GIROMERI (Village) FILIATES
, , 1228 - 1334
The founder and first possessor of the Monastery was Saint Nilos Erihiotis (1228-1334), who came from Constantinople and was a descendant of the imperial generation of Laskaris. He became a monk at a very young age at the famous Monastery of Akimiton, where he changed his name from Nikolaos to Nilos. Many years later he was a pilgrim at Jerusalem.
Coming back, he contradicted the Emperor Michael Paleologos 8th, over the disputable - at the time - issue of the union of the Eastern and Western Church. He was convicted for his convictions and was abandoned in a boat to be lost at sea. The Holy Providence led him to the coast of Mount Athos, to the Monastery Iviron, where he stayed for three years as a door - keeper.
Returning to Constantinople, he was honoured by the new Emperor, Andronikos Paleologos but he did not stay in the royal city for long. He started a new journey lasting for many years during which he visited many places in the Holy Land and then, passing through the Aegean islands, Peloponnese and Corfu, he arrived at Avlona in Ipiros (Vlore in Albania), where he stayed for some years.
Some years later after an invitation from the residents of Thesprotia, he proceeded southwards to the area of Giromeri and settled in an old hermitage in the cave of a steep rock.
Soon, a small fraternity of hermits were gathered near him. According to legend the hermits spotted a glittering light on the opposite mountain and upon investigation they discovered the icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary Odigitria (the Conductress). It was at this site where the foundations of todays Monastery were built.
On the 2nd January 1334 at the age of 106 years old, Saint Nilos died, after drawing up his will and nominating his successor. His body was interred a short distance from the Monastery and is still there today. Some years after his death, when its removal was attempted, a bulky rock fell and covered the grave, upon divine intervention. Nowadays, there is a small chapel on the grave of Saint Nilos.
METSOVO (Small town) IOANNINA
The two hundred years of constant attack by the Saracens, the Vikings, and the Magyars, bringing in turn the Crusades, the fourth of which in 1204 so weakened the Byzantine Empire that finally in 1453 the Ottoman Turks ran roughshod over a once invincible Christian Empire. Pope Urban II's earnest dram of a unified Christendom died with the Byzantine Empire, but he had the consolation of drawing from the last of the crusades the unity of those who had been converted in prior years. For the next two centuries the only thing that stood between European Christianity and the Ottoman hordes was the weakened Byzantine Empire but for whom the light of Jesus Christ would have been considerably dimmed, if not extinguished.
The brief life story of a humble layman of invincible Christian spirit typifies the character of a small nation whose remarkable religious endurance is surpassed only by their glorious history. This young's man name is known to us as Nicholas the Neomartyr, who was born in the late sixteenth century in Metsov, Epiros, Greece, at a time when more than two centuries of Ottoman oppression had scarred the identity of the Greeks and to some extent their unswerving faith.
When his Christian parents had died, Nicholas found himself removed from his village to be apprenticed as a baker in the employ of a wily Turk who managed to draw the impressionable youth away from Christianity and live as a Muslim. As he grew to manhood, however, he not only abandoned his employer but returned to his home town and to Christianity. In abject penitence he sought out the village priest to whom he confessed his despair in having so shabbily denied the Savior, offering no excuse for his defection but pleading for the Lord's forgiveness. A few hours with the kindly priest, whom he visited daily, brought the young man the conviction that he had been forgiven, and he went about his way with more than enough Christian spirit in his heart to make up for the lost years in Trikkala.
Nicholas turned t woodcutting, a labor in the great outdoors which he much preferred to the baker's oven and which he developed to far greater profit. He was thus engaged when he happened to meet his former employer who began to ply him with questions which Nicholas answered in all honesty. Realizing that he could take advantage of this turn of events, the crafty Turk offered to keep secret the return of Nicholas to Christianity, which was grievous offense to the Muslims, in exchange for a free supply of wood to meet the needs of the baker's ovens. It was a small price to pay for one's live, the woodcutter was advised.
Aside from resenting the blackmailing attempt by his former employer, Nicholas deplored the idea of sharing with his enemy an extorted secret which was little better than disavowing the Messiah all over again. Making no bargain, the young Christian made straight for his parish priest who was so concerned for the safety of the woodcutter that he was advised to run away into obscurity. When Nicholas was further advised that his staying meant sure death, unless under torture he returned to Islam, he stated that if he were put to trial, he would die before he would reject Christ.
The inevitable happened when Nicholas was seized on charges of treason, among other things, and when the atrocities had run their course with no change in the mutilated prisoner's heart, he was put to death by fire on 16 May 1617 when but twenty-six years old. The mortal remains of this loyal servant of the Lord were recovered by a roofer who walled up the relics in a house he was helping to build so there would be no further vilification of his memory.
A man named Melandros bought the house after beholding a shaft of light beaming on the spot wherein the remains of Nicholas lay. Melandros had a brother who was monk at the fabulous Monastery of Barlaam at Meteora to whom he brought the precious remains he dug out of the walled area. Since then many miracles have been attributed to Nicholas of Metsovo, who to this day abides in the spiritual bastion of Barlaam, whose only access is by basket pulled aloft to dizzying heights by hands daily clasped in prayer.
The text cited October 2004 from the URL below
FOTIKI (Ancient city) THESPROTIA
Marcus Diadochus. A short treatise, entitled ton makariou Markou tou Diadochou kata Areianon logos, Beati Marci Diadochi Sermo contra Arianos, was published with a Latin version, by Jo. Rudolph. Wetstenius, subjoined to his edition of Origen, De Oratione, 4to. Basel, 1694, and was reprinted, with a new Latin version, in the Bibliotheca Patrum of Galland, vol. v. p. 242. There has been considerable doubt as to the time and place in which the author lived. Some have identified him, but without reason, with Diadochus, bishop of Photice, in Epeirus Vetus (Photikes tes en tei palaiai Epeiroi episkopos), who wrote a work on the ascetic life which is briefly described by Photius (Bibl. cod. 201), and whom critics, on uncertain ground, assign to the middle of the fifth century. But there is no ground for this identification, as Diadochus of Photice does not appear to have been ever called Marcus. Others suppose Marcus Diadochus to have been one of the two Egyptian bishops of the name of Marcus, who were banished by the Arians during the patriarchate of George of Cappadocia at Alexandria, and who, having been restored in the reign of Julian, were present (A. D. 362) at a synod held at Alexandria, and are named in the heading of the letter of Athanasius, usually cited as Tomus ad Antiochenos. (Comp. Athanas. Apolog. de Fuga sua, c. 7.) Galland suggests that Marcus Diadochus may have been one of two bishops of the name of Marcus, ordained by Alexander, the predecessor of Athanasius, and who were banished by the Arians, one into the Oasis Magna in Upper Egypt, and the other to the Oasis of Ammon (Athanas. Hist. Arianor. ad Monach. c. 72); but we identify these with the two just mentioned. (Falric. Bibl. Graec. vol. ix. p. 266, &c.; Cave, Hist. Litt. ad ann. 356, vol. i. p. 217; Galiand. Bibioth. Putrum. Proleg. ad Vol. V. c. 14.)
This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
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