June 22, 2022

Holy New Martyrs Ambrosios, Neophytos and Makarios of Vatopaidi (+ 1821)

Sts. Ambrosios, Neophytos and Makarios of Vatopaidi (Feast Day - June 22)

In 1820 the Hieromonks Neophytos and Ambrosios, the Hierodeacon Parthenios and the monks Dionysios and Dorotheos and later Makarios were sent to Crete, by invitation, with sacred relics, in order to expel the terrible disease of the plague, which infected the locals there. These relics were a portion of the Holy Zoni of the Panagia which was a gift to the monastery of the emperor John Kantakouzinos, a piece of Holy Wood from the True Cross, and the skull of Saint Andrew of Crete.

From the narration of Monk Arsenios Pantokratorinos, which was copied on June 25, 1932 and is preserved in the Monastery of Vatopaidi, we are informed how the monastery sent to the Great Castle of Crete in Heraklion, in June 1820, five brothers with the aforementioned sacred relics. After a fifteen day journey, the Vatopaidi fathers arrived in Heraklion and after an official reception there, they performed sanctification of the water ceremonies until the Easter of 1821 on the mainland.

On June 22, 1821, clergy and laity were gathered at the Metropolis of Heraklion for fear of the Turks, after the Greeks had revolted in many places. During the Turkish invasion of the Metropolis building, clergymen and lay people were killed, including the Vatopaidi hieromonks Neophytos and Ambrosios and the monk Makarios. The hierodeacon Parthenios and the monks Dionysios and Dorotheos took the Holy Zoni, the Holy Cross and the skull of Saint Andrew of Crete and hid in the houses of Crypto-Christians.

After many adventures, they arrested the monk Dionysios, "they tried to force him to become a Turk and he did not convert". After much torture, they pierced his head with a burning spit and hanged him on Clean Monday, 1822 (February 13). He had previously confessed his sins and received the divine and immaculate mysteries. In a letter of the rescued hierodeacon Parthenios Vatopaidinos of September 2, 1824, it is confirmed that one of the fathers was hanged, apparently Dionysios.

The relics, passing through various hands, arrived in Santorini, where after many efforts the abbot Dionysios Vatopaidinos managed with the help of the local Metropolitan Zacharias to receive them and transport them back to his monastery on May 2, 1831.