By Bishop Grigorios of Mesaoria
Our Holy Church today honors the memory of the Hieromartyr Patrick, Bishop of Prusa, Central Asia, who martyred during the time of Emperor Diocletian.
In particular, the Church of Cyprus today honors the memory of the thirteen monks of the Monastery of Panagia Kantariotissa, or Our Lady of Kantara, who martyred in the year 1231 AD. during the period of the occupation of Cyprus by Frank Latins.
The 13 monks, John, who was also the abbot, Conon, Jeremiah, Mark, Theoctistus, Cyril, Barnabas, Maximus, Joseph, Theognostus, Germanus, Gennadius and Gerasimus were distinguished for their incomparably monastic life and their constant practice to acquire the virtues that decorate authentic man. At the same time, equipped with the gifts of the virtuous life, they strongly resisted the deceitful attempts of Liturgical Latinisation of the Orthodox Cypriots by the Latin Church. They publicly condemned the use of unleavened bread in the Eucharist, a practice that the Latins tried to introduce in Cyprus, as they did in other Christian communities, something that still happens today, using the method of Unia, namely, the method of the Trojan Horse of the Byzantine Catholics among purely Orthodox Christian populations.
For their resistance and the preservation of the Orthodox Doctrine and Tradition, the thirteen monks of Kantara were arrested and taken to prison, where they remained for three years and where the monk Theognostus, one of the thirteen monks, died.
After horrific torture, they were tied up behind horses, dragged along the riverbed of Pedieos river and eventually thrown into the fire, for they remained faithful to the resurrected Jesus Christ and to our Holy Orthodox Church.
The martyrs of the Pentadaktylos mountain (Kyrenia Mountain), and in specifically of the Kantara peak, are a jewel for our ecclesiastical history and a pride for the Apostolic Church of Cyprus. The place of their asceticism remains silent and under Turkish occupation, waiting for the hour of Resurrection and freedom. We owe a great deal of the preservation of our Orthodox ecclesiastical Tradition to them and to all the maryrs of the Faith.
Today, Panagia Kantariotissa on Pentadaktylos and the Church of the 13 Holy Monks of Kantara, next to the Pedieos River, the place of their martyrdom, in the parish of Ayioi Omoloyites (Holy Confessors) of Nicosia, celebrate.
Source: Church of Cyprus