Saint Anthimos, the Hieromartyr of Romania
September 28, 2011 by Simon Appleby
As we have mentioned before, Georgians have had a profound effect upon the development of Orthodox Christianity outside the country. A notable example is Saint Anthimos, a Georgian taken into slavery by the Ottomans who later became a priest of great renown in Romania. He was later martyred by the Turks. In the Romanian church, his Feast Day is today, September 27. The article is provided with the kind permission of John Sanidopoulos.
St. Anthimos, the Hieromartyr of Romania (Feast Day – September 27)
Saint Anthimos was born in Georgia, and his parents were called John and Mary. The child received the name Andrew in Baptism, and his parents raised him as an Orthodox Christian.
Andrew was captured by Turks who invaded Georgia when he was young, and he was one of many who were made slaves in Constantinople. There he learned to speak Greek, Arabic, and Turkish, and also became skilled in woodcarving, embroidery, and painting. After a few years as a slave, Andrew escaped and fled to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for refuge.
Around 1690, Andrew was invited to Wallachia by Prince Constantine Brancoveanu (August 16), who had heard of his talents. After a year or so, he became a monk and received the name Anthimos. Later, he was ordained to the holy priesthood. He was placed in charge of the royal print shop in Bucharest, and later set up a printing house in the Snagov Monastery. The monastery printed sixty-three books in Romanian, Greek, Arabic, and Georgian. St Anthimos was the author of thirty-eight of them. He was chosen to be the abbot of Snagov in 1696.
The saint was consecrated as Bishop of Rimnicu-Vilcea in 1705, and three years later he was made Metropolitan of Wallachia. As Metropolitan, he established schools for poor children, and built churches and monasteries. Since he was a woodcarver, he used his talent to beautify many churches.
St Anthimos was a zealous pastor who satisfied his flock’s hunger for spiritual knowledge. Preaching in the Romanian language, he taught them the saving truths of Orthodoxy, and offered words of encouragement and consolation. His edifying books and sermons are part of the spiritual legacy of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
Metropolitan Anthimos was arrested by the Turks in 1716 and sentenced to be exiled at St Katherine’s Monastery on Mt. Sinai, but he never arrived at his destination. On September 27, 1716, he was killed by the soldiers who were escorting him. They cut his body into little pieces and threw them into the Tungia River, south of the Danube. Thus, the faithful servant of Christ received the crown of martyrdom.
St Anthimos was a true shepherd of his flock, and a father to his clergy. He was glorified by the Orthodox Church of Romania in 1992.
For various videos having to do with St. Anthimos, see here.