Metropolis of Detroit Philoptochos Saint Spyridon Fund
Saint Spyridon Fund
Offering in honor of St Spyridon Feast Day, December 12, for the support of the Metropolis of Detroit's ministries.
Saint Spyridon, Bishop of Trimythous lived c. 270 – 348, and is a saint honoured in both the Eastern and Western Christian traditions. His feast day is celebrated on 12 December, which is also the name day of all those called Spyros, Spyridoula, Ross, Don and other derivatives of the name.
Spyridon was born in Askeia, in Cyprus. He worked as a shepherd and was known for his great piety. He married and had one daughter, Irene. Upon the death of his wife, Spyridon entered a monastery, and their daughter, a convent.
Spyridon eventually became Bishop of Trimythous, or Tremithous (today called Tremetousia), in the district of Larnaca. He took part in the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea (325), where he was instrumental in countering the theological arguments of Arius and his followers.
He reportedly converted a pagan philosopher to Christianity by using a potsherd to illustrate how one single entity (a piece of pottery) could be composed of three unique entities (fire, water and clay); a metaphor for the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.
As soon as Spyridon finished speaking, the shard is said to have miraculously burst into flame, water dripped on the ground, and only dust remained in his hand (other accounts of this event say that it was a brick he held in his hand).
After the council, Saint Spyridon returned to his diocese in Tremithous. He later fell into disfavor during the persecutions of the emperor Maximinus, but died peacefully in old age.
Spyridon was popular in Byzantine literature. A poem, now lost, was dedicated to him by his pupil Triphyllios. It inspired two 7th-century vitae, one by Theodore of Paphos (c. 655) and another possibly by Leontios of Neapolis. The former was used by Simeon Metaphrastes. Arabic and Georgian hagiographies also survive.
When the Arabs took Cyprus, Spyridon’s body was disinterred and taken to Constantinople. The relics were found to be incorrupt, and contained a sprig of basil, the “royal plant,” both of which were taken as a sign of divine confirmation of his sanctity.
When, in 1453, Constantinople fell to the Ottomans, Spyridon’s relics were removed again; this time, to the island of Corfu by a Corfiote monk called Kalohairetis (Καλοχαιρέτης), where they remain to this day, in Saint Spyridon Church.
The relics are taken in procession every Palm Sunday and on other special occasions, for veneration by the faithful. All Philharmonics of Corfu, including the Philharmonic Society of Corfu take part in these ceremonial events. The relic of his right hand was located in Rome in the Church of Santa Maria in Vallicella, to which it was given by Pope Clement VIII to Cardinal Cesare of Baronio of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri. There it remained until 1986 when the right arm of Saint Spyridon was brought back to Kerkyra.
Spyridon is the patron saint of potters (from the miracle of the potsherd) and the island of Corfu where he is called: “Αγιος Σπυρίδων ο πολιούχος”, “Saint Spyridon, the Keeper of the City” for the miracle of expelling the plague (πανούκλη) from the island.