Spyridon of Trimythous
Our father among the saints Spyridon of Trimythous was born in Trimythous in Cyprus in 270 AD. He had no education. Like his parents, he was a peasant farmer and shepherd, and even after his wife died and he became Bishop of Trimythous (during the reign of Constantine the Great), he did little to change his humble way of living.
Persecutions and witness to Orthodox Faith
During the Maximilian persecutions (295 AD) he was arrested and exiled. In 325 AD, he was present at the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea where he astonished many with his simple explanations of the Orthodox Faith. Though not well-educated, he surprised everyone at the Council of Nicea by converting a famous philosopher to Orthodoxy from Arianism. He explained the unity and diversity of the Trinity by holding up a brick, then commonly thought to be a combination of the elements fire, earth and water; as he spoke, fire blazed from the top of the brick while water gushed out underneath. There too, at Nicea, he met St. Nicholas of Myra, with whom he formed a lasting friendship.
Through simplicity and deep devotion to God, he worked miracles throughout his life and became known as a great wonder-worker, calling forth rain in the midst of drought, casting out demons with a single word, healing the sick and even raising people from the dead, in addition to having the gift of prescience.
When he arrived back home from Nicea a woman told him that she had given his daughter, who had died while he was away, some jewelry for safekeeping. Now that his daughter was dead, no one could find where she had put them. Spyridon went to his daughter's grave, spoke to her, and was able to restore the jewelry to its owner.
Also during a famine Spyridon changed a snake into gold pieces so that a poor man could buy food from a greedy merchant who had cornered the supply.
One day there was only himself and the deacon and readers in church at vespers, and the responses could be heard beautifully chanted by an unseen choir. The music was so beautiful that others, passing by, heard it and saw through the windows what seemed like a large congregation. Entering the church, however, they found only St. Spyridon and his assistants.
Departure and relics
St. Spyridon lived most of his earthly life in Cyprus, where he also reposed in 348 AD and was buried in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Trimythous.
When the Saracens took the island, the Cypriots opened his grave in order to remove his sacred bones to Constantinople. They found that his body had remained intact, while from the grave emanated a scent of basil, true signs of the sainthood he had shown during his lifetime. When Constantinople fell in 1453, he was transferred to Serbia, then a Corfiot elder, Georgios Kalohairetis, brought him to the island of Corfu in Greece where he is currently burried.
To this day St. Spyridon 's incorrupt relics at his shrine in Corfu continue to manifest the power of God, wondrous in His saints. He is called the "walking saint" because the silk slippers which clothe the feet of his relics wear out each year and are replaced on his feast day. He is commemorated by the Church on December 12.
- "St. Spiridon's Cathedral, A Century in Seattle", ed. Alan Mack, (c) 1995 St. Spiridon's Cathedral.