Memory of the Holy Monks and Confessors of Athos,
COSMAS the PROTOS and his Companions, who were slain at
the command of the Latinizers: the Emperor Michael VIII
and the PatrtarchJohn Bekkos
Determined to impose the union of the Churches, which was accepted under pressure at the Council of Lyons (1274) to secure Papal support for the Byzantine Empire-Michael VIII Palaeologus sent troops to Mount Athos, the stronghold of Orthodoxy and centre of
opposition to his policy, with orders to take sanguinary measures against monks who would not recognize the false union.
When the Emperor’s soldiers reached Karyes, the capital of Athos, which was organized as a lavra in those days, they seized the Protos of Athos, who had been an example to all of what a steadfast monk should be. They put him to the sword together with many other fathers there, and in their fury ransacked and fired the Church and monastic buildings, leaving rack and ruin behind them.
Emerging from the wild places and thick forests where they had taken refuge, the Orthodox monks buried the holy Martyrs at the entrance to the Church of the Protaton. Through the centuries, generations of monks piously lit the lamp each day above the ‘tomb of the Protos’: but it was not until 5 December 1981 that his relics were solemnly taken from the earth, and that a service was held in his honour in the presence of a great crowd.
The Lives of the Saints of the Orthodox Church
By HIEROMONK MAKARIOS OF SIMONOS PETRA
Translated from the French by Christopher Hookway
Holy Convent of The Annunciation of Our Lady
Ormylia (Chalkidike) 1999