Vonitsa, Greece, July 10, 2017
In a joyful and festive atmosphere, the first official commemoration of the memory of the hieromartyr St. Vlasios of Akarnania and those martyred with him was celebrated in Sklavaina of Vonitsa, Acarnania, Greece, reports Romfea. The official glorification ceremony of St. Vlasios and his companions took place in August 2016 in the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Participating in the liturgical celebration were Metropolitan Amphilochios of Adrianople, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Patras, Metroplitan Theophilos of Lefkada and Ithaca, and others, invited by Metroplitan Kosmas of Aitolia and Acarnania.
A homily was preached by Met. Chrysostomos of Patras, who spoke of the faith of the saints of God, and the expression of this faith in love. “Faith created love,” he said, “love gave birth to patience and testimony, and testimony to martyrdom… The saints are the light of the world… they are the sons of the Resurrection, the greatest benefactors of the world… With their lives they assure us that death does not exist.”
“So many centuries after their martyrdom, we celebrate this holy pilgrimage and the first official feast. It has been 1,011 years since St. Vlasios and his co-sufferers Archimandrite Theoklitos, the hieromonks Symeon and Ignatius, and the monks Nikephoros, Chariton, and Panteleimon, and a number of other Christians shed their blood in martyrdom on this place where we are. The saints watered the ground … with their holy blood for their faith in Christ, to bring spiritual fruits to the region and the salvation of souls,” Met. Kosmas recalled.
The act of canonization of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate was also read out by Archimandrite Epiphanios (Karageorgos), protosyngellos of the metropolis of Constantinople.
Both the icon and the wonder-working relics of the hieromartyr Vlasios of Akarnania and those who suffered with him are kept in the Church of St. Paraskevi in Palairo, Akarnania.
On the life of St. Vlasios, from Full of Grace and Truth:
Details from the life and martyrdom of St. Vlasios were revealed to Euphrosyne, Fr. Arsenios Tsantalio, and St. Paisios the Athonite.
St. Vlasios was an abbot or retired bishop in the Holy Monastery of the Entrance of the Theotokos, which was in the region of Sklavainon-Zaverdas, now Plairo. He endured death by martyrdom by muslim pirates together with his fellow five monastics, and a multitude of Christian laymen, women and children in his flock, for their faith in Christ. He was beheaded, having previously been slowly nailed with five nails in his body, as was revealed at the uncovering of his relics. The executioners tried to burn the Saint's body, but it did not burn. The Chistians who were saved returned and buried St. Vlasios, together with his five fellow martyrs, in a common tomb. The rest of the Christians were buried in a large mass grave.
Their martyrdom occurred on the 19th of December, a Sunday.
The revelations surrounding the life of St. Vlasios did not stop then when God was well-pleased to reveal his holy relics. Many other new facts came to light in recent years. The continuous appearance of the Saint, and his continuous wonderworking power at the appeal to his holy name placed him as a bright star in the firmament. Much more could be written about it...