Saint Spyridon,patron saint of Corfu: his life and miracles

今天,December 12,希腊东正教纪念并尊敬圣斯皮里登。In Corfu,it is a special day of joyous celebration,seeing that St Spyridon is the patron saint of the island.你可能知道,Greeks don't just have birthdays;they also celebrate their name days with parties,offering sweets and receiving gifts.If I tell you that every Corfiot family has at least one member called Spyridon (Spyros) or Spyridoula (Loula),you can imagine how much partying goes on around the island on December 12!!

My family always had my granddad,,斯皮罗斯·瓦西拉基斯,to honor on this day,and so,对我来说,这总是一个特别的日子,and even more so now that Granddad has passed away.我想今年我会写一篇关于圣斯皮里登的博客,分享一些关于他的名字的事实和传说…

Who is St Spyridon??

SPYRIDON

St Spyridon was born circa 270 A.C.in Askeia,Cyprus.He was a pious man and a shepherd.When his wife died,he entered a monastery and,晚年,became Bishop of Trimythous.公元348年,他安详地晚年去世。It doesn't sound like much,I know,but what if I tell you about the miracles performed by this legendary  man,both when he was alive and centuries after his death?在他的生活中,he performed many miracles and even brought people back from the dead with the fervor of his prayers!!

St Spyridon was present in the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea (325 A.C.) where he took an active role.据说他把一个异教徒哲学家变成了一个基督徒,据传说,he performed a miracle in the process.和这个人说话的时候,he took hold of a potshard to make a point that one thing can be three things at the same time (like The Holy Trinity can be Father,Son and the Holy Ghost).当他拿着碎布时,it is said that it burst into a flame,water dripping down his hand.It is said that all that was left from the shard of pottery in his hand was dust (while others say he held a brick).这是因为特殊的帐户,圣斯皮里登被视为守护神波特(以及科尔夫)。

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这个故事只是证明这个虔诚的人神圣的众多故事中的一个;some of them date from when the saint was still alive and others began whole centuries after his death.

For example,当阿拉伯人占领塞浦路斯(公元前648年)时,St Spyridon's remains were disinterred with the purpose of taking the sacred bones to Constantinople.However,to their surprise,the Cypriots saw that the relic was intact,坟墓里散发出一股罗勒的香味。They took this as a sign of St Spyridon's sanctity.这件文物被带到君士坦丁堡,当土耳其人在1453年占领这座城市时,a Corfiot monk called Kaloheraitis took the relic to Corfu and that is where it is still held today,in St Spyridon church.

科菲奥特人崇拜他们的圣人,and that is no surprise,他多次拯救了他们的岛屿和人民。For example,when a plague swept through the village of Marathias in the 1600s,it is believed that St Spyridon was sighted there and performed a miracle to drive out the plague.There is a big mark like a cross on the ancient walls of the Old Venetian Fortress and,legend has it,那场瘟疫使这个标记是出于对被迫离开这个岛的怨恨。The locals know where this mark is and point it out to tourists,although nowadays it's not as clearly visible.

另一个与瘟疫有关的传说是,圣斯皮里登在空中被人看见时穿着僧侣的服装。He was chasing the plague that looked like a cross between a lion and a monkey with bat-like wings.圣人用十字架打她,把她赶走了。When they reached the Old Fortress (Capo Sidero),St Spyridon made the plague scratch the sign of the cross on the wall and swear she'd never return.

The Old Venetian Fortress in Corfu Town that is said to carry the mark the plague made on its way out of the island…

这个奇迹是为了纪念on Palm Sunday.The church procession stops in Corfu Town on high ground,faces the south towards Marathias and sends a blessing as a thank you to the saint.

这是有瘟疫痕迹的堡垒的侧面…

I asked Gran Antigoni about it the other day;她说,从穆拉吉亚一侧的十字架下面的墙上可以看到这个标记(穆拉吉亚是一条风景如画的沿海道路,两边是古老的威尼斯建筑,通向旧港口)。格兰说的另一个有趣的说法是,瘟疫只杀死了马拉西亚村的一个人。In time,他和许多不同的女人生了孩子,spreading his name across the village over the generations.她记不起这个名字,但她说马拉西亚的许多人至今仍保留着这个人的姓氏。

More annually celebrated miracles of St Spyridon:

During the second siege of Corfu by the Turkish fleet in July 1716,土耳其人设法占领了岛上的几个要塞,包括曼都基和加里萨。当时,the island was under Venetian rule and fights between the rulers and the invaders went on for a month while the Corfiots prayed to their saint to save them from the Ottomans.On August 9,a terrible storm (highly unlikely in the Greek midsummer!) destroyed a great part of the Turkish fleet while several Muslims reported that they saw St Spyridon in the form of a monk rush out of his church,手里拿着手电筒,威胁他们。这种目光,伴随着仲夏的反常风暴和对舰队的破坏,引起了土耳其人的恐慌。It spread up the ranks and finally resulted in them leaving the island two days later.

This miracle is commemorated annuallyon August the 11th.A grand procession takes place in Corfu town and at night brass bands play music in Spianada square by Liston.All over the island,several varkarola (boat processions) take place too,伴随着烟花和歌声,当地人在很多情况下都会招待游客吃油炸沙丁鱼。古卡斯特里萨和彼得雷提是每年组织瓦卡罗拉的两个地方。

在另一个场合,据说圣斯皮里登岛是从饥荒中拯救出来的。怎么用?他制造了一场风暴,导致三艘意大利船只装满了一船小麦,改变航向,来到科尔夫自救。The precious cargo saved the people of Corfu from starvation and everyone knew it was a miracle because the men on board reported they saw a monk in a vision speaking in a booming voice,敦促他们在科尔夫抛锚。This miracle is commemorated annually,again around Easter,this oneon Holy Saturday– perhaps the  most greatly sought after day for a Corfu holiday because of the pot-breaking custom that follows the procession.

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这就是圣斯皮里登传说的终点。

The following are actual events that happened without a doubt,在我有生之年,and which were relayed to me.They are well-known all over the island:

The steeple of St Spyridon Church in Corfu town

  • A man was working on the top of the steeple of St Spyridon church once… He lost his balance and fell to the ground but stood back up,unscathed.I've heard this so many times that every time I look at the steeple I can almost see that poor man fall and I cringe 😀
  • Corfu airport is situated very near the sea.As the planes approach to land,如果你往窗外看,it almost feels like you're about to land on water – it's那个靠近跑道。Back in the 80s,this was out in the papers: a plane was having a hard time landing on Corfu airport (weather or technical trouble,cannot remember) and it was so scary and such a near miss that when the passengers landed safely they headed straight to St Spyridon church to light a candle and thank the saint for saving them.It was also reported that when they next opened his casket in the church,they found seaweed inside…
stspyridoncasket

This is the private place in the church where people are periodically allowed to come in and pay their respects to the saint.Most of the time you leave a kiss on the casket,but I've actually kissed his velvet slippers many times too – a rare occasion where the priests actually open the casket and let you get that close to the saint!!

  • 一个不能走路的小女孩被带到圣斯皮里登教堂参加弥撒。她父母把她从远方带过来,hoping for a miracle.All of a sudden,那女孩恍惚地站着,开始走路。Her parents were overjoyed and after their excitement had subsided they asked their girl what had happened.She said a monk had come to her in the church and asked her to stand up and walk…
  • Back in the 40s,Corfu town was bombarded numerous times by German planes.我祖母安提戈尼那时还是个十几岁的孩子,and she and her loved ones ran to St Spyridon church for protection one fateful morning.It was daytime.Gran said to me the Germans used to drop bombs in the day and fire at night… That morning,as the bombs dropped,教堂里挤满了人。人们挤在一起,terrified,their eyes pinned to the ceiling as they listened to the bombs dropping and exploding.一下子,they saw the ceiling open up,down its whole length.They saw the blue sky for split seconds and then… just like that… the ceiling was restored.The locals still talk about it in Corfu town.My grandmother,at 91,仍然清晰地记得它,就好像它是昨天一样。

The Corfiots think of St Spyridon as a living being who walks among them,倾听他们的烦恼,protecting them,providing for them.This is why many jump at the chance to own a tiny piece of his velvet slippers… Periodically,the church replaces the slippers placed at the saint's feet and the fabric of the old ones is fragmented and offered to the people as a ‘fylakto' – i.e.一种保护性的魅力,if you like.这是一个纸信封里最细小的红色天鹅绒,上面画着圣斯皮里登。

The remains of St Spyridon are carried out of the church and taken around town during many religious processions throughout the year.The most famous perhaps is the one on Holy Saturday just before The First Resurrection (of Christ) at midday – a joyful pot-breaking celebration all over Corfu town.

I hope some of you will leave this page feeling a little enchanted today.If this is so,然后我的工作就完成了。I feel lucky to have experienced this kind of magic all my life and still can't get enough of it.I love St Spyridon with all my heart,像所有的科菲奥特人一样,I speak his name every day."Agie Spyridona!"is something I tend to say when surprised,annoyed,有趣的,but especially when needing comfort.

To any of you who have a Spyros or a Spyridoula in your lives,,Chronia Polla!I'll be lighting a candle for my beloved granddad today.

cfutowngrands

Gran Antigoni and Granddad Spyros Vassilakis photographed in Mandouki (a picturesque area of Corfu Town near the new port) back in the late 80s

For me,毫不奇怪,我通过我的角色索菲亚夫人写了圣斯皮里登和他的奇迹,in my debut novel,雅典娜女神的项链。下面,你会发现一个短的,exclusive excerpt from the book that was originally included when the book was first published but was edited out in the second edition.I thought it was apt to publish it here today for posterity.

I hope you will enjoy it.

夫人Sofia's face brightened."Spyros?你的教名是斯皮里登?Oh,psyche mou,what a beautiful name you have!"She was ecstatic to hear the boy was named after her protector saint.It was a name that had followed her all her life,像科夫的其他居民一样。

Everyone on the island has a bunch of family members called Spyridon or the female equivalent,Spyridoula.As baby names in Greece are carried from grandparents to grandchildren,they're always reminiscent of precious members of one's family,some of them—as in the case of Mrs.Sofia—no longer living.在Athens,the name is not as common,so it was a special treat for her to hear it,and to be able to savor its sound again,so far away from home.她没有浪费机会。She loved to talk about her beloved saint,and when she offered the boy information about him,他和他母亲都站在那里热切地听着。Soon,she was telling them about the two miracles he's mostly revered for on the island: the one where he saved the city from the plague,and the other where he turned his cane into a snake.She told them he still appeared through apparitions to cripples and other patients who prayed to him,curing them beyond any logical explanation.She looked into their eyes,saw wonder,and so she carried on,telling them this time about the miracles she'd witnessed herself in the town of Corfu.

她转述了一个工人在圣斯皮里登教堂的尖塔上失去平衡的故事。He fell to the ground and stood again,unharmed.然后,she recounted the story of that terrible day during the bombarding of the city by enemy planes in the 40's.She and many others had rushed to St Spyridon's church for refuge,向他祈祷以拯救他们的生命,他们的眼睛盯着天花板,brimming over with terror.For one terrible moment,they all saw the roof of the church blow up.They saw the sky,然后,miraculously,屋顶在几秒钟内又关上了。Shocked,they asked each other and,to their amazement,they'd all seen the same thing.

The little boy's mouth was now gaping open,and his mother seemed equally fascinated,her eyes huge and glazed over.夫人Sofia had a melodic voice and the unique talent of storytelling.It charmed her listeners and her two new guests couldn't have been an exception.

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4 thoughts on""Saint Spyridon,patron saint of Corfu: his life and miracles""

  1. 精彩的叙述,Fros.希望有一天我能见到科孚,which I've wanted to visit ever since reading Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals when I was very young.

    • 谢谢你的来访,玛丽。我喜欢这本书和我为家人和其他动物看过的英国广播公司的一部连续剧,但我记得当他们在连续剧《圣斯皮里登的尸体被木乃伊化》中提到时,这部连续剧对我来说不是很好——哈哈。A bit insensitive,我想,and I expect the Corfiots who watched it didn't like that quip at all 🙂

  2. 谢谢你,埃弗罗西尼。I love all the stories and I certainly believe in"The Saint".I often visit him.Xronia Polla and I hope you have had a lovely day celebrating xx

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