January 20, 2023

The Three Day Feast of the Newly-Canonized Saint Bessarion of Agathonos Begins With a Procession of His Incorrupt Relic


On June 14th 2022, Saint Bessarion of Agathonos (+ January 22, 1991) was canonized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and on January 22nd 2023 it will be his first official festal celebration in his honor. In the Greek city of Lamia, festivities have already begun on January 20th, marking the beginning of a three day celebration. Today, for the first time, the incorrupt relics of Saint Bessarion left the Monastery of Agathonos, which were discovered to be incorrupt and miraculous on March 3rd 2006, and were brought into the heart of Roumeli, to the Cathedral of the Metropolis of Lamia.

After the morning Divine Liturgy, the Sacred Relic was placed by the monks and nuns from Fthiotida and elsewhere on a military vehicle and led by the Chancellor of the Metropolis, Archimandrite of the Ecumenical Throne Fr. Ephraim Triantafyllopoulos, the Abbot of the Monastery Archimandrite Fr. Germanos and a number of fathers, to the Nursing Home of the Metropolis, outside of Spercheiada, where the sick from all the institutions of the Metropolis were blessed by the Saint, and then a second stop was held at the Lianokladi Square, at the focal point of the Spercheiada valley, through which the Saint passed every day either going out to minister from the Monastery or returning to it.

A multitude of believers with deep emotion venerated the Sacred Relic of the Saint in the elaborate coffin, where it is now kept.

The Sacred Relic was then brought to the central Park Square of the city of Lamia, accompanied by a military parade of the Material Warfare Training Center, the Municipal Philharmonic, as well as all the Security Forces, where it was welcomed by His Eminence Metropolitan Symeon of Fthiotidos and about 20 Hierarchs of the Church of Greece, together with many clergy, local government officials and a large number of believers, from Lamia and from other parts of our country, who flooded the streets of Lamia, despite the adverse weather conditions.

In Park Square, Metropolitan Symeon addressed the thousands of faithful in attendance with the following words:

"My children, Christ is Risen!

The Risen Lord be with us. I pray that the light of the Resurrection of our Christ will always shine in your soul. And let this light illuminate the steps of all of us, so that we may go higher and higher, until we come close to the throne of God."

With this greeting, which you have just heard, and with these resurrection words, our Venerable Father Bessarion of Agathonos blessed his spiritual children during Holy Pascha. He prayed and prays for all of us.

He lived Christ crucified in his earthly life and he proclaimed Christ is Risen with his sanctified life and with the great miracle of the incorruption of his body.

Saint Bessarion filled his life with the resurrection through fasting, asceticism, humility, philanthropy, forgiveness, discernment, noetic hesychasm, silence, non-judgment, obedience, voluntary poverty, and love for all.

He was filled with resurrection and was given to us by God bathed and flooded with Light and Resurrection.

The great miracle of the last years, of finding its incorruptible body, is the Gospel of the Resurrection visibly, tangibly, fleshed out in the Revered Coffin.

That is why today, with the start of the first official celebration of Saint Bessarion, we first of all express our gratitude to the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, which proposed positively, and to our All-Revered Ecumenical Patriarchate, which competently decided, on the inscription of Saint Bessarion in the list of saints of our Orthodox Church.

We are grateful to His Beatitude the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece, Mr. Hieronymos and the Holy Synod concerning him, and His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch, Mr. Bartholomew and the Holy Synod concerning him, who both did what was necessary, to validate the consciousness of the fullness of our local Church regarding the holiness of Saint Bessarion and to give us the opportunity today, through the intercessions of Saint Bessarion, here from the heart of Roumeli, to let us exclaim with him: "Christ is Risen"!


"Christ is Risen" brethren and fathers!

A three day paschal festival we celebrate today!

On this first Bright day, we decided for the one and only time, that the body of Saint Bessarion should come out of its permanent and lifelong position, from the Sacred Dormition of the Theotokos Monastery of Venerable Agathonos, and process to Lamia, to bless the cathedral of our Metropolis, to bless our people, to bless our children, to bless our homes, our jobs, everything in our lives.

In processing Saint Bessarion today we process and preach Resurrection! Light and Resurrection! Resurrection and Ascension! Resurrection and Life! Resurrection and Forgiveness!

That is why, my brethren, "let us forgive all with the Resurrection"!

Let us all be forgiven today, that is, let us fit into the arms of our grandfather, Saint Bessarion, let us confess all our sins to him and let us be forgiven through his resurrected and miraculous body.

Saint Bessarion, the poor man of God, our own grandfather and elder, comes to us again, in our homes, to bring the peace of Christ into our lives, to call us to repentance and to invite us to a new start.

"Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation!"

So from today we make a new beginning and follow Saint Bessarion "to go higher and higher, until we come close to the throne of God."

Our litany today, which started from the Agathonos Monastery, which passed through our Nursing Home in Spercheiada and then through the crossroads of Lianokladi, and will immediately continue to our Metropolitan Church, I wish and pray, my brothers, that it will not end today.

Let us litany Saint Bessarion everywhere and always! All our lives, in rains and snows, in storms and in blizzards, in clouds and in sunshine, in sorrows and in joys, let us litany his grace "to go higher and higher, until we come close to the throne of God."

Our litany has as a destination the kingdom of God and the horizon of eternity.

We all participate: our Revered Hierarchs, priests and deacons, monks and nuns, our chanters and readers, students of our schools, the young men and women of the Armed Forces and Security Forces, organizations and associations of our city with the philharmonic band of our municipality, our elected rulers, elected and institutional, and together with our blessed people.

And of the litany of our Holy Father Bessarion the Agathonite, the Merciful, the Spiritual Father and the Missionary, there is no end. Amen.


Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 


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