● Memorial Day Orthodox/Catholic: December 12
● Name means: Thaumaturgos: the miracle worker (Greek)
● Bishop of Trimythous
● Patron: of Corfu; in financial distress; of shepherds and honest merchants; the orphans;
the herds of sheep and goats, seafaring
● Born in Askia, Cyprus
● Died on December 12, 348 in Trimithon/Trimythunt, today Trimithousa, Cyprus
Saint Spyridon lived on the island of Cyprus at the beginning of the 4th century and peacefully
practiced the humble profession of shepherd. He had neither great education nor fine manners,
but none equaled him in charity, gentleness, generosity to the poor, hospitality, and the practice
of all virtues. Like the patriarch Abraham, he assiduously received every person who knocked at
his door and treated everyone as if he were Christ himself. There was not a poor person who did
not find help in him. He put his money in a box which he left open to everyone at all times. He
did not care whether it was full or empty, whether those who drew from it were worthy or not.
He lived a modest and godly life in marriage and received a daughter, Irene, from God.
When his wife died a few years later and Spyridon was thus relieved of all earthly ties, he
focused his interest only on advancing in the godly life. Ever richer in the everlasting gifts of
grace, he inadvertently gained a great reputation on the island. When the bishop of the small
town of Trimythous near Salamina died, the faithful unanimously chose him as his successor.
Having become shepherd of Christ’s spiritual flock, the humble Spyridon lived on as before.
Despite his dignity, he continued to wear his poor shepherd’s tunic and cap, always walked,
helped in the fields, and continued to tend his flock. One night thieves broke into his sheepfold
to steal some sheep, but as they tried to make off with their loot, an invisible force held them
pinned to the spot. When Spyridon discovered them early in the morning, they confessed their
misdeeds ashamed. Moved by pity, the saint freed them from their invisible bonds and
exhorted them to henceforth earn their bread honestly. Then he gave them two sheep as
compensation, as he said with a smile, for the nuisance of staying up all night.
Like Christ the Good Shepherd, he was always ready to lay down his life for his spiritual sheep.
Through his kindness, humility, and simplicity, he gained such favor with God that He allowed
him to work miracles for the salvation and consolation of His Church. He caused rain to fall
when a severe drought struck Cyprus, and when certain wealthy people took advantage of the
grain shortage to sell their stores at extortionate prices, he brought down their storehouses by
his prayer and distributed the stores to the needy. Like Moses in the desert, he turned a serpent
into gold to help a poor man. After the gold had served its purpose, he turned it back into the
serpent lest it become an occasion for covetousness. One day, while on his way to rescue a man
sentenced to death, he stopped a flooding river that was blocking his path and crossed to the
other bank without getting his feet wet. Even death could not resist him. At the plea of a poor
heathen he woke up her child, whom she had laid dead at his feet, and when his daughter Irene
died, without having found time, told a person who had entrusted her property with the place
where she was had hidden it, the saint bent over her grave and questioned her, whereupon the
dead woman immediately gave the requested information. Although God granted him such
great miracles, St. Spyridon fails to ask for the awakening of his beloved daughter for himself.
His holiness shone so brightly that it shone like lightning to the hidden depths of the human
conscience and moved sinners to confess their trespasses and repent to righteous living. Like
the sinner of the gospel, one day a woman threw herself at the feet of the man of God, who had
fixed his merciful gaze on her, and confessed her sins to him. As if Christ himself were speaking
through him, he lifted them up and said: Your sins are forgiven. (Luke 7:48). Then he let them go
in peace and rejoiced like the Good Shepherd who found his lost sheep and called his friends
together: Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost (Luke 15:6).
Ignorant of the shadows of human knowledge, the Bishop of Trimythoús possessed a deep
knowledge of the Sacred Scriptures, with which he once corrected a conceited hierarch who
found the words of the Gospel sounding too ordinary, so he altered them to emphasize his
oratory. When Emperor Constantine the Great summoned the 1st Holy Ecumenical Council to
Nicaea in 325 to condemn the heresy of the godless Aris, Spyridon also went in his simple
shepherd’s robe to this noble assembly of the most respected churchmen of his time. During
the debate, the orthodox were challenged by a haughty Arian philosopher who used subtle
arguments to question the very nature of the Holy Trinity. Then, to everyone’s surprise, the
humble shepherd of Cyprus stepped forward and silenced the sophist by divinely miraculously
causing fire, water, and earth to emanate from a brick, thus demonstrating the unity of a trinity
and the trinity of a unity. The philosopher acknowledged his error, converted to the orthodox
faith and also called on the other disciples of Aris to leave the deceptive ways of human wisdom
and discover in the Church the source of the Living Waters and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Constantine’s successor, his son Constantius, who inherited the eastern half of the empire,
sympathized with the Arians. During a stay in Antioch he became seriously ill and the doctors
gave up all hope. After a vision of the emperor, Saint Spyridon was summoned to his camp. He
came with his disciple, Saint Triphyllios (12 June), healed the ruler immediately of the physical
illness and admonished him to heal his soul through loyalty to orthodox dogma and leniency
towards his subjects. Richly gifted by the emperor, the saint returned to Cyprus and distributed
all this wealth to the poor.
In his anticipation of eternal good, Saint Spyridon was so exalted above earthly things that he
celebrated the Divine Liturgy as if he were already before God’s throne, surrounded by the
angels and the saints. One day when he was celebrating in a deserted country church and
turned to the absent people with the words: “Peace to all”, his disciple heard the voice of a
large crowd of angels who answered: “And your spirit”. She accompanied the liturgy until the
end with her heavenly songs.
After a long life under the constant inspiration of the Holy Spirit, on December 12, 348, at the
age of 78, Saint Spyridon surrendered his soul in peace into God’s hands. His precious relic has
remained intact to this day. In the 7th century she was taken to Constantinople and in 1456,
after the Turkish occupation of the city queen, to Kerkyra (Corfu), where she continues to work
countless miracles, which is why Saint Spyridon is venerated as the island’s first patron saint . In
1716 he saved it from the besieging Turks by his miraculous appearance from heaven.