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October 3, 2023

Synaxarion of our Venerable and God-bearing Mother Gabriela the New Ascetic of Love

 March 28

By Haralambos M. Bousias

On this day we commemorate our Venerable and God-bearing Mother Gabriela, the New Ascetic of Love.


You sheltered everyone with the shelter of your love, revered one,
Being seen as one who was covered by God, Gabriela.


Our Holy and God-bearing Mother Gabriela, known as Aurelia Papagiannis, was born in Constantinople on October 2, 1897. Adorned as a child with divine grace, she adorned the Church of Christ with the pearls of love, faith and the emptying of her soul in words and deeds and acts of service towards her neighbor. A nun of the Orthodox Church, she distinguished herself as a spiritual guide of souls towards salvation. A witty and brilliant mind, she willingly helped her neighbors without sparing time and cost. The radiant look of her form testifies to her inner purity and life in Christ. She sanctified Thessaloniki through this utterly pure conduct, where she fled with her family after the exchange of populations, and she attended the philosophical school in Athens, where she worked, and showed the bowels of her compassion in England, where she received the degree of a chiropractor, presenting her service free of charge to everyone like an unmercenary, especially to the Cypriot brethren living there, and confessed her love for her fatherland and genuine Orthodox phronema. When she departed for India, she excelled as a missionary to the nations, tending the blind and lepers and seeking for the lost sheep. She arrived at Bethany of the Holy Land, and she obeyed the venerable one presiding there, and she followed in the footsteps of the old ascetics. In Patmos she received the Small Angelic Schema by our Venerable Father Amphilochios, whose surname is Makris, and then she moved around on missionary journeys, going back to India then to Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland and Austria, in order to finally settle in a house in renowned Athens. There she was given hospitality by our Venerable Father Agathangelos, whose surname is Michaelidos, and she was granted the "House of the Angels", i.e. a student's house for the accommodation of her inexhaustible love. When she came to Aegina, she occupied the Hesychasterion of the Holy Protection near the Monastery of Saint Nektarios, where she was seen as a wellspring of offerings and a compass to the faithful towards salvation. Finally, after she was attacked by cancer and divine intervention cured her, she ended up on the island of Leros, where after having lived in God-loving and venerable asceticism, she surrendered her soul to the hands of the living God on March 28th, in the year of salvation 1992.

Through her holy intercessions, Christ God, have mercy and save us. Amen.

Apolytikion in Plagal of the Fifth Tone
Now the worker of love the revered ascetic Gabriela, who is our aid in misfortune and succor in mortal hardship, the missionary of Christ, let us be wakeful in offering her impressionable hymns, that she may entreat the Creator on our behalf who bless her.

Kontakion in Plagal of the Fourth Tone

Fervent love joined with humility, you lived in the world but lived outside the world, praying and offering herself as a sacrifice to Christ, to her we ardently sing hymns, the divinely luminous Gabriela, the ascetic, crying out with longing: Rejoice, mother inspired by God.

A bright lamp and ray of missionaries, a new boast of ascetics, for your fiery love towards your neighbor, we cry out to you with longing, Gabriela.
Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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