Icon of St. Cosmas of Aitoleia (Philotheou) – S282


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St. Cosmas was born in Aitoleia, Greece, in a.d. 1714, and was the son of a weaver and his devout wife.  Attending a school on Mount Athos, he later became a monk at Philotheou Monastery on the Holy Mountain, and then a priest-monk.  After 18 years living the ascetic life, he was moved by his desire to go out to teach the many unchurched people who had been spiritually devastated by the centuries of Moslem rule.  He asked for a blessing to go out and teach them spiritual life and their spiritual heritage.

Blessed by his abbot, and then by the Patriarch in Constantinople to freely do so, he began to travel all over Greece and its islands and through Albania, preaching and bringing many back to the Orthodox Faith.  For over 25 years, he taught everyone the use of the Jesus Prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me,” and established over 200 schools to educate all in the Greek language and their Orthodox traditions.  Finally, St. Cosmas was accused of conspiracy by the Moslems, and was martyred by hanging in a.d. 1179 in Albania.  He is called “Equal to the Apostles” and had the clear gift of prophesy, seeing much that would come later.