Saint Spyridon Saint Spyridon was born on Cyprus. He married early. Like his parents, he was was a shepherd, and he led a very pious life of fasting, prayer and hospitality. His wife died early on, and St. Spyridon devoted even more of his time to God; for that, he received the gift of healing and banishing demons from men. For his many acts of goodness, he was elected a bishop, and he continued working great wonders from the episcopal throne. On one occasion, there was a horrible drought all over the island, and by his prayer, the saint caused a massive rainfall that brought the abundance of the fruits of the earth. Later on, on account of multitude of sins, the drought struck again. This caused great joy to everyone who has piled up food, for they could sell their wares at higher prices. One of the merchants didn’t even open up his stores, but has waited for the drought to press even more so he could obtain even more money. One of the people struck with hunger came to St. Sypridon to complain about the merchant, saying that he refused to sell him any wheat. The saint comforted him, saying that, soon, he will be filled with wheat and that the merchant will become hungry. That night, there was a horrible thunderstorm, and the resulting flash floods destroyed the merchant’s granaries. He called out to people to collect his wheat, so he wouldn’t go bankrupt, but all the people did was gather up the wheat and take it home. Seeing upon himself the clear punishment of God, he came to the poor man’s house and told him to gather as much as wheat as he wanted from the flooded granaries. However, the rich merchant did not get cured of his avarice. After the flood cleared, a farmer that was known to the saint came to the merchant, asking for some wheat; he refused to sell any, on account that he had no gold on himself. The farmer went to St. Spyridon, who gave him a gold nugget, which he was supposed to pawn to the merchant and return it to the saint once the drought was over. The farmer did as commanded, recieving wheat in exchange for the nugget. Once the drought has ended, the farmer bought the nugget back from the merchant and brought it to St. Spyridon. The saint then took the farmer to a field in order, as he said, “to return gold to the One who gave it” – and lo and behold, like the staff of Moses, the gold nugget turned into a snake that fled in grass. Once, a certain man on the island was unjustly convicted to death. The saint immediately set out to save the man, but he and his entourage were prevented by a flooding stream. With a prayer to Christ our God, the saint and everyone with him were able to walk over water. The news of this miracle quickly reached the judge, who immediately set the innocent man free. Saint Spyridon was in attendance during the First Ecumenical Council, where the heresy of Arius was condemned. There, despite being unlearned, Saint Spyridon put many Arian philosophers to shame, who later testified that, despite their learning in rhetorics they couldn’t outsmart a simple shepherd. During one such debate, in order to portray the Trinity, St. Spyirdon took a brick and pressed it with his hand – immediatelly, out of the brick there came out water, fire and clay, which the saint used as symbols of how three can be one. A certain visitor visited the saint during Lent. On the island, at the time, was a custom to eat all manner of food after the sunset; however, the saint followed Lent even more strictly, and he would only eat on certain days. Seeing that his guest is tired, he saint searched the house and saw that he has no flour, so he immediately boiled a ham for him. The guest didn’t want to eat the ham, saying that he’s a Christian, but the saint rebuked him, saying that we ought not to refuse food offered by our hosts and that everything’s pure to the pure. The saint had one daughter, Irine. She was such a kind soul that she was made worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven. She died rather young. Soon, a certain woman came weeping to Saint Spyridon, saying that she gave some jewelry to Irene while she was still alive. The saint searched his house to no avail. He went to her grave, praying fervently to God. Suddenly, Irene appeared to her father, and told him where she hid the jewels. He bade her to sleep until the general resurrection of the dead, and the woman’s jewels were restored to her. At one point, St. Spyridon went to visit emperor Constans, to whom St. Spyridon was revealed in a vision as the only man who could heal him from a certain illness. As St. Spyrodon was about to enter the palace, a guard thought him, on account of his haggard clothing, to be a mere beggar, and he slapped him. The saint immediately turned the other cheek, and the guard realized that he’s dealing with a bishop, immediately asking for Spyridon’s forgiveness. After restoring the emperor to life, a certain pagan woman came to the saint, carrying her dead son in her arms. The saint asked his deacon what to do, to which the deacon said: “Are you not going to invoke Christ, the Giver of Life?” The saint did, and the child rose from the dead. His mother, completely out of herself with joy, fell dead to the ground and saint, upon hearing the same advice from his deacon, resurrected her as well. Once, a certain merchant bought 100 goats from St. Spyridon; however, he paid for 99, thinking that the saint, in his meekness, wouldn’t notice. As he was leading the goats away, one got particularly stubborn and didn’t want to move. Try as he might, the merchant couldn’t make the goat go with him, at which the saint asked him if he paid for the price in full. Seeing that he’s caught in his sin, the merchant prayed for and received forgiveness. There’s one more miracle involving the saint’s flock. Some brigands came by night and attempted to steal some cattle, but they all got paralyzed with unseen power. That was how they were caught red handed by the saint in the morning. Promising to repent, the saint prayed for their release, and they went on their way, receiving a sheep from Saint Spyridon, “as a reward for spending a sleepless night,” as he joked. At one time, the saint visited a certain village church with his deacon. Being tired, he ordered the deacon to sing a short prayer. The deacon, having a magnificent voice, started to drag the prayer on and on. This so annoyed the saint that he told him to shut up, and immediately the deacon became mute. His family begged the saint to absolve him, which the saint did – but now, instead of his magnificent voice, he stuttered, for the Lord saw fit to take away from him the source of his pride. At one time, he came to a village church and began vespers service with only the clergy present. He blessed the empty church, saying: “Peace be unto you,” and immediately, an unearthly, invisible choir responded: “And with your spirit.” This fleshless choir kept responding to his prayers, and its majestic singing started to draw villagers to the church, but upon entering, they were struck with fear, for there they saw only St. Spyridon with a couple of priests. A neighbor of the saint kept asking him to pray for her husband, as he was a pagan. That pagan was eating at the saints house, and during the meal, the bishop told one of his servants the following: “There is a messenger that is about to inform me that my whole flock got lost and devoured by wolves; tell him that soon another messenger will arrive, telling me that the flock’s been found and that not a single animal was harmed.” All soon occurred as the bishop predicted. The pagan was certain that Saint Spyridon was a god, and, like pagans with the apostles, wanted to offer him sacrifice. Corrected by the saint and taught by his wife, the pagan man soon recieved Baptism. The saint was completely careless as regards to money. He had an arrangement with a certain merchant that was as follows: the merchant could take as much money as he wanted from the church donation box to use for his business, but he had to return the money upon his return from the voyage. That went on many years, but, overcome with greed, the merchant did not return the gold upon return one time. Come next voyage, and all his business endeavors fail. When he returned to Cyprus, he went to the saint to beg for alms, and St. Spyridon told him to fetch gold from the donation box. The poor man opened it and, sadly, it was empty, for he failed to return the money as usual. He returned to the saint, and St. Spyridon told him: “Why, dear brother, no other hand opened up that box but yours; if you failed to restore what you owed, that is the sole reason why it’s empty.” He too felt ashamed of his sin, and has repented of it. St. Spyridon died 350 AD during prayer. He has achieved the absolute heights of sanctity, despite being a bishop. His relics are now found in Corfu, and the saint himself has shown numerous miracles after death, including saving the island from a siege, driving Ottomans back with fear as he approached them with a glistening sword in his right hand, as he hovered above the waters.