The House Of St. Spyridon

25 Dec in the calendar of the Russian Orthodox Church – the day of memory of St. Spyridon. On this day we publish a story about a personal experience with St. Spyridon. This same material can become a kind of guide for those who are only acquainted with this revered Saint in Russia.

  • Going to us Saint Spyridon
  • St Spyridon – miracles and testimonies
  • The miracle of Saint Spyridon
  • Saint Spyridon is a very good Holy
  • Saint Spyridon of Trimyphunteia program channel 1 “Let them talk”

A real estate miracle

I work as a realtor. A year and a half ago, in the summer of 2017, in my work a small miracle happened. The apartment my clients, difficult from the point of view of sale, for two days there were buyers who paid significantly more than market value. So, in two weeks, not six months, as expected, my clients received two three-room apartments, and in the other entrances of a house in the suburbs, a two-bedroom instead of two, as originally planned.

On an honest recognition that in my eyes there was some kind of “real estate miracle”, the head of the family replied with a smile: “We went to pray to the icon of St. Spyridon, it helps in housing issues. Mary at first it was treated with skepticism, and then from the temple did not want to leave – so good there…” Masha, a beautiful young bride, for the wedding which started the exchange of flats in Moscow, stood by and nodded with a beaming smile… So I first heard the name Spyridon.

Then for a long time remember the correct pronunciation of the city where he became famous as a miracle worker. Then was reading the available books about it. And a few months molested the wise men with questions: “is it permissible to refer to God and the saints with the housing question?”

Life continued to herd sheep

Man is a paradox. Lived on the island, which has always been the center of trade and, hence, its port city was fabulously rich. But a lifetime spent in the town (you could even say village) in the heart of Northern Cyprus, especially if choosing the maximum distance (25-30 km) from all three major cities of this area – today’s Larnaca, Famagusta and Kyrenia, and then the former rich sea gate of the island.

Was a Bishop, but continued to graze sheep in the literal and not just symbolic meaning. The cap of the cane, whether of wool, in which he depicts all the icons, the traditional headdress of the shepherds, whose lives, of course, is not wealth. But he, according to tradition, drew the snake in a gold ingot to give it to the needy farmer – to survive the year of famine and return from the next harvest.

A shepherd, not a trained the sophistication and flowery speech. But it was his voice, according to legend, was decisive in the Ecumenical Council, when solved, will the Christian world for the eloquent Arius, or retain the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. On many icons of Saint Spyridon, gripping his bricks (tiles), from which emanate fire and water, and in the hand it will remain clay. So, he reveals mnogometrovaya priests is a “simple” miracle, he showed that Three can be One.

May every Christian, overshadowing the sign of the cross “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy spirit,” does this including the fact that the Cypriot shepherd from the village did not listen to their educated fellow-churchmen, and took the word at the Ecumenical Council…

The Church is still behind the fence

During the half year that had gone into preparing for the trip, I learned that everyone who considers St. Spyridon the patron, go on Corfu (or Kerkyra, as it is called by islanders who do not agree with the renaming). But I was drawn to the unusual, the word “Trimifunt”, and I wanted to go to those places where the written pages of the earthly life of the Saint. So my journey began from Cyprus.

Those who think, do not repeat my route, I advise to do this carefully and gently… the fact that Askia, the birthplace of Saint Spyridon, and Tremetousia, where he became famous for are in North Cyprus aka TRNC (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus). Since the conflict of 1974, it is an unrecognized formally, but the current de facto Turkish territory.

My friends and colleagues who live in Kyrenia (and arguably the most “European” city of Northern Cyprus), sincerely believe that a trip to the villages of Northern Cyprus and the transition of the border – it is simple and easy. In my experience this is not confirmed…

Accuracy, attentiveness and a bit of fearlessness – without these qualities it is not necessary to go deep into the TRNC where it is difficult to find a resident who spoke English, and where any currency other than Turkish Lira, surprising…

Even more difficult given this trip, if you first spend a day in a European spirit and a mixed confessional and religious Larnaca. And to arrive to Cyprus you need it is through this “official” airport as Turkish and you can fly with tainted history in the passport – the Greeks, for example, can respond to the Turkish stamp is very sharp, and about Corfu (aka Kerkyra) then you can forget.

In the main temple of Paphos relics of St. Lazarus – his sarcophagus and gave the present name to the city. In the tourist brochures there is a phrase: “the Second time the Holy Lazarus died in Cyprus in the year 63”. Looking at these relics and I understand that once this earthly shell was brought back to life, and then Lazarus spoke and touched the one Who called him a friend… In my head it all fits easily.

