Hosios Christodoulos

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Hosios Christodoulos

Hosios Christodoulos was born in 1021 in Nikaia, Bithynia. He originally lived there as an ascetic, specifically on Mt. Olympos, and then made a pilgrimage to Rome and the Holy Lands (he stayed in the desert of Palestine). Then he went to Asia Minor, to Mt. Latros near Miletus. There he decided to settle near the other ascetics and live as a monk. Later he became the abbot of the Lavra Monastery.

He was forced to abandon that place because of the Saracen raids. So he took refuge o the coast of Asia Minor at Strovilos here Arsenios Skinouris entrusted to him the administration of his monastery, which was located hear Halicarnassus. But when the Seljuk Turks arrived there he moved opposite to Kos, where he founded, together with the monks who followed him, a monastery in honor of the Mother of God, onPelion hill and specifically at the site designated by Arsenios Skinouris himself.

The attraction that Patmos exercised on Hosios Christodoulos led him at the beginning of 1088 to Constantinople where he reguested the emperor Alexis I Comnenus to let him substitute fertile Kos for Patmos. The emperor refused at first, but he finally agreed after the intercession of his mother Anna. Through a Gold Bull the emperor ceded absolute suzerainty the island to Christodoulos.

Hosios Christodoulos was a resilient ascetic, stern, an experienced doctor, a most devout monk and a dynamic founder of monasteries. He arrived at the island accompanied by many educated monks and having in his possession the gold bull that ceded the island to him, as well as an important library. In August 1088 he founded the monastery that he dedicated to St. John the Divine. The founder of Patmian monasticism obliterated all trace of paganism on the island.

Without having completely finished his work, Hosios Christodoulos was forced yet another time to flee from the island, this time becouse of pirate raids. Thus he settled on Euboea where he died on 16 March 1093. Six days before his death he drew up his will, in which he exhorted the monks to carry on the work he had started on Patmos and to transport his remains to the monastery, and this was done after the cessation of the Turkish raids.

The memory of Hosios Christodoulos is celebrated twice a year on the island. On 16 March (the day of his burial) and 21 October (the day of the removal of his venerable relics)

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