St. Panages Basias of Kephallonia icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Panages, Panagis Basias of the island of Kephallonia.
Commemorated June 9.
Among the brightest blossoms of Cephalonia's garden is St. Panagis Basias. Son of the devout and well-to-do couple Michael Typaldos-Basias and Regina Delaporta, he was born in Lixouri in 1801.He was highly educated and spoke Italian, French and Latin. His career began as a grammar school teacher. Soon he became inspired by the radical preaching of Kosmas Flamiatos and Efsevios Panas, two men of the Church who believed that the British occupying the Ionian Islands at the time were essentially tyrants attempting to undermine the population's Orthodox faith.
As a result, he left his official teaching post, continuing his mission by giving lessons at home. At the age of 20, following his father's death, feeling his natural inclination as well as the influence from the character of the Great Ascetic St Gerasimos and his neighbor St. Anthimos, he leaves everything behind and goes to the tiny island Vlahernon off the coast of Livathos.
This was used as a place of exile of clergymen by the British rulers. Exiled on the island at that time was the famous cleric Nikolaos Kantounis from Zakynthos. However, his widowed mother's and orphaned sister's pleas forced him to cut short his stay at Vlaherna. He did return to the world but his entire life proved to be a continuous ascetic strive and adherence to the monastic existence he had chosen.In 1836 he was ordained as deacon and clergyman by the Archbishop of Cephalonia Parthenios Makris.He lived for Christ and His Church.
He liturgized and preached on a daily basis, spending the remaining time of his day visiting the homes of the faithful who were in need of comfort, charity, spiritual guidance, relief and compassion. He was an exceptional confessor who impressed the image of Christ upon the souls of his congregation. God granted him the gift of prophecy which he used to foretell future events to those around him, something that is mentioned in the proposal for his sainthood. Reflections of his many miracles, prophecies and accounts of his devout life are still with us.
On May 21st 1864 he experienced the joy of the Union of the Ionian islands with Greece, a goal he had worked hard for by preaching and cultivating the Orthodox tradition during a period of political and social turmoil. The devasting earthquakes of Palliki in 1867 destroyed his house forcing him to live as a guest from then on, "poor but enriching others" and "having nothing and having it all" , in his cousin Ioannis Geroulano's house (the latter was the father of famous surgeon Marinos Geroulanos).
His widespread fame as a miracle worker forces him to claim mental illness, embracing the strategy of many saintly men before him, in order to avoid the fall into arrogance and egotism. For five years his is confined to a bed, never stopping however to bless, guide and console the devout who visited him. During this time he had a visit from the new Archbishop Germanos Kalligas, whom he informed that he would eventually become Archbishop of Athens and All Greece.
He passed away on June 7th 1888. At a mass-attended funeral service held over three days, the eulogy was delivered by the Metropolitan of Cephalonia Germanos Kalligas. His pious life and the repetitions of the miracles he performed remained alive in the conscience of devout Christians for the next 88 years, leading the Metropolitan of Cephalonia Prokopios Menoutis to order Restitution of His Sacred Remains.
The procedure to obtain Sainthood Decree by the Ecumenical Patriarchate was delayed by the well-known, unfortunate Ecclesiastic problems in Cephalonia. After his enthronment, the peacemaker new Metropolitan of Cephalonia Spyridon, performed with full honors all indicated Sainthood Induction ceremonies on September 7th 1986. The ceremonies, following the Patriarchic and Synodic Decree issued on February 4th 1986, were attended by representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Holy Synod, and a large number of bishops.
The Saint's praises were delivered by Archbishop Germanos Kalligas, Father Zisimos Typaldos and written by Amilkas Alivizatos, Father Elias Mastrogianopoulos, the Lixourian born Bishop of Trikki and Staggon Herouvim Anninos and the Reverend Konstantinos Gellis. The radiance of his personality was so immense that even the satyric poet Andreas Laskaratos, known for his anti-tradition and anti-clergy views, noted in footnote 6 of his book The Mysteries of Cephalonia that " ..I have honored and loved virtue everytime I found it in the clergy". The faithful have the opportunity today to honor and worship the Saint's Tomb and Sacred Remains, kept in a silver larnax in St. Spyridon's Church in Lixouri.
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