Saint Dionysios of Zakynthos the Bishop of Aegina
Commemorated on December 17 (his repose) and August 24 (the transfer of his Relics)
”God is Wonderful in His Saints”
The Saint who Lied to Save his Brother’s Murderer.
He was once out with fishermen and they were not catching anything. At first they blamed Dionysios (Dennis) and his companion for jinxing the trip. Like Jesus, he then said ‘cast your nets over there’. At first they were sceptical, because they never caught anything in that area. But they tried then they caught so many fish , far exceeding their EU Quota.
Another time he was travelling through the hills and it started to rain very heavily. But neither he or his companion got wet! The normally dried up streams, became full with water, and they reached a point where they could not cross. St Dennis inspired by Moses help up his arms and the water separated so the could cross safely.
During the period which the Saint lived as a Monk in the Monastery of Anafonitria, he had to go to Zakynthos city, with Daniel deacon.He replied, “Most-holy Despota, [Master: the traditional Orthodox greeting for a bishop] it looks like it is going to rain.” The Saint told him, “Let’s go to the glory of God, and don’t be an obstacle.” And after they had not gone too far from the monastery, it began to rain. The deacon said, “My Despota, didn’t I tell you it would rain? It’s better to turn back, because it is raining a lot and over-flowing.” But this man of God told him “Let’s go forward and nothing will happen to us.” And as the time passed, the rain increased even more. But O Your wonders O Lord! With all of the incredible rain, neither the archpriest’s nor the deacon’s clothes got soaked. And reaching a roaring river, over which they had to cross, and seeing it increased because of the rain that day, the deacon said to the Saint in wonder “and how, my Despota, will we now pass over this river?” Then the Saint with boldness replied, “Follow me in the name of Jesus Christ, and don’t hesitate at all.” The deacon therefore followed in obedience, and going forth from there [O paradoxical marvel] the current of the river stopped, raised up in one and another place, until the two passed over without their feet in any way touching rock. Then, the Saint seeing his deacon amazed by these incredible wonders, told him not to reveal this to anyone while the Saint lived. After the Saint’s death he revealed this clearly to the glory of God.
Not only are the saint’s relics incorrupt, but he is also one of Greece’s “walking saints” (St Gerasimus and St Spyridon are the others). He is said to leave his reliquary and walk about performing miracles for those who seek his aid. In fact, the soles of his slippers wear out and must be replaced with a new pair from time to time. The old slippers are cut up, and the pieces are distributed to pilgims. On August 24, we celebrate the Transfer of his Holy Relics.
Opening his reliquary is often found impossible. It appears as though this occurs when Dionysios is out performing miracles. Afterwards, when the reliquary can be opened, and seaweed is found at his feet and his slippers are found to be worn thin. In fact, his slippers need continual replacement because they receive so much wear! He is often seen alive and walking.
Apolytikion of St. Dionysios of Zakynthos in the First Tone
The offspring of Zakynthos and bishop of Aegina, protector of Strophades Monastery, Saint Dionysios, O faithful, let us all with one accord now honor and sincerely cry to him: “By your fervant prayers save us who are observing your mem’ry and who cry to you: Glory to Christ who glorified you; glory to Him who made you marvelous; glory to Him who gave you to us as a sleepless advocate.
O most-honored Father and Archpriest of Christ Dionysios, to you we bend our nous and heart, and entreat you with reverence and with deep humility, accept the supplications and hymns which we offer to you, though they come from unworthy lips. Become a protector towards God, and most-fervent advocate, to all those who with unshakeable faith flee unto your sure support, and who celebrate with longing your all-festal memory.