The Orthodox Church commemorates today Saint Filothei of Athens, who was born in Athens in 1522.
Her parents had no children, but after fervent prayer, her mother gave birth to a daughter. Saint Filothei’s parents raised their daughter with great piety and Christian devoutness. Thus, Rigoula or Revoula, which was the shortened form of her birth name, progressed in spiritual matters. At the age of 14, she was married, against her will, to one of the nobles of Athens. Later, after the death of her parents and her husband, she was wholeheartedly devoted to Christ, became a nun, and received the name “Filothei.”
Initially, she built a women’s monastery, which was dedicated to St. Andrew. This monastery was preserved in Athens for many years after the saint’s passing away.
Many young women follow her example, that is, to dedicate herself to Christ. Within a short time, the convent housed two hundred sisters. There all those suffering from slavery found refuge, the sick found healing, the hungry found food, the elderly found support and the orphan found affection.
Despite the Turks’ reactions, Saint Filothei continues her charity work by building various foundations, hospices, and orphanages. She teaches with her words and her life. She is particularly interested in saving young Greek women from converting to Islam. Her work, national and religious, went beyond the bounds of Athens and became known throughout Greece.
All the action of Saint Filothei angered the Turks. They arrested her and she boldly confessed her faith in Christ as the true God and the perfect human being. In the end, with God’s help, she was liberated.
She returned to her monastery. The Turks tried in vain to halt her action. On October 2, 1588, they went to the monastery he had built in Patisia, broke into the temple, brutally beaten her, and left her half-dead outside her monastery.
Outside the temple, the pillar where Saint Filothei was tied and whipped still survives. The nuns carried her to Kalogreza. She fell asleep in the Lord on February 19, 1589, and received the crown of martyrdom. Her sacred relic is interred in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens.
Source: Church of Cyprus