St. Dionysius of Olympus Icon
Orthodox Icon of Dionysius, Dionysios of Olympus.
Commemorated January 23rd.
A charismatic figure, bearing unquenchable the seal of the All -Holy Spirit, St. Dionysios has been a prototype anchorite, as well cenobitic monk, and cenobite, a perfect example of gentleness, humility and spiritual perfection, a spiritual leader for many souls, both of monks and the laity. At the same time he was a writer with a rich hagiological and spiritual work, a monastic rule -setter, an icon painter, a manuscript copyist and teacher of children. He was born in the late 15th century in Sklataina (Drakotrypa), located at the region of Fanari, Karditsa.
At a young age, he departed for the Great Meteoron Monastery, where he became monk and was renamed to Daniil. Seeking a more isolated place, he moved to Mount Athos, where he was tonsured o schema -monk and then ordained deacon and priest. He lived as ascetic near the Holy Monastery Karakalou observing austere asceticism, prayer and fast, experiencing many miraculous acts of God. His angel-like life led to his election as Abbot of the Bulgarian, at the time, Monastery Filotheou, which he renovated, compiled monastic rules and Hellenized it.
The reactions he became faced with on account of these changes were big; hence he fled from this Monastery and was installed at the Monastery Timiou Prodromou, in Veria. In order to avoid his election as bishop, pursued by the locals, he secretly fled to Mt. Olympus. Slandered, though, he was chased off his cell, and he departed for Pilio, where he founded the Monastery of Sourvia. Three years later and due to the complete aridity that inflicted the area of Olympus, he officially returned following invitation by the local commander and founded, in 1542, the Monastery of Holy Trinity, further to God's miraculous suggestion.
His angelic life soon attracted a mass of monks, but he preferred to lead an ascetic life in prayer in caves of the area, such as the cave of Christ's Birth (Holy Cave), the kathisma (cell) of Prophet Elias on the top of Mt. Olympus, etc. He combined in a unique way the austerity of monastic life with the unremitting care for the Greeks subjugated by the Turks. He toured the towns and villages of Macedonia and Thessalia, provided the people with spiritual guidance and support, worked miracles and built Churches. His love for the people was infinite. He died in peace, on 23 January in the cave of St. Lazarus located at the old Monastery, leaving us the priceless treasure of his graceful relics, which have conducted multiple miracles up to date.
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