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The patron Saint of Zakynthos


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Zakynthos most visitable church

Agios Dionysos guards the picturesque island of Zakynthos. Twice yearly, people celebrate his feast day. There were festivities on both the anniversary of his death (December 17) and the return to the island of his remains (August 24).

Born to wealthy parents in Zakynthos in 1547, Agios Dionysios had a full education. Italian, Latin, Greek, and ancient Greek. He was an authority in the field of religion. At the age of twenty, he became a monk on the little island of Strofades, south of Zakynthos, after bequeathing his whole estate to his brother following his parents' deaths. Appointed archbishop of Aegina in 1577, he resigned after just two years because to health problems. After that, he returned to the island and settled into his role as abbot at Anafonitria.

A guy came to the monastery one rainy night to ask for help. The man had just committed the horrible crime of murder. Through his searches, Dionysios learned who the guy he had murdered was. In reality, it was his sibling. His cousin's family was on the hunt for the man standing before him. It was typical of the sort of man Dionysios to protect the murderer and help him flee to the neighboring island of Kefalonia. pointing the way for the police officers who came from the other way. The individual returned to Zakynthos at a later date and took up residence as a monk at the same convent.

People often went to Dionysios for advice or to implore him for forgiveness. On December 17, 1622, at the age of 75, he died and asked to be buried on Strofades island. His remains were returned to Zakynthos after they were found three years later. He is still accessible at the huge church bearing his name in Zakynthos town. He became a saint in 1703.

It is said that Agios Dionysios wanders the island protecting the faithful, and the Zakynthian people still honor him today. So much so that he has to buy new slippers every year because they get so worn out! His Anafonitria convent is where he keeps his brand-new slippers. The worn-out slippers are broken up and given to the merciful as "filakta" protection.

Every summer, for five days surrounding his feast day, the military and nobility gather in church to celebrate. Additionally, there is the famous St. Dionysios Bazaar. A joyous atmosphere permeates the event as vendors set up booths selling a wide variety of goods, including books, clothing, food, and toys. On the evening of August 24th, the whole island meets in the city to take part in the celebrations. The town proudly displays the relics of Agios Dionysios.

If you happen to be in Zakynthos on his feast day, be sure to attend the evening celebrations in the town.