Philothei of Athens
Saint Philothei of Athens is commemorated by the Church on February 19.
The name "Philothei"
The name 'Philothei' is Greek and means 'friend of God'.
Her father was Angelo Venizelos and her mother was called Syriga.
- Angelo Venizelos.
- Many of his family survive in Athens today. The 'Venizelos' name was known for its nobility and wealth.
- She was barren. One day she entered the Church of the Mother of God and prayed for a long time with fervor. She fell asleep and had a vision in which the magnificent and radiant light emitted from the icon of the Theotokos and entered her womb. When she awoke, she decided that this vision meant her request to have a child would be fulfilled.
Overview of her life
- Philothei of Athens was born in the year 1522 in the city of Athens and named 'Revoula' (Regoula or Regille).
- When she was twelve years old, she was courted by a leading man in the city (nobleman).
- She was pressured into marriage out of duty to the family honour and inheritance.
- After three years, her husband passed away.
- Once married, this man turned out to be cruel and somewhat inhuman. He would inflict her with various punishments.
- When she was 25 y.o., both of her parents died.
- As an 'orphan' this freed Revoula to begin a more austere life. She strived for abstinence, vigilance and prayers.
- In a vision, Revoula was ordered to build a convent for women in the name of St Andrew, the First-called.
- This convent is located at the present site of the Archdiocese of Athens, west of the church.
- Revoula is tonsured with the monastic Schema at the completion of the convent and received the name Philothei.
- The Saint became known for her mercy and sympathy.