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The Holy New Martyr Theophilos of Zakynthos (+1635)

At the age of eighteen, Theophilos from Zakynthos was a sailor who had landed on the island of Chios. A Turkish captain tried to hire him for his ship, but Theophilos was reluctant.

After he was forced to work on the ship, the captain accused Theophilos of wearing the Turkish fez – a sign of conversion to Islam. Theophilos rejected the accusation, but nevertheless the Turks proceeded to circumcise him against his will and were going to take him as a gift to Sultan Murad IV in Constantinople.

Theophilos prayed, and an opportunity arose for escape. He fled, and went for three days without food before managing to escape to the island of Samos.

Theophilos then returned to Chios, where he was recognised by the Turks and brought before the judge. Accused of abandoning Islam, Theophilos said: “I am an Orthodox Christian and I wish to die an Orthodox Christian”.

After three days in prison, with many beatings and floggings administered to Theophilos, he was again asked whether he was Christian. Theophilos stood firm, and was condemned to death by being burned at the stake.

The Saint ran joyfully to his martyrdom, carrying the sticks that would burn him. After freely stepping onto the pyre, the Saint gave his life for Christ on July 24, 1635.

May he intercede for us.

Feast Day: 24th July

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