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 SPYRIDONOVDEN (St. Spyridons Day)

SPYRIDONOVDEN (St. Spyridons Day)

12/12/2013 9:00:00 AM

Name day of everyone named Spyridon or Spiro.

In some villages the holiday is called Conception Day. It is observed by women and mostly by those who will give birth soon. That day the young brides who want to become pregnant are bathed in hot herbal water.

Ordained a priest just after the turn of the fourth century, St. Spyridon was assigned to a rural community and made it his first act to use the church as a school for the education of children whose parents he convinced that their offspring could be made more useful citizens if they were given time enough from their chores to learn at least the rudiments of education, particularly how to read and write. His dedication to the people and his complete commitment to the Savior did not go unnoticed, and he was appointed bishop of his province, a post in which he won the admiration of his flock and prominence in the international Christian community.

Whenever he could get away from the responsibilities of his office, he chose to rest and refresh himself by returning to the hillside and to the sheep on his family farm. It was in 325 AD that the momentous Synod of Nicaea (First Ecumenical Council) was convened at the request of the Emperor Constantine to resolve the issues so divisive in that era, a conclave to which the greatest figures of Christianity were invited. Among them was the shepherd-bishop Spyridon, whose reputation preceded him and who was therefore made one of the directors. At this meeting, Spyridon met St. Nicholas, with whom he formed a lasting friendship, one destined to form a parallel of their lives which comes down to us as a glorious part of the rich heritage of Christianity. St Spyridon acquitted himself most honorably at his meeting and was instrumental in settling a heated debate on the Mystery of the Holy Trinity, which allowed for a successful conclusion to the most important council in early Church history.

Like his friend St Nicholas, St Spyridon fell victim to pagan persecution and was one day hauled off to prison, where he was so brutally beaten by the guards that he lost the sight of one eye. Years of misery were to follow then, for rather than execute him the Romans consigned him to the mines. There the gentle bishop lived in squalor and labored in agony for many years before at last he died. Faithful to the end, his last words were in praise of the Lord. His body was cast into a ditch from which it was taken by friends for Christian burial. Later removed, his body lies intact to this day, preserved by the hand of God.

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