Ἀφιερωμένο στόν Κύριό μας Ἱησοῦ Χριστό καί τήν Ὑπεραγία Θεοτόκο
Saint Dionysios of Zakynthos the Bishop of Aegina – the Saint of Forgiveness
St. Dionysios of Zakynthos, the Bishop of Aegina
Commemorated December 17 (his repose) and August 24 (the transfer of his Relics)
St Dennis is remembered for many miracles, but primarily as the saint of forgiveness.
One day a man hammered on the gates of the monastery in a desperate state.
St Dennis let him in and sat him down, and asked what was disturbing him? He said I have just killed a man! St Dennis could see the blood on his hands and clothes. The saint asked him who has he killed, and it turned out to be his own brother, and the man in front of him was a hired assassin! He was petrified realising what he had done, and because he had been seen, and soldiers were following him!
St Dennis thought hard, his mind swimming with emotion. But deep within himself, god somehow entered his heart, and he felt forgiveness, not for the act but the person. His brother could no longer be saved, but this desperate soul could, and he faced instant death if the soldiers found him.
So St Dennis blessed him with a prayer of forgiveness, then gave him some food, a herbal drink, and he managed to rest a little. Then there was another commotion outside the gate, an angry mob were there with dogs and weapons. St Dennis greeted them, then they broke the news to him, not knowing he was already aware of his brothers murder.
Have you seen him, they said, St Dennis blessed them, and sent them off to look up the mountain. In the morning, he rigged up the monastery boat, and his brothers assassin sailed off towards Kefalonia and escaped. He later repented his sins, and according to some, actually became a monk and dedicated his life to service and prayer.
So if you need to forgive, and you are finding it difficult, ask St Dennis.
Abba Zeno said, ‘If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks.’
When our hearts are reluctant we often have to compel ourselves to pray for our enemies, to pour out prayer for those who are against us. Would that our hearts were filled with love! How frequently we offer a prayer for our enemies, but do it because we are commanded to, not out of love for them. We ask the gift of life for them even while we are afraid that our prayer may be heard. The Judge of our souls considers our hearts rather than our words. Those who do not pray for their enemies out of love are not asking anything for their benefit.” ~ St. Gregory the Great
Do we forgive our neighbours their trespasses? God also forgives us in His mercy. Do we refuse to forgive? God, too, will refuse to forgive us. As we treat our neighbours, so also does God treat us. The forgiveness or non-forgiveness, then, of your sins—and hence also your salvation or destruction—depend on you yourself, man. For without forgiveness of sins there is no salvation.~St Philotheos of Sinai
Forgiveness is better than revenge.~St Tikhon of Zadonsk
Abba Poemen also said this about Abba Isidore that whenever he addressed the brothers in church he said only one thing, ‘Forgive your brother, so that you also may be forgiven.‘~From the Sayings of the Desert Fathers
We must see everything in a good manner. We should not think anything evil about others. And even a glance and a sigh can effect our fellow man. And the slightest indignation brings evil. Let us have goodness and love within out soul, let us transmit these.
Let us pray that we not be indignant towards men who hurt us. Only let us pray for them with love. Whatever our fellow man does, let us not think evil of him. Always let us pray lovingly. Always let us think of the good.
When our soul is sanctified, it shines with goodness. We silently sent out our love without saying words. Christ never wants evil. Instead, He commands: “Bless those who curse you…” – Saint Porphyrios Bairaktaris of Kafsokalivia
Often during the day I have been a great sinner, and at night, after prayer, I have gone to rest, justified and whiter than snow by the grace of the Holy Spirit, with the deepest peace and joy in my heart! How easy it will be for the Lord to save us too in the evening of our life, at the decline of our days! O save, save, save me, most gracious Lord; receive me in Thy heavenly Kingdom! Everything is possible to Thee! (My Life in Christ, Part 1, p. 27)~St John of Kronstadt
Apolytikion of St. Dionysios of Zakynthos in the First Tone
The offspring of Zakynthos and bishop of Aegina, protector of Strophades Monastery, Saint Dionysios, O faithful, let us all with one accord now honor and sincerely cry to him: “By your fervant prayers save us who are observing your mem’ry and who cry to you: Glory to Christ who glorified you; glory to Him who made you marvelous; glory to Him who gave you to us as a sleepless advocate.