Dionysius of Zakynthos

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St. Dionysius of Zakynthos
Our father among the saints Dionysius of Zakynthos was born in 1547 on the island of Zakynthos in the Ionian Sea. He was educated by priests and became fluent in Greek, Italian, and Latin. He excelled in theology and received ordination as the priest Daniel in 1570; he later became hieromonk of Zakynthos and Strofades. In 1577 he was raised to Archbishop of Aegina. After a year at Aegina he returned to Zakynthos, where he was appointed bishop and president but lived as a hermit in the 13th century Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration of Christ in the Strofades. In December 17, 1622 he fell asleep in the Lord. He had asked to be buried in this monastery and his grave is still to be found in the chapel of St George; a dependant of the monastery.

In 1717, the monks, of the monastery of Strofades, moved the Saints relic and placed it inside the metochi [1] of Kalliteros in order to protect him from various destructive invasions by pirates in the area. At a later date, a church was built in his honour in the Ammos area. Later, in 1764, this church was rebuilt and in 1854 a steeple added to the church. In 1893, this church was destroyed by a major earthquake and a temporary church constructed until 1925 where there took place a foundation ceremony to rebuild a earthquake-resistant church; fully completed by 1948.[2]

It has been found that his body remains intact and emits a mixed fragrance of flowers and frankincense. Therefore he is venerated, and his sainthood has been proclaimed by the Patriarch of Constantinople. His feast day is celebrated on December 17, and on August 24, the Church celebrates the transfer of his holy relics.

"The Saint of Forgiveness"

St. Dionysius was remarkable in his forgiveness and love for his fellow man.

A man came to St. Dionysius's cell and begged the saint to hide him from his pursuers. When St. Dionysius asked the man why he was being pursued, the man told him that he had killed a monk, the saint's own beloved brother. St. Dionysius was very grieved but hid the man and did not surrender him to the law. The murderer later repented and became a monk himself.

St. Dionysius is an example to us all for his forgiveness of even the most grievous sins against us.

"The Wonderworker"

Dionysios grants his people many blessings; and many miracles are reported in connection with his ministry.

For example, when the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George was destroyed on September 11, 2001, during the World Trade Center attack, only two things were recovered intact: a cross and a paper icon of Dionysios.

"The Walking Saint"

Dionysius rests in the church which bears his name in Zakynthos, where opening his tomb is often found impossible. It appears as though this occurs when Dionysius is out performing miracles. Afterwards, when the tomb can be opened, seaweed is found at his feet and his slippers are found to be worn thin. In fact, his slippers need continual replacement because they receive so much wear. He is often seen alive and walking.

The other "Walking Saints" of the Ionian Islands


  1. a building that belongs to a religious institution.
  2. The Church was designed by Anastasios Orlandos.

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