Orthodox icon of Saint Sophia with her Daughters Faith (Piste), Love (Agape) and Hope (Elpida) (2).
Commemorated September 17.
St. Sophia and Daughters icon (3)
Orthodox icon of Saint Sophia and her daughters Saints Love, Faith and Hope (3).
Commemorated October 17th.
St. Sophia and Daughters icon (4)
Orthodox icon of Saint Sophia and her daughters Saints Love, Faith and Hope (3).
Commemorated October 17th.
The Holy Martyrs Saint Sophia and her Daughters Faith, Hope and Love were born in Italy. Their mother was a pious Christian widow who named her daughters for the three Christian virtues. Faith was twelve, Hope was ten, and Love was nine. Saint Sophia raised them in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. Saint Sophia and her daughters did not hide their faith in Christ, but openly confessed it before everyone.
An official named Antiochus denounced them to the emperor Hadrian (117-138), who ordered that they be brought to Rome. Realizing that they would be taken before the emperor, the holy virgins prayed fervently to the Lord Jesus Christ, asking that He give them the strength not to fear torture and death. When the holy virgins and their mother came before the emperor, everyone present was amazed at their composure. They looked as though they had been brought to some happy festival, rather than to torture. Summoning each of the sisters in turn, Hadrian urged them to offer sacrifice to the goddess Artemis. The young girls remained unyielding.
Then the emperor ordered them to be tortured. They burned the holy virgins over an iron grating, then threw them into a red-hot oven, and finally into a cauldron with boiling tar, but the Lord preserved them.
The youngest child, Love, was tied to a wheel and they beat her with rods until her body was covered all over with bloody welts. After undergoing unspeakable torments, the holy virgins glorified their Heavenly Bridegroom and remained steadfast in the Faith.
They subjected Saint Sophia to another grievous torture: the mother was forced to watch the suffering of her daughters. She displayed adamant courage, and urged her daughters to endure their torments for the sake of the Heavenly Bridegroom. All three maidens were beheaded, and joyfully bent their necks beneath the sword.
In order to intensify Saint Sophia’s inner suffering, the emperor permitted her to take the bodies of her daughters. She placed their remains in coffins and loaded them on a wagon. She drove beyond the city limits and reverently buried them on a high hill. Saint Sophia sat there by the graves of her daughters for three days, and finally she gave up her soul to the Lord. Even though she did not suffer for Christ in the flesh, she was not deprived of a martyr’s crown. Instead, she suffered in her heart. Believers buried her body there beside her daughters.
The relics of the holy martyrs have rested at El’zasa, in the church of Esho since the year 777.
St. Sophia the Ascetic icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Sophia of Kleisoura Monastery, the Ascetic. Contemporary icon.
Commemorated May 6th.
Sophia Saoulidi, the "ascetic of the Panagia", was born of Amanatiou and Maria Saoulidi in a village of Trebizond in Pontus of Asia Minor in 1883. She was also married there years later in 1907 to Jordan Hortokoridou, but after seven years her husband disappeared (likely not of his own will) in 1914 and she was left with a newborn son who soon thereafter died. These tragedies helped shape her piety and repentant spirit, making her rely solely upon God. Her asceticism began in Pontus on a mountain away from her relatives. It was there that one day Saint George appeared to her and warned her to notify the villagers of a coming persecution and to flee, and in this way she saved the village.
Her soul breathed Christ and the Panagia with her simple and humble love. "One is the Lord and one is the Lady", she would say of Christ and the Panagia, "the rest of us are all siblings."
She was a teacher of the simple, especially of women, and every word that came from her lips was spoken with humility and love. As with many "fools for Christ" of the past, the proud and the educated didn't recognize her worth as much as those who possessed simple and humble hearts.
She came to Greece in 1919 as an exile. The name of the ship that carried her was Saint Nicholas, so when they arrived in Greece the Panagia appeared to her and said: "Come to my house." Sophia asked: "Where are you and where is your house?" The Panagia responded: "I am in Kleisoura." Therefore she went and settled at the Monastery of the Birth of the Theotokos in Kleisoura of Kastoria when she was 44 years old. There the abbot of the Monastery was Gregorios Magdalis, an Athonite of great virtue. Sophia learned much from him and always spoke his name with the highest respect.
