St. Cosmas Equal to Apostles icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Cosmas, Priestmonk of Aitolia, Equal to the Apostles.
Commemorated August 24.
A native of Aitolia Greece, he studied at first under the guidance of the archdeacon Ananias Dervisanos, and afterwards continued his education on Mount Athos, at the Vatopedi school.Remaining on Athos at the Philotheou monastery to devote himself to spiritual labors, he was tonsured a monk with the name Cosmas, and later was ordained hieromonk. The desire to benefit his fellow Christians, to guide them upon the way of salvation and strengthen their faith, impelled St Cosmas to seek the blessing of his spiritual fathers and go to Constantinople.
There he mastered the art of rhetoric and, having received a written permit of Patriarch Seraphim II (and later from his successor Sophronius) to preach the Holy Gospel. So the saint began to proclaim the Gospel at first in the churches of Constantinople and the surrounding villages, then in the Danube regions, in Thessalonica, in Verroia, in Macedonia, Chimaera, Akarnania, Aitolia, on the islands of Saint Maura, Kephalonia and other places. His preaching, filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit, was simple, calm, and gentle. It brought Christians great spiritual benefit.
The Lord Himself assisted him and confirmed his words with signs and miracles, just as He had confirmed the preaching of the Apostles. Preaching in the remote areas of Albania, where Christian piety had almost disappeared among the rough and coarse people entrenched in sin, St Cosmas led them to sincere repentance and improvement with the Word of God. Under his guidance, church schools were opened in the towns and villages.
The rich offered their money for the betterment of the churches, for the purchase of Holy Books (which the saint distributed to the literate), veils (which he gave women, admonishing them to come to church with covered heads),for prayer ropes and crosses (which he distributed to the common folk), and for baptismal fonts so that children could be baptized in the proper manner.
The apostolic service of St Cosmas was brought to a close by his martyric death in the year 1779. At 65 years of age, he was seized by the Turks and strangled. His body was thrown into a river, and after three days, was found by the priest Mark and buried near the village of Kolikontasi at the monastery of the Entrance into the Temple of the Most Holy Theotokos. Afterwards, part of his relics were transferred to various places as a blessing. He was glorified by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1961.