The Holy Martyr Barbaros
Commemorated on May 6
The Holy Martyr Barbaros, formerly a brigand, lived in Greece and for a long time he committed robberies, extortions and murders. But the Lord, not desiring the death of a sinner, turned him also to repentance. One time, when Barbaros was sitting in a cave and gazing upon the multitude of his stolen possessions, the grace of God touched his heart. He thought about the inevitability of death, and about the Dread Last Judgement to come. Pondering over the multitude of his wicked deeds, he was distressed in his heart and he decided to make a start with his repentance, saying: "The Lord did not despise the prayer of the robber hanging alongside Him, and grant that He spare me through His ineffable mercy". Barbaros left behind in the cave all his treasures and he went to the nearest church. He did not hide his wicked deeds from the priest and he asked to be accepted for repentance. The priest gave him a place in his own home, and Saint Barbaros followed after him, going about on his hands and knees like a four-legged animal, since he considered himself unworthy to be called a man. In the household of the priest he settled himself in amongst the cattle, eating with the animals and considering himself more wicked than any creature. Having received from the priest absolution from his sins, Barbaros went off into the woods and lived there for 12 years bare and without clothing, suffering the cold and heat, and his body became dirty and blackened all over. Finally, Saint Barbaros received news from on high, that his sins were forgiven and that he would die a martyr's death. At the place where Saint Barbaros asceticised one time there came merchants. In the deep grass before them something was moving. Thinking that this was an animal, they let loose several arrows from their bows. Coming closer, they were terrified seeing that they had mortally wounded a man. But Saint Barbaros besought them not to sorrow, he told them about himself, and he asked that they relate what had happened to the priest, at the house of whom he earlier had lived. After this, Saint Barbaros yielded up his spirit to God. The priest, who had accepted the repentance of the former robber, located his body, shining with an Heavenly light. The priest gave burial to the body of Saint Barbaros at the spot where he was killed. Afterwards from the grave of the saint there began to issue forth a curative myrh, which did heal various maladies. His relics are located at the monastery of Kellios in Thessaly, near the city of Larissa.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.