By the command of the Panagia, Sophia lived within the fireplace of the Monastery in the kitchen, which was also used to cook the food. She would sleep there two hours a night and the rest of the night pray on her knees. In the winter it was especially cold there, while during the rain water would drip on her. At times she would light a little fire, but this did not help much. At the window she would always have a candle lit before the fresco of the Panagia. This is where she ate and spent her time, and when visitors came to see her she would say their names before they even introduced themselves to her. People came from Thessaloniki and the surrounding areas, even as far as from Athens, just to see her. She would tell people their names and their family problems without being told beforehand. Among those who came was Fr. Leonidas Paraskevopoulos, who later became Metropolitan, and he would say: "You have a great treasure up there".
She dressed poorly and had a blanket with holes. Her sandals had holes also. Visitors would see how she suffered in the cold and humidity and give her clothes, but she would take them with one hand and give them away to the poor with the other. She also always wore a black scarf, and since her days in Pontus never bathed. Her fasting was constant and only allowed herself oil on the weekends. She cared little for what she ate, eating only to survive, and cared less about cleanliness so that she would even eat food without washing them. And despite the germs and the worms, she always remained healthy.
Visitors would often give her money, which she would hide anywhere she could. And when someone had need, she would go and give the money immediately.
She saw many scandalous things done by priests and lay people, but never criticized anyone. "Cover things, so that God will cover you", she would say.
Her popularity arose rapidly, so that people came not only from all over Greece, but even places like France and Israel to see her. Some villagers made fun of her however, calling her "Crazy-Sophia". To many she looked like Saint Mary of Egypt, as thin as a bone and all dried up. Within however she contained the same beauty of Saint Mary.
Orthodox icon of the Venerable Sophia of Ainos, the Mother of the orphans.
Commemorated June 4.
Our venerable Mother Sophia was born in the province of Ainos in southeastern Thrace , and was the daughter of pious Christian parents. When she was of age, her parents arranged for her to be married. She and her husband had six children. Though she was occupied with worldly cares and responsibilities, she still kept the commandments of God and lived a virtuous life. She loved to attend the Church services, and so she progressed in virtue. After sickness carried off Sophia's husband and all her children in succession, she did not despair, but became even more devoted to God.
Within a period of twenty years, she adopted one hundred children, and raised them to love God. Because of this, she is sometimes called St Sophia the Mother of Orphans. She sold her property and gave the proceeds to the poor and to widows. She led an austere life, eating nothing but bread and water. She preferred to do without the necessities of life herself rather than allow any poor person to leave her home empty-handed. The Psalms of the Prophet-King David were always on her lips, and tears flowed continuously from her eyes.
Because of her humility and her love for the poor, God blessed her in the following way. In her home there was a container of wine which she reserved for the poor. She noticed that no matter how much she took from the container, it remained full. However, as soon as she told someone about the miracle and glorified God, the container became empty.
St Sophia became sorrowful, believing that the wine had failed because of her unworthiness. Therefore, she increased her ascetical labors until her health suffered. Sensing that the end of her life was near, she received the monastic tonsure. From that time, she devoted herself completely to the worship of God. St Sophia reposed peacefully at the age of fifty-thre Referench:
St. Sophocles icon.
Orthodox icon of Saint Sophocles, Σοφοκλής. Contemporary icon.
Commemorated April 10.
St. Sosipater the Apostle icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Sosipater, Sosipatrus, Sosipatros the Apostle.
Commemorated April 29th.
St. Sozon of Cilikia Icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Sozon.
Commemorated September 7th.
The Martyr Sozon was a shepherd born in Lykaonia. He regularily read the Holy Scriptures and shared his knowledge about the One God with the shepherds in his area. Many were brought to the faith in Christ and Baptized. Secretly at night St Sozon went into the pagan temple in the city of Cilician Pompelopolis and broke off the idol's gold hand, smashed it and gave the gold to the poor.
This caused an disturbance in the city. The officials suspected many persons and subjected them to interrogation and torture. St Sozon went to the emperor Maximian (284-305) and told him that it was he who broke the hand of the idol. He told the emperor that his statue was not a god, but only a deaf and dumb idol and that he smashed it so the people would no longer worship a false God. The emperor was enraged and ordered that St Sozon be tortured mercilessly.
They beat him, suspended him from a tree and scraped his body with iron combs. St Sozon eventually gave up his spirit to God. By decree of the emperor, slaves lit a fire to burn his body, but thunder and lightning came, and the rain put out the fire. He was buried by Christians. By his grave many of the sick were healed. A church was built later in memory of his sufferings.
