Philothei the Righteous Martyr of Athens



Reading from the Synaxarion:

Saint Philothei (Revula Venizelos) was born in Athens in 1522 to an illustrious family.  Against her will, she was married to a man who proved to be most cruel.  When he died three years later, the Saint took up the monastic life and established a convent, in which she became a true mother to her disciples. 

During the Ottoman Greece period, many women were enslaved and required to be part of the Muslim Turkish harems. During this period, some Turkish rulers of Ottoman Greece wanted to include the nuns of her convent into the harems. This conflicted with their religious beliefs and they refused to be taken captive and convert to the Muslim faith. Due to this, she received a martyric end.

Many women enslaved and abused by the Moslem Turks also ran to her for refuge.  Because of this, the Turkish rulers became enraged and came to her convent, dragged her by force out of the church, and beat her cruelly.  After a few days, she reposed, giving thanks to God for all things.  This came to pass in the year 1589.  She was renowned for her almsgiving, and with Saints Hierotheus and Dionysius the Areopagite is considered a patron of the city of Athens.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the First Tone

The famed city of Athens doth honour Philothei, the righteous Martyr, whose relics it now revereth with joy; for while living in sobriety and holiness, she hath exchanged all earthly things for the everlasting life through great contests as a Martyr; and she entreateth the Saviour to grant His mercy unto all of us.

Kontakion in the Third Tone

We all honour Philothei with jubilation of spirit, as this day we rev’rently worship her ven’rable relics.  For she lived her whole life working kindness and mercy; and the righteous one, receiving a martyr’s ending, is deemed worthy to entreat God that all be granted eternal life with the Saints.

  • Mother Philothei was glorified as a saint by Patriarch Matthew II. In this procedure, she was called ‘Righteous’ only.

Miracles of the Saint

St Philothei of Athens was worthy of performing miracles during her life.

The Convent of the Apostle Andrew the First-Called

This convent is located at the present site of the Archdiocese of Athens, west of the church.

The second Convent founded by the Saint

St Philothei also founded another convent in the same area as the Church of St Andrew. This is located on Lefkosia Avenue in Patesia, Greece. Nowedays, the convent has been converted into a hospital for incurable diseases.

The Saints Cave

In Athens, their is a suburb called "Philothei". Their is a church in this area bearing the name of the saint. Near it, their is a small but well preserved cave surviving were the holy mother would struggle alone when she would not remain at the monastery of Patesia.


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