By Fr. Ilias Makos
On April 30, the Church celebrates the memory of Saint Donatus, Bishop of Euria (Thesprotia), a popular, distinguished and wonder-working hierarch. His struggle was neither easy nor short-lived.
He fought hard and long for what he believed in. He passed away of old age in 388.
He was contemplating something great and wonderful: To eradicate weaknesses, passions and vices, and to plant the seed of difficult and great virtues, which demand self-denial and a spirit of sacrifice in order to acquire them.
He succeeded in doing so. That is why he became a wonder-worker and was recognized as a saint very early on.
According to the sources, he participated in the First Council of Constantinople in 381, while his name, while he lived, was associated with many miracles in his eparchy and Constantinople (during the reign of the emperor Theodosius the Great).
But even after his death, there were some testimonies about some miraculous healing in the Church of Santa Maria e San Donato in Venice, where his relic was transferred.
How the relic of Saint Donatus was transferred in Italy? Two centuries after his death (in 604), his relic was in danger, due to the barbarian raids. In order to protect the relic, it was transferred from the temple in Glyki, Paramythia. This temple was situated on the banks of the river Acheron, for which he was responsible for its construction and decoration, and was his resting place. The relic was transferred at the initiative of Bishop Ioannis II of Euria to Corfu and more specifically to the Church of St. Ioannis in the Kassiopi Castle.
In 1125 Domenico Michiel, who was the 35th Doge of Venice, transferred the relic to Venice. After many centuries and long-standing efforts made by the Bishop Titus of Paramythia and dozens of believers, who had set up a committee, a piece of the relic was donated by the Vatican and it was received in September 2000 in Paramythia.
The soul of Saint Donatus was spiritually fueled by the Word of God, the worship, the Sacraments, and the daily experience of the divine will.
He was as a citizen of the heavens. He merged into Divine Love. He went beyond what was considered humanly possible and attained perfection having strong will.
In his course of the life he relied on his close bond with Jesus. And, over time, he sends the message: “Look up and go ahead.”
This is a slogan full of strength and hope. We look up and then we move forward without any fear.
We lift up our eyes and then we will understand how steady our course is on earth.
There are many causes of fear. They are creeping and transforming endlessly. When we look at our fears with the gaze full of fear and lack of faith, they seem to be immense.
However, when we look at them through the light of faith, they pale into insignificance. So let this be an incentive for courage.