St. Spyridon Bishop of Tremithus icon (1)
Orthodox icon of Saint Spyridon, Bishop of Tremithus.
Commemorated December 12th .
The sizes of this icon are approximate.
Saint Spyridon of Tremithus was born towards the end of the third century on the island of Cyprus. He was a shepherd, and had a wife and children. He used all his substance for the needs of his neighbors and the homeless, for which the Lord rewarded him with a gift of wonderworking. He healed those who were incurably sick, and cast out demons. After the death of his wife, during the reign of Constantine the Great (306-337), he was made Bishop of Tremithus, Cyprus. As a bishop, the saint did not alter his manner of life, but combined pastoral service with deeds of charity.
According to the witness of Church historians, St Spyridon participated in the sessions of the First Ecumenical Council in the year 325. At the Council, the saint entered into a dispute with a Greek philosopher who was defending the Arian heresy. The power of St Spyridon's plain, direct speech showed everyone the importance of human wisdom before God's Wisdom: Listen, philosopher, to what I tell you. There is one God Who created man from dust. He has ordered all things, both visible and invisible, by His Word and His Spirit.
The Word is the Son of God, Who came down upon the earth on account of our sins. He was born of a Virgin, He lived among men, and suffered and died for our salvation, and then He arose from the dead, and He has resurrected the human race with Him. We believe that He is one in essence (consubstantial) with the Father, and equal to Him in authority and honor. We believe this without any sly rationalizations, for it is impossible to grasp this mystery by human reason.
As a result of their discussion, the opponent of Christianity became the saint's zealous defender and later received holy Baptism. After his conversation with St Spyridon, the philosopher turned to his companions and said, Listen! Until now my rivals have presented their arguments, and I was able to refute their proofs with other proofs. But instead of proofs from reason, the words of this Elder are filled with some sort of special power, and no one can refute them, since it is impossible for man to oppose God.
If any of you thinks as I do now, let him believe in Christ and join me in following this man, for God Himself speaks through his lips. At this Council, St Spyridon displayed the unity of the Holy Trinity in a remarkable way. He took a brick in his hand and squeezed it. At that instant fire shot up from it, water dripped on the ground, and only dust remained in the hands of the wonderworker. There was only one brick, St Spyridon said, but it was composed of three elements. In the Holy Trinity there are three Persons, but only one God. The saint cared for his flock with great love.
Through his prayers, drought was replaced by abundant rains, and incessant rains were replaced by fair weather. Through his prayers the sick were healed and demons cast out. A woman once came up to him with a dead child in her arms, imploring the intercession of the saint. He prayed, and the infant was restored to life. The mother, overcome with joy, collapsed lifeless. Through the prayers of the saint of God, the mother was restored to life. Another time, hastening to save his friend, who had been falsely accused and sentenced to death, the saint was hindered on his way by the unanticipated flooding of a stream.
The saint commanded the water: Halt! For the Lord of all the world commands that you permit me to cross so that a man may be saved. The will of the saint was fulfilled, and he crossed over happily to the other shore. The judge, apprised of the miracle that had occurred, received St Spyridon with esteem and set his friend free. Similar instances are known from the life of the saint. Once, he went into an empty church, and ordered that the lampadas and candles be lit, and then he began the service. When he said, Peace be unto all,u201d both he and the deacon heard from above the resounding of a great multitude of voices saying, And with thy spirit.
This choir was majestic and more sweetly melodious than any human choir. To each petition of the litanies, the invisible choir sang, Lord, have mercy. Attracted by the church singing, the people who lived nearby hastened towards it. As they got closer and closer to the church, the wondrous singing filled their ears and gladdened their hearts. But when they entered into the church, they saw no one but the bishop and several church servers, and they no longer heard the singing which had greatly astonished them. St Simeon Metaphrastes (November 9), the author of his Life, likened St Spyridon to the Patriarch Abraham in his hospitality. Sozomen, in his CHURCH HISTORY, offers an amazing example from the life of the saint of how he received strangers.
One time, at the start of the Forty-day Fast, a stranger knocked at his door. Seeing that the traveller was very exhausted, St Spyridon said to his daughter, Wash the feet of this man, so he may recline to dine. But since it was Lent there were none of the necessary provisions, for the saint partook of food only on certain days, and on other days he went without food. His daughter replied that there was no bread or flour in the house. Then St Spyridon, apologizing to his guest, ordered his daughter to cook a salted ham from their larder. After seating the stranger at table, he began to eat, urging that man to do the same.
