Saint Ignatios Agallianos, Metropolitan of Mithymna, the Wonderworker (+ 1566)

St. Ignatios the Wonderworker (Feast Day – October 14)

Saint Ignatios, who before becoming a monk was known as John Agallianos, was one of the most important figures in 16th century Lesvos. Information about his life is not entirely clear. It seems, however, that he was born around 1480 in the village of Farangas in Kalloni.

The child of a priest, he also served the village as the village priest. From a young age he desired to live a monastic life, but he obeyed the will of his father and married a pious woman named Maria prior to his ordination. Having raised children, he also occupied himself with copying manuscripts. Shortly after his wife and children died during an epidemic, except one child whose name was Methodios (we know his name because he became a monk in the Monastery of Leimonos), he decided to live as an ascetic.

A short distance from his village of Farangas was a ruined church, which according to tradition was the central church of the Monastery of the Panagia of Myrsini, according to a patriarchal document of 1331. He rebuilt this church, which was owned by his family, and settled there with his elderly father Manuel and his son Methodios. They built new building and founded a small monastery.

This monastery attracted many monastic loving Christians, both male and female, so Saint Ignatios decided to establish his small monastery as the Monastery of the Panagia Myrsiniotissa where female could settle, and he installed his monks elsewhere, where there was a church dedicated to the Archangel Michael, on land that also belonged to the Agallianos family. This is where the Monastery of Leimonos was established in 1526, with the Saint as its first abbot.

In the Monastery of Leimonos, Saint Ignatios founded a school, and many of these students later went on to make their contribution to keeping alive the culture of Christian Greece amid the darkness of ignorance that surrounded them.

In March of 1530 Saint Ignatios wrote his Testament, which survives in two manuscripts of his monastery. This Testament, with three subsequent letters addressed to the abbess and nuns of Panagia Myrsiniotissa, became the Typikon, or Rule, under which his two monasteries that he founded operated.

Shortly after drafting his Testament, the Saint traveled to Constantinople. While there Metropolitan Makarios of Mithymna departed this life, and the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate elected his as his successor in 1531. He served as Metropolitan for 35 years, successfully shepherding his flock in peace, and departed to the Lord on the 14th of October in 1566.

His miracle-working relics are venerated at the Monastery of Panagia Myrsiniotissa, where his episcopal see had been transferred.

Apolytikion in the First Tone

The shepherd of Mithmyna, Ignatios we praise, who with all the saints is glorified in his wonders, let us the faithful continuously laud, in accordance with this his feast, and as one who is great you look down upon us, healing our passions we cry out: Glory to Him Who glorified you, glory to Him Who crowned you, glory to Him Who works through you all manner of wonders.

Monastery of Panagia Myrsiniotissa

Monastery of Leimonos

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