December 15, 2022

An Icon of Saint Eleutherios That Belonged to Eleutherios Venizelos

This is a portable icon of Saint Eleutherios, measuring 43.5 x 34 cm., bearing the inscription "The Holy Martyr Eleutherios" (Ο ΑΓΙΟΣ ΙΕΡΟΜΑΡΤΥΣ ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΟΣ).

This unique personal heirloom of Eleutherios Venizelos, which the great Greek politician revered as an icon of his patron saint, is located in the Eleutherios Venizelos Museum in Chania on the island of Crete.

It depicts the holy hierarch, enthroned, in brilliant priestly vestments, decorated in a gilded background, which bears the Athonite Russian-origin tsoukaniko technique, where the gilded surface of the icon is further decorated with engraved patterns or decorations.

The icon was made in 1909 by the Athonite monk Dionysios Themelis and was donated by the Athonite brothers Kosmas the monk and Theophilos the hieromonk to the Cretan politician, for whom they held great esteem.

The above information is from the following inscription found on a gold-plated band inserted in the lower part of the image:

A small gift for an infinite amount of appreciation and remembrance is owed to him, given by the brothers Kosmas the monk and Theophilos the hieromonk. The work of Dionysios Themelis the iconographer. From the Holy Mountain 1909.

The icon that is now in the Museum, was originally above the bed of Eleutherios Venizelos, and was brought, like his other personal items, from Paris, where he lived in exile for a while.

It should be noted that in the same Museum there is also another portable icon of Saint Eleutherios, from the middle of the 18th century, which depicts the Saint with scenes from his life.