Theophanes the New
Our venerable father Theophanes the New of Naousa of the seventeenth century, not to be confused with Theophanes the Confessor, was a monastic who founded a number of monasteries in the northern area of Greece. His feast day is August 19.
Little is known of the early life of Theophanes. He was born in 1590 in the city of Ioannina in Epirus in northwestern Greece. He chose monasticism early in his life. Still a young man, he received monastic tonsure on Mount Athos at the Dochiariou Monastery and subsequently was chosen its abbot. Finding that his nephew had been forced to become a Muslim, Theophanes, with the help of God, freed the youth, hid him in Dochiariou Monastery, and blessed him to enter the monastic life.
The brethren of the monastery, fearing revenge on the part of the Turks, became distressed about the nephew and began to grumble against the abbot. Theophanes, not wanting to be the cause of discord and dissension within the monastery, quietly departed from the Docheiariou monastery with his nephew, quit the Holy Mountain, and moved to Beroea in Macedonia.
In Beroea, Theophanes founded the Skete of St. John the Forerunner and built a church dedicated to the Most Holy Theotokos. Soon, monks began to gather for whom he established a cenobitic monastic rule. As the monastery flourished, Fr. Theophanes withdrew nearby to a new place at Naousa where he founded another monastery and built a church in honor of the Holy Archangels. To the very end of his days St. Theophanes continued guiding the monks of both monasteries, both of which regarded him as their common father.
During his lifetime, the Lord had glorified his humble servant as he saved people from destruction, calmed a storm by his prayer, and converted sea water into drinking water. In a revelation he foresaw his own end and give his flock a final farewell before the sainted Theophanes died at very old age at the Beroeia Skete of the Forerunner. Even after death, the saint has never forsaken people with his grace-filled help.
Soon after his repose the monks of the Beroeia Skete placed his skull, among the other relics of the Skete, in a silver reliquary which became a shrine while his body was buried. Decades later, the Turks destroyed the Skete and left the tomb of St. Theophanes in ruins. In the twentieth century, the people of Naousa stole his skull and brought it back to their city and placed it in the Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos. Today, it is enshrined in the church dedicated to his name. In 1926, the tomb of St. Theophanes in Beroeia was opened and 60 pieces of bone were removed and placed in the Holy Altar.