When the latter refused, calling himself a Christian, the saint rejoined, It is not proper to refuse this, for the Word of God proclaims, Unto the pure all things are pure (Titus 1:15). Another historical detail reported by Sozomen, was characteristic of the saint. It was his custom to distribute one part of the gathered harvest to the destitute, and another portion to those having need while in debt. He did not take a portion for himself, but simply showed them the entrance to his storeroom, where each could take as much as was needed, and could later pay it back in the same way, without records or accountings.
There is also the tale by Socrates Scholasticus about how robbers planned to steal the sheep of St Spyridon. They broke into the sheepfold at night, but here they found themselves all tied up by some invisible power. When morning came the saint went to his flock, and seeing the tied-up robbers, he prayed and released them. For a long while he advised them to leave their path of iniquity and earn their livelihood by respectable work. Then he made them a gift of a sheep and sending them off, the saint said kindly, Take this for your trouble, so that you did not spend a sleepless night in vain.
All the Lives of the saint speak of the amazing simplicity and the gift of wonderworking granted him by God. Through a word of the saint the dead were awakened, the elements of nature tamed, the idols smashed. At one point, a Council had been convened at Alexandria by the Patriarch to discuss what to do about the idols and pagan temples there. Through the prayers of the Fathers of the Council all the idols fell down except one, which was very much revered.
It was revealed to the Patriarch in a vision that this idol had to be shattered by St Spyridon of Tremithus. Invited by the Council, the saint set sail on a ship, and at the moment the ship touched shore and the saint stepped out on land, the idol in Alexandria with all its offerings turned to dust, which then was reported to the Patriarch and all the bishops. St Spyridon lived his earthly life in righteousness and sanctity, and prayerfully surrendered his soul to the Lord. His relics repose on the island of Corfu (Kerkyra), in a church named after him (His right hand, however, is located in Rome).
St. Spyridon Bishop of Tremithus icon (2)
Orthodox icon of Saints Spyridon, Bishop of Tremithus (2).
Commemorated December 12.
St. Spyridon Bishop of Tremithus icon (3)
Orthodox icon of Saint Spyridon Bishop of Tremithus (3). Icon of 12th cent. Iviron Monastery, Mount Athos.
Commemorated December 12th.
St. Spyridon Icon (SP)
Orthodox Icon of Saint Spyridon Wonderworker and Bishop of Tremithus in Silver Plated (SP).
Commemorated December 12.
Silver-plated icon of Saint Spyridon on a special paper, with decoration.Silver-plated icons are made with the latest and very specific technique. The icon is a copy of a hand painted icon and the background is silver 958.
NOTICE: The colors of the icons seems little darker, because of the reflection in the scanner.
St. Stamatios the new Martyr of Chios icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Stamatios the new Martyr of Chios.
Commemorated February 3.
Saint Stamatios iived during the Greek revolution of 1821 and worked as an importer along with his brothers John and Nicolas. They were betrayed by a fellow Christian when their boat was stranded on Asia Minor. He , seized and led to the pasha of Chios. He, after questioning them, ordered the two younger brothers, Stamatios (18) and John (22), to be put in prison. T
hey tried to convert Nicholas to islam to save his life. He refused and they beheaded him. They tried to covert the two younger brothers using many different methods for a week, sometimes with promises and sometimes with threats. The pasha, having thought for a while, told them, these heathen are stubborn, it's easier to cut off their heads that defiance.u Before their martyrdom; they received Holy Communion from the Bishop of Chios, who sent it with a pious woman.
On the day of his martyrdom, the saints confessed Christ, crying out: We were born Christians and we will die Christians. We will never deny Christ, even if you cut us into pieces. At that moment they were beheaded Feb.3.
St. Stephanie icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Stephanie.
Commemorated November 11.
Saints Victor and Stephanie contested in Damascus in 160, during the reign of Antoninus Pius. The pagans arrested Saint Victor as a Christian and cut off his fingers, put out his eyes, and beheaded him. As Saint Stephanie, the wife of a certain soldier, and a Christian, saw Victor's nobility in his sufferings, she loudly cried out to call him blessed and to say that she saw two crowns prepared, one for him, and one for herself. She also was taken, and was tied to two palm trees which had been bowed down; when they were released, she was torn asunder.