1. Generally about his life.
No one really knows where St Fanourios came from or much about his life because such details were lost during times of war and great difficulty. All we know is that he lived during the reign of the Roman Empire and became a victim of idol-worshippers.
The only real details we have of the saint are with the finding of his icon around 1500 A.D. Some say that his icon was found in Rhodes while others say it was found in Cyprus.
Many years ago, people known as the "Agarenes", ruled Rhodes and they decided to rebuild the city walls which they themselves had destroyed only years before. They sent many men to collect stones and rocks from old houses to rebuild the new and strong city walls.
Suddenly, in the ruins, they found a beautiful but half-ruined church with many icons. The icons, however, were so old that they could not tell which saints were painted on them. Only one icon differed from the rest, it was that of a young soldier.
The Bishop of Rhodes, Nilos, quickly came and read the name of the Saint - Saint Fanourios! Touched by this revelation the Bishop noticed that the saint was dressed as a Roman soldier, who held a cross in his left hand and a lit candle in his right. Around the icon were painted twelve pictures which showed the tortures that the Saint suffered.
The pictures are as follows:
A. The Saint is standing before a Roman judge and is defending his Christian faith.
B. Roman soldiers attack the Saint's head and mouth with stones.
C. The soldiers are even angrier because of the Saint's patience so they throw him down and beat him with batons and wood.
D. The Saint in jail is naked and the soldiers strip his skin with steel tools. The Saint suffers these tortures silently.
E. In jail, St Fanourios prays to God to give him strength to endure tortures until the end.
F. Once again, the Saint stands before the Roman judge and shows no fear or change in his beliefs.
G. The enemies of the Saint burn his naked body with lit candles. Again the Saint shows patience and the will to suffer for the Lord.
H. Here, the torturers tied the Saint to a machine which, when turned, crushed his bones. Again the saint showed no signs of suffering, instead his face glowed with peace.
I. They throw the Saint into a hole with wild animals. Through the Grace of God, the animals become calm and sit by the Saint, rather than attack him.
J. The enemies take him out of the hole and place him under a huge rock thinking that this would kill the Saint. They did not succeed.
K. The Romans tell the Saint to sacrifice to their gods. We see, though, that the Saint is again the victor, as the devil, in the shape of a dragon flies away and cries at his defeat.
L. The last picture shows the Saint being burnt alive.
He is praying endlessly to God until his soul flies to the Kingdom of Heaven
and into the arms of his Lord, whom he loves and suffered for so much.
Christians honour Saint Fanourios by making him a Fanouropita. It is usually made so the Saint can reveal something which has been lost. For example, a valuable item or a job for someone who is unemployed, or health to someone who is ill.
It is usually accompanied with the prayer;
"Lord have mercy on the soul of St Fanourios’ mother."
Our Church celebrates this great Saint on the 27th of
"LORD JESUS CHRIST, SON OF GOD, THROUGH THE INTERCESSIONS OF THE GREAT MARTYR, SAINT FANOURIOS, HAVE MERCY UPON US THE SINNERS."
Saint Fanourios Cake
Makes 24-30 pieces
Ingredients 4 cups self-rising flour 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 cup vegetable oil 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar 12 tablespoons orange juice ˝ cup water grated lemon peel ˝ cup black raisins ˝ cup white raisins ˝ cup finely chopped walnuts confectioner's sugar
NOTE: Self-rising flour can be substituted with all-purpose flour, 4 teaspoons baking powder, and a dash of salt.