The Equal-to-the-Apostles Priest-Martyr  Kosma

Commemorated on August 4 and 24

      The 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 MostHoly Mother of God. Afterwards part of his relics were transferred for blessing at various places.

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.