The Cathedral of St. Lazarus

Next to the main city temple is the main mosque of the city. At the entrance the friendly man with piercing and intelligent gaze invites you to go inside and a non-Muslim: “Our doors are open to all.” From the minaret of a Mullah sings. By the way, near the airport of Larnaca is one of the Muslim shrines, the Hala Sultan Tekke, acting now more like a cultural center than a mosque…

Walking around Larnaca, I found a large and active Catholic Church of our lady of graces. As well as stumbled on a night in the cleric calling, as it turned out, the mansion of the Orthodox diocese of Kition (ancient name of Larnaca).

We chatted with the cleric, I told him about my plans to visit the next day in ASCII and Tremetousia. “The Church of St. Spyridon in Tremetousia you can’t see, he’s still behind the fence of the Turkish military unit”, – said the priest. He added: “I am from those places. The Turks don’t save anything. Everything is destroyed”. Thus, naturally, he blessed me for the trip and wished me luck. His words about the Turks, I took it as the opinion of a man who had forty years ago to leave her home because of ethnic conflict.

The next day I realized that the priest was fully human. Alas, a typical pattern for almost any Turkish village will be a new brand-new mosque and the old Orthodox Church with empty window and door openings, which in the best case, a refuge for pigeons…

Do not drive into the military base with the back gate

Familiarity with the place of birth of the Saint started for me with a joke from the developers “Google maps”, decided to lead me in the ASCII fields via the short route. I thought that the Spyridon decided to show me the land where in his youth he has already worked as a shepherd. Since then, the landscape hardly changed – fields, low hills and occasionally encountered the paddocks for the cows.

Has changed, and maybe it also wanted to show me the Saint: “Look, it’s here now,” and the developers “Google maps” was not aware… In General, shorter route through the fields, as it turned out, ended cut through a huge military base. Advice to those who go this route – not the shock of the Turkish military and do not drive into the military base with the back gate (the wide opening in the barbed wire fence).

Yes, you’ll be within a few hundred meters from the standing tanks in a row and realize something new about Northern Cyprus, but speaking bad English gunners on the tower will be very surprised… If the weather is dry, this huge base, which occupies essentially the entire southern part of the village, it will be possible to overtake on the right. But if you will enter the village on main asphalt road, you will see how impregnable and as a model guarded the front entrances to this huge military area. Such bases I have the time to travel saw three in ASCII, Tremetousia and in one other village.

In the centre of the Northern part of the village it is easy to find the St. George temple. Maybe because he’s the biggest of the five abandoned Orthodox churches of ASCII, all Christian pilgrims choose it, as a kind of point of attraction in the village. I think this is the right choice. A quarter of an hour next to this building is enough to much to feel, to feel and understand.

Here is the back of a Turkish village, here – yard recyclers of scrap metal, here is a small dump, around nekoshenom weeds. But it should be rotated 180 degrees, and you see in the fields a shepherd, poczciwego on his small flock of sheep. And it’s probably the same fields, and behind them are the same mountain, which was here in the year 270, when the village, then known as Assia, birthplace of the Wonderworker Spyridon…

Meditations were interrupted by the tractor, driving up to the Church and stopping ten meters behind the apse (the altar part of the temple). Turkish farmer unwinds the hose includes the pressure of the water and begins to wash the car seems to have just worked in the barn. Now I understand how accidental and even theatre were all these paintings. But inside these paintings to relate to them philosophically harder.

After another ten minutes along the village lanes, looking at how parents dismantle their children from school after drinking Turkish coffee in a cafe, where I’ve definitely become an interesting event for a very serious local men playing cards at one of the tables (with a gesture showed that for coffee to pay not me – I’m their guest), I go to the village, for which, and arrived in Cyprus…

English guard knows one word – “Stop!”

A textbook view of the temple of Saint Spyridon is the image of the southern facade with center entrance and bell tower on the left. Take a picture of it I could not part the mesh fence of military unit, now curtained still very non-transparent dense film. But through it all, the bell tower in place, and the General outlines of the temple are the same as in the photos online from 2009.

The temple stands ten meters of the fence of the military unit and where it begins and the facade, the fence breaks, and for a few meters the entrance to the territory of the military unit nice win only two sagging red-white plastic ribbons. Taught by experience, I overcome the temptation to step over them and take photos of the temple “over the fence”. Here is also perfectly clear that everything here is still in the temple, probably still houses the barracks of military units – that’s close to drying on the ropes and Mikey…

Even though I click the shutter of the camera, without entering the territory of the military unit, I don’t save.

Behind a cry of “Stop!”, which means, alas, not “Stop taking pictures!”, a “Stand still!”…

The road from the village past the temple is between the two fences, that is, the military part is located and on the left (behind the fence – the temple), and the right of the road. And I kept taking pictures of literally ten meters away from the astonished guard, I have left behind in an inconspicuous CAT behind the fence…

English guard knows one word – “Stop!”: trying to make the leap to a parked car – “Stop!”, trying to take a step towards him to show him the documents – “Stop!”… On his chest he had a gun. Three minutes later, the post comes caused by it officer who doesn’t speak English, talking with the guards, he calls a senior officer who knows the language. He asks to see the footage on the camera (which there is no card with the pictures already in your back pocket).

Show a blank screen camera, saying that only tried. With the smile of a man with a holster on the belt he tells me, which has the holster on the belt not, that is the territory of Turkey, that he officially reported to me: take pictures don’t need to be here is not necessary. And patted on the shoulder, joked: “just relax already”. I breathe, supporting the current “friendly” atmosphere, relief and think, “they won’t Search”…

Leaving in the field on the road leading from the village, I have a minute or two feel a deep disappointment that things did not go according to plan. And then in the distance a couple of kilometers you can see a large hill of rock. I decide to climb as from the top, it opens a beautiful view on the village. Not considered the temple up close, so at least admire the village from a height…

And here on this hill I realized that if I drove on Cyprus Saint Spyridon (which left me with the feeling that it was), then his plan was much better than mine.

The view from the hill

Anyone who gets to Tremetousia, wanting to touch the history of the Saint, I advise you to pass by the temple, not stopping and not getting acquainted with the Turkish pastovymi. But standing on the top of this hill, almost in the center of a large valley of Northern Cyprus, limited on the one hand carinissimi mountains, and on the other lernacken hills almost midway between Askia to the North and Tremetousia in the South, when all sounds subside and only the birds are singing in the sky and houses on the horizon will merge into silhouettes of villages, then you will be able to imagine that the same picture could see in the beginning of the fourth century, the shepherd of Trimifunt, who came to the hill to the top of it to look stretched around the valley with fantastic views… the Awe and delight – the last words here come to mind before the word all over.

He saved the island from plague, and from the Turkish invasions

I’m going back to Tremetousia where else some time to meander through the streets of the part of the village that is not occupied by military barracks. Then, at sunset, once again face the Turkish hospitality alert (for my coffee again paid) and another great surprise from the company of older men drinking coffee at the entrance is the only one in the village grocery. The word “Moscow”, they respond, nodding calmly and even approvingly. We explained in sign language with the seller, and later I realize, it seems, got the delivery in Turkish Lira even a little bit more than paid for the purchase in euros. We assume this is a joke-gift from the St. Spyridon…

Time allows, and at dusk, I stop at the ruins of the ancient city of Salamis. This famous monument of the Hellenistic era the city was the center of Cyprus several thousand years before our era, and in its present form it was rebuilt after the earthquake, the hero of the Trojan war thevcr. Through the same Maritime gateway to Cyprus it is Christianity – the apostles Barnabas and Peter preached here already in ‘ 45.

Salamis

Certainly for this city and went to Saint Spyridon, most likely, from here he sailed on the Ecumenical Council in Constantinople in the year 325.

Flights to Corfu from Larnaca is only possible via Athens. Direct flights to the Greek island of very little. From Moscow they exist, from Cyprus – no. By the way, the way of Saint Spyridon was much more difficult: from the moment of his death (348 g) more than three centuries his relics were in Tremetousia, of which the last two centuries existed the same temple, built in the fifth century and were now behind the fence of military unit.

At the end of the seventh century Arab invasion turned into a serious threat, and the home of Saint Spyridon almost eight centuries becomes Constantinople. After its conquest by the Ottomans in 1453, the relics of the Saint within a few years of taking different city in the Balkans until it chooses its current home island of Corfu.

To understand which of the two names of the island proper, impossible. “Corfu” (dictionary officially the accent on the second syllable, but even the dictionary allows for both options, all of which are “wrong”) – also with Greek roots, but the word Byzantine. Corfu town (that’s right – with the accent on the first syllable) is preferred by the Greeks and the name of the island and its eponymous capital. This linguistic argument by itself says a lot about the history of the island.

Corfu

“Saint Spyridon came to us in the fifteenth century, to strengthen us in the struggle with Catholicism,” says me, one of the priests of the Cathedral of St. Spyridon in Corfu. That is, in the struggle with the religion of the Venetians, who ruled the island for almost four centuries (1401-1797) – until the arrival of Napoleon. By the way, the fact that Corfu was the only Greek island never conquered by the Muslims, it may also owe to the Republic of Venice…

The patron Saint of the island-Saint Spyridon becomes more under the Venetians. The first legend about the salvation of their island from famine dates back to the year 1553. He saved the island from plague, and from the Turkish invasions. Four times a year the residents of the island and “guests” through the streets of Corfu festive procession.

Brass band at the service of the Saint

Another important day in the city calendar – day of the death of the Saint, December 12, at the Greek Orthodox calendar.

Attend the morning Liturgy 12 Dec gathered all the color of the island. Service is the Metropolitan of Corfu, Paczyski and Diapontia Islands FR. Left on the Solea lined fit officers with the big stars on their epaulettes. “The police, the army, the Navy” – and then explained to me three elegantly dressed parishioners of the temple, patiently endured the clicks of my camera during the service. The right – politicians and their wives and children.

In the Cathedral

“It’s not a strict tradition just like that once happened and is now repeated every year – explain Greek women this balance. – But how and when during the service, a brass band plays, it is very strictly regulated by the rule of the Church service. On the island about twenty bands – a legacy of the French period: every city has a professional team. The most important services as it is today, the musicians of the Philharmonic society of Corfu”…

Morning and evening in these three days the city is full of musicians in traditional uniforms. Together with Christmas decoration Venetian architecture of the streets all this gives rise to the inevitable allusions to the Opera “the Nutcracker”. The city is shrouded in some magic…

Tight line waiting to touch to the relics of Saint Spyridon in the daytime goes far beyond the doors of the temple, at midnight, when there is night service, to defend this line in half an hour. Standing in this amazing temple, did not immediately notice mentioned in tourist guides, expensive jewelry (often in the form of pendants on the lamps).

Only after some time I noticed that the sight of me – a silver ship, a gift to the Saint of the sailors (or a specific document). Beautiful, restrained and very generous.

My question is “What responsibility imposes the work of custodians the current home of Saint Spyridon?” the rector of the Church Archimandrite Justin responds with a proper Christian modesty: “Saint Spyridon satisfied with our lives. We feel responsible before him, but also feel that he controls our lives – the life of priests, the laity, all the people of the island”.

The keys of the Fort as a gift from Spiridon

After service in the Church and walking around the city I travel to ancient fortress “Old Fort” with its walls, the highest point in the city to make sunset photos of Corfu. Then I discover that on the occasion of this tourist attraction is the fortress on the rock locked.

From the middle of the trail I go back to the Ranger in the kiosk at the entrance to the Bastion without much hope explain to him that I was going to write an article for the Russian readers that without good photos – it’s impossible, and tomorrow will generally be rain. “Alas, I am one today and can’t go with you,” replied the caretaker, and continues: “Well, okay. Here you go, close behind him on the way up and on the way back too. You have half an hour”. So in my hands is a bunch of keys from the “Old Fort,” and I are in possession of the historic fortress with lighthouse.

Returning the keys, I enthusiastically tell the caretaker that I can’t perceive it otherwise, as an amazing gift from the Saint Spyridon in his celebration. “Today’s my birthday, too. My name is Spyros, that is Spyridon,” replied the caretaker.

So I definitely got a gift from Spyridon. Such a gift requires, I have returned to the temple, bring the superintendent Spiridon festive consecrated bread and see what pleased him no less. And he sent to the foot of the fortress wall to meet a fantastic sunset.

Corfu. View from the fortress

It is not necessary to philosophize, I must confess

Conceiving this journey a year and a half ago, I wanted to find the answer to the question: how the humble shepherd of Cypriot village became a Saint giving richness and assistant in housing issues? I found the answer to it? Yes and no. Is no longer there to torture me this question? Yes and no. I just stopped to think about it that way. For myself, I understand the thought of St. Spyridon, said at the Ecumenical Council: “About the Holy Trinity is not necessary to philosophize, it is necessary to confess.”

Also, I now understand his story. You have to think it, but better to just go into those hills, on which he went during his earthly Ministry, and to visit the island, which is now considered his home.

Whether I continue to amaze the legend, according to which the Saint revived his dead daughter to ask her where she buried the gold, taken into custody by the rich women? People who were able to turn a snake into gold?! People with the gift of foresight?! Yes, for me, this story remains a paradox.

The patron of the island of Corfu, according to legend, double-stops the invasion of Turkish military Armada, quietly looking at the temple, forty years ago as his memory, now apartments Turkish soldiers? And it is also a paradox.

But these paradoxes I’m glad. Because the last thing I wanted this journey for me has placed all points over “i” and I stopped to think about all this.

Will advise if I repeat this route? Definitely. At observance of simple safety measures, traveling to Cyprus will enrich any new sensations, new awareness and new thoughts.

For giving me these six years of preparation for the trip itself is a journey? Perhaps the main result is a special place, which now is in my life and in my painting world Saint Spyridon. I think in your life, dear reader, it is too long or already occupies a special place, or now is, if you have read this story to the end.

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