Panaretos of Paphos

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Our father among the saints, Panaretos of Paphos was Bishop of Paphos of the Church of Cyprus during the eighteenth century. The feast day for St. Panaretos of Paphos is May 1.

Life

Panaretos was born around 1710 in the village of Peristeronopigi which is situated in the Mesaoria plain about 15 miles northwest of the city of Famagusta in what is now Turkish occupied Cyprus. He was educated at the Greek Orthodox School in Nicosia. After completing his education he became a monk at the Monastery of St. Anastasios in Peristeronopigi.

During his career, he served as Exarch of the Archbishopric of Cyprus, as abbot of the Monastery of St. Neophytos, and as abbot of the Monastery of the Virgin Mary in Pallouriotissa. It was during this period that he protected the Orthodox populous of Nicosia from the rebel Khalil. On January 14, 1767, he was consecrated Bishop of Paphos, succeeding Bp. Chrysanthos who had been installed as Archbishop of Cyprus.

As bishop of Paphos , Bp. Panaretos began a program of improving the condition of church property. Bp. Panaretos built a number of churches including at the village Nikokleia and the Holy Monastery of the Anargyroi Saints in Miliou. He had the church at the Holy Monastery of Panagia Chrysorogiatissa renovated and beautified. He also had the icons, appliances, and furniture restored and beautified at many other churches in the ecclesiastical district of Paphos. He initiated the restoration of the church at the Monastery of the Holy Cross of Miththa.

Bp. Panaretos also helped Archimandrite Kyprianos of the Archbishopric publish a chronological history of the island of Cyprus. He personally funded the publication of the work of Theophilos Korydalleos entitled "about birth and ruin according to Aristotle".

In 1783, Bp. Panaretos participated with Abp. Chrysanthos and Bps. Meletios of Kitium, and Sophronios of Kyrenia in a successful petition to Constantinople for the discharge of the then Governor of Cyprus, Muhassil Haci Baki Agha, who for the eight years of 1775 to 1783 had tyrannically oppressed the Orthodox people of Cyprus.

Bp. Panaretos lived an exemplary life, a living virtue. He was by nature meek and humble, amiable and inspiring as a teacher. He ate only once a day, after vespers, and spent much of the night praying while standing. He burdened his body with an iron chain without the knowledge of neither his relatives nor his close friends.

To make an example of a greedy priest who oppressed his parishioners, Panaretos requested God to strike the priest dumb before restoring the priest's voice so that he could confess and get forgiveness before he died.

As the time came, Bp. Panaretos predicted his death. He, himself, prepared for his burial by excavating his tomb behind the altar of the Bishopric Church of St. Theodore in Paphos. He made his confession and reposed in the late Spring of 1790. He was buried by Parthenios, Bishop of Karpathos in the Dodecanese, who during those days found himself at the port of Paphos, because the ship in which he traveled had left port due to a storm. His funeral was held on June 6, 1790, at which a paralyzed man who touched his holy relic was healed.

During the reign of the Patriarch Gerasimus III, the Cypriot, in 1794, Bp. Panaretos was glorifiedas a saint by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The two chains that St. Panaretos used were given to the Monastery of Stavrovouni where they remain to the present day. Every year on May 1, the date of his commemoration, they are venerated.

Source

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