St. Timotheos the Esphigmenitis (1820 AD)

Commemorated October 29

Five months before the outbreak of the Greek Revolution of 1821, St Timotheos of Esphigmenou (baptised Triantafilos) acquired the imperishable crown of martyrdom on Oct 29, 1820.

The saint was married and had two daughters. It so happened however that his wife fell away from goodness by following a man of another faith and converting to his faith.

Triantafilos grieved that his family was broken-up and that his wife was needlessly losing her soul. So he took his children from his country Pareora Kissaniou (eastern Thrace) and left them with relatives in another village. He then sent word to his wife requesting she return and, with love and endearment, promised to forgive her. His wife answered his letter indicating her will to return although could not. He then presented himself to the Hagarenes and promised to change religion too, if only his wife could be returned to him. Immediately, with great joy and without the least suspicion, the Hagarenes brought him to their faith and returned his wife.

Then, by mutual agreement, Triantafilos' wife entered a convent and he went to the Holy Monastery of the Great Lavra at Mount Athos, where he confessed and started working as a gardener. Soon after, he obtained the small schema and was renamed Timotheos. For six years, Fr Timotheos lived and laboured with fasting, praying, obedience, meekness, humility and a secret longing for martyrdom. His good example earned him the respect and honour of his brethren. Following the martyrdom of Fr Agathangelos, a fellow brother of the monastery, he asked permission to enter the Convent of Ephigmenou where he earned respect and acquired the Great Schema. His responsibilities increased and so did his desire for martyrdom. At first, however, the abbot did not permit him, but seeing Fr Timotheos' persistence, for he was ignited and inflamed with the love of Christ, the abbot blessed him and let him go.

Yearning for martyrdom at the same spot where, for the sake of his wife's spiritual salvation, he changed faith, Timotheos left for Hellespont. On the way he was escorted and greatly aided by hieromonk Fr Euthymius Byzantion.

Upon their arrival, they visited another who betrayed his faith, and did their utmost to return him to Christ. However, he was so vanquished by the malice devil that he quickly ran to report them. Instantly, the Hagarenes arrested and thrashed the priests before placing them in bonds.

In prison they were in company with priestmonk Fr Nicholas and monk Brother Barnabas who were also tortured for their faith. Deacon-priest Germanos secretly entered the prison to pray with the others.

On the day after, the Hagarenes decided that Timotheos should die by the sword. He was overjoyed and sang to God with tears of love and gratitude, and thanked Him for many benefactions. Immediately they escorted him to the chopping block and struck off his head. This glorious end put the Hagarenes to shame and they resolved to liberate the others. With heartfelt respect, Deacon Germanos brought Timotheos' blood-soaked clothing to the Monastery of Esphigmenou. He then proclaimed Timotheos' marvellous martyrdom to his family and people.

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