We venerate Saint Filothei the Athenian via the construction of a holy Church dedicated to her name in Nea Raidestos, in Thessaloniki , Greece.
The Saint’s entire life serves as a worthy role model. It is a multicolored canvas of virtue rendering the observer speechless and in awe.
We ask for your unreserved love, kind assistance and support so that we may realize this venture that is unique on a national scale.
We keep up the good effort, having a firm belief that God, one way or another, will bring this church building project to completion. Please join our fundraising campaign so that we may all celebrate and enjoy this great human initiative.
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If a few of us do a little – offering as much as a single cup of coffee costs- then every little helps a lot!
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ΕΚΚΛΗΣΙΑΣΤΙΚΟΝ ΣΥΜΒΟΥΛΙΟΝ ΙΕΡΟΥ ΝΑΟΥ ΑΓΙΟΥ ΑΘΑΝΑΣΙΟΥ ΝΕΑΣ ΡΑΙΔΕΣΤΟΥ (Church Council of St Athanassios Church in Nea Raidestos)
*Please note your Name and Surname as well as that you make the deposit for the holy Church in Filothei’s Settlement, so that we may send you a donation receipt.
Saint Filothei was born in Athens in 1522. Her pious parents, Angelos and Syrigi Benizelos, had no children, but after fervent prayer, her barren mother gave birth to the Saint. As she was praying inside the temple Syrigi fell into a trance. A great light coming out from the icon of Virgin Mary penetrated her womb. That was a message by our Lady Theotokos on her upcoming blessed child bearing. Nine moths later Syrigi gave birth to a daughter whom they named Rigoula (the Saint’s birth name). She was a blessed child indeed, raised with great piety and Christian devoutness.
Against her will, she was married at the early age of 14. However, she soon lost both her parents and her husband. After their death, Rigoula became a nun, and received the name “Filothei”.
She invested her great personal property to building a women’s monastery, under the patronage of St. Andrew the First-Called, who mystically urged the Saint through a vision. Following her example, a great many other young women flock to the monastery, and take the monastic habit.
Despite reactions from the occupant Turks the Saint lives and acts in heroic spirit. Showing special concern she built “schools for young Athenian boys so that they may open their spiritual eyes, and be taught and instructed to follow the tradition and glory of their ancestors” while also provided shelter for women who had come to Athens from a variety of places as slaves to the Turks. Her fervent prayer and ceaseless activity saved many Greeks.
The struggles of the Saint angered the Turks who order their arrest. Summoned to undertake her own defense she boldly confesses: “ I yearn to suffer for Christ, Whom I adore and worship with all my heart and soul , as true God and perfect human and in fact, I would be indebted if you would send me to Him as early as possible offering me the wreath of Martyrdom”. At the end, after the intervention of fellow believers she was released.
She returned to her monastery and started anew her abundant philanthropy and selfless offer to those in need. The half-hearted demon not bearing her unreserved love and ceaseless activity convinces the Turks to halt her action. On October 2, 1588 they broke into the temple, brutally beaten her and left her half-dead. The nuns carried her severely wounded back to the monastery, where she remained bedridden and died of her injuries on 19 February 1589.
Scarcely twenty days had passed before a lovely scent began to issue from her tomb. A sign of sanctification revealing that, by God’s Providence, the Saint is admitted to the Land of the Living.
She was canonized a Saint, on the 17th century. Her memory is venerated on February 19. The then Archbishop of Athens Neofytos noted in his writings: “given that the precious relic of St Filothei had with absolute certainty this special scent and was continually myrrh-streaming so that those sick approaching in faith would receive their treatment….this grace has led me personally, but also all Synodical High Priests to write and ask her canonization among female saints, so that she may be venerated and celebrated each year as it is fit…”
The intercessions of Saint Filothei the Athenian may sustain us all in these difficult and turbulent times.