By the grace of God, Sotos Chondropoulos's narrative hagiography, St Spyridon of Tremithus: Boast of the Orthodox, has now appeared in translation and has been made available to the English-speaking public.
In his unique style, the author brings to life a great figure of the Church. At a time when we anxiously seek models and signposts in order to find the right path in life, he presents his protagonist, with great skill and feeling, as a prototype to the people of our tragic modern era.
The descriptions of the miracles that St Spyridon performed on Cyprus, Corfu, Nikcaea and elsewhere, whether during his life or after his repose, leave us profoundly amazed. The miracle of the snake that turned to gold, and then became a snake again, the miracle with the tile at the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea, and others, are vividly retold by the writer. We sense the awe of the true believer, and the reader feels that he is there as the miracle occurs.
In fact the whole life of his subject is presented through brilliant and lively storytelling -this humble and little educated shepherd of Tremoutsia (or Tremithus) in Cyprus, Bishop Spyridon with his spyridion, or head-covering made of woven rushes. Here we have a modern biography of the saint that is wonderfully written and yet does not depart from the real events of his life.
This book is a bold witness of faith. "In the Ionian islands, three holy relics, which the 'grace of the Holy Spirit' has kept incorrupt for centuries," writes Sotos Chondropoulos, "are like the three breakwaters of Orthodoxy. They have kept out the papists with their tricks of Uniatism, and they continue to prevent the holy faith from being adulterated." Later on the thunders, "Yes, Orthodoxy lives in the catacombs and in the prisons, and on the frozen steppes. And it will thrive and be great in the face of a period of universal persecution that awaits it."
Christos S. Chondropoulos
Athens, 1 November 2007