Commemorated on August 4 and 24
Equal-to-the-Apostles Priest-Martyr Kosma, in the world Constantine, was a
native of Aetolia. He studied at first under the guidance of the archdeacon
Ananios Dervitian, and afterwards continued his education on Holy Mount Athos,
at the Batopedia school of such reknown for the time teachers as Nicholas
Tsartsulis (from Mezova) and Evgenii Bulgaris (afterwards in the years
1775-1779 the archbishop of Ekaterinoslav and the Chersonessus).
Remaining on Athos at
the Philotheia monastery to persevere at spiritual labours, he took vows there
into the monastic order with the name Kosma, and later was ordained priestmonk.
The yearning to guide upon the way of salvation and strengthen the faith of his
brother-Christians impelled Saint Kosma to seek the blessing of his spiritual
fathers and go to Constantinople. There he mastered the art of
eloquent-speaking and, having received the written permission of Patriarch
Seraphim II (and later from his successor Sophronias) to preach the Holy
Gospel, he began to proclaim it at first in the churches of Constantinople and
the surrounding villages, then in the Danubian principalities, in Thessalonika,
in Berrheia, in Macedonia, Chimara, Akarnania, Aetolia, on the islands of Saint
Maura, Kephalonia and other places. His preaching, filled with the grace of the
Holy Spirit, – plain, tranquil and gentle, brought Christians great spiritual
benefit. Just as for His holy Apostles, the Lord Himself assisted him and
affirmed his words with signs and miracles. Preaching in Albania, in those
distant area of it, where Christian piety was almost lost amidst the rough and
coarse people entrenched in sin, Saint Kosma led them with the Word of God to
sincere repentance and improvement.
Under his guidance
church schools were opened in the villages. The rich offered their means for
the betterment of the churches, for the purchase of Holy Books (which the saint
distributed to the literate), veils (which he gave women, admonishing them to
come with veiled heads), rosaries and crosses (which he distributed to the
common folk). Since the churches could not accommodate everyone wanting to hear
the wise preacher, Saint Kosma with an assemblage of priests made the vigil in
the fields, and in city-squares, where thousands of people prayed for the
living and for the dead and were edified by his preaching. And everywhere,
where Saint Kosma halted and preached, the grateful listeners erected a large
wooden cross, which remained thereafter in memory of this.
The apostolic service
of Saint Kosma was brought to a close by a martyr's death in the year 1779. At
65 years of age, he was seized by the Turks and strangled. His body was thrown
into a river and after three days was found by a priest Mark and given burial
near the village of Kalikontasa at the Ardebuzia monastery of the Entrance into
the Temple of the Most Holy Mother of God. Afterwards part of his relics were
transferred for blessing at various places.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.