December 12th. Corfu celebrates its patron saint, Agios Spyridon
Agios Spyridonas church, located behind Liston in the Old Town, is one of the most popular and most important attractions on the island.
Agios Spyridon the Wonderworