August 5, 2022

Saint Eugenios the Aitolos, A Supporter of the Greek Nation in Difficult Times

By Fr. Elias Makos

Saint Eugenios Yiannoulis the Aitolos, from Megalo Dendro in Thermo, who celebrates on August 5 (he reposed on August 6, 1680, but the celebration of his memory was moved a day earlier, due to the great feast of the Transfiguration of the Savior), may not be particularly well known nowadays, however, his contribution to the enslaved Greek nation, through education, was very great.

Indeed, he paid the heavy price of being removed from the priesthood for his contribution to the Fatherland, but in 1639 he was restored with honors by Patriarch Parthenios, while in 1982 he was canonized.

He became a monk at the Monastery of Panagia Vlochos in Agrinio, a deacon at the Monastery of Tatarna and in 1619, he was made a presbyter at the Monastery of Sinai by the Patriarch of Alexandria, Cyril Loukaris, who, then, as Ecumenical Patriarch, persecuted him.

From 1639 to 1680, when he reposed, he directed and also founded Schools of Higher Learning in Arta, Karpenisi and Vragianna, while he also wrote many useful books.

Saint Eugenios the Aitolos cultivated among the slaves the love of freedom and the resistance to slavery.

Slavery has many forms and many faces. He himself knew well that in order to free Greece from the slavery of the Turks, the Greeks had to be freed from spiritual slavery, which is the worst form of slavery.

He taught with courage that anyone who is spiritually enslaved cannot contribute to freedom. He cannot win freedom.

He believed, and this he firmly believed, that in order for Greece to tear down the wall of tyranny, which seemed, but was not, impenetrable and to be liberated, the Greeks had to remain morally unenslaved, guileless, pure, workers of good, faithful. Strangers to subjugation, deceit, falsehood, meanness, filthiness.

The spiritual weapons used by Saint Eugenios in the fight to stimulate faith and national consciousness were a shining example, divine teaching and knowledge.

What he said, what he advised, what he preached, what he wrote he felt deeply, and he was the first to put it into practice.

Fierce faith in the power of God's word made him a winged missionary during the years of slavery. Everywhere, wherever he went, he gave the people the divine manna of Christian truth.

Through knowledge, he kept the people tightly bound to their history and culture, preserved their national status and strengthened them for the renaissance expedition.

Saint Eugenios left us a heavy legacy, a living example, which should inspire us even in the difficult days we are going through, so that the priceless treasures of our faith and our inner freedom are not lost.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.