra was adorned with a magnificent iconostasis that attracted the interest of visitors, while the miraculous icon of Saint Hypatios, which was saved from destruction by the late Ypatia Patmanoglou, was kept as a valuable spiritual treasure. This icon is now kept in the new beautiful Church of Saint Hypatios, founded in 1973 and consecrated in 1976, in the village of Antigonos in Florina, where many of the inhabitants of Gangra settled after 1922.

Also noteworthy was the old Church of Saint Hypatios in Turkish-occupied Thessaloniki, which according to oral tradition was built in 1818 by a monk from Gangra. In the place of this old church was founded in 1954 the majestic and Church of Panagia Dexia, which was consecrated in 1976 and is a popular pilgrimage site thanks to the miraculous icon kept there called the "Dexiokratousa". This icon was originally placed in the Church of Saint Hypatios by a pious Christian who had seen in his dream the Virgin Mary who ordered him to transport her sacred icon to Thessaloniki to save it from the raids of the Muslims and to place it in the first church that would be to his right when entering through the gate of the east walls. In the beautiful Church of Panagia Dexia in Thessaloniki there is a chapel inside the church named after the glorious hieromartyr Hypatios the Wonderworker, in which is kept the masterpiece icon of the Saint painted in 1817, where under the depicted enthroned Saint are eight scenes from his life.

Church of Saint Hypatios in Gangra of Paphlagonia

Saint Hypatios is also honored on the fragrant and holy island of Chios with two sacred temples dedicated to him, one of which is located in the city of Chios in the area of the parish of Zoodochos Pege of Letsainis and belongs to the Barber Guild, while the second is located in the Kokkalas creek in the area of Kampos. A Church of Saint Hypatios also exists in the village of Aipatia in Andros, while the church in the Cell of Saint Hypatios of the Monastery of Vatopaidi of Mount Athos is also named for him. There is also the Church of Saint Antipas and Saint Hypatios in the area of Hypatia of the Two Villages in Tinos, and the 18th century three-aisled Church of the Forty Martyrs, Saint Hypatios and Saint Constantine in the Castle of Sifnos. An abandoned settlement near the village of Repanidi of Lemnos is named after Saint Hypatios, while the Saint is honored as a patron saint in the village of Kathikas in the province of Paphos in Cyprus, where the homonymous chapel was consecrated on March 27, 2005 by Metropolitan of Paphos (Now Archbishop of Cyprus) Chrysostomos.

In fact, according to local tradition, the Saint is considered a healer of diseases of the hands and feet, a fact that is proven by a famous miracle performed in 1928.

In honor of the Saint, both the Great Hymnographer of the Great Church of Christ, Monk Gerasimos the Mikragiannanitis, and the Great Hymnographer of the Church of Alexandria, Dr. Haralambos M. Bousias, composed Divine Services, the latter of which was published by the Monastery of Saint Patapios in Loutraki, Corinth. At this point it is worth mentioning that in the historic Monastery of the Prophet Elias in Zacholis of Corinth and specifically in the Monastery's Metochion of Saint Gerasimos in Mentourgianika of Derveni is kept a large part of the Saint's sacred skull, which was brought to the Monastery by a hieromonk from Gangra. 
 
Skull of St. Hypatios in the Metochion of Saint Gerasimos in Mentourgianika of Derveni

Church of Saint Hypatios in Kathikas, Cyprus

Icon of St. Hypatios in the Monastery of the Prophet Elias in Zacholi of Corinth
 
Church of Saint Hypatios in the city of Chios

Church of the Panagia Dexia in Thessaloniki

Church of Saint Hypatios in Kampos of Chios

Icon on the Iconostasis in the Church of Saint Hypatios in Kathikas, Cyprus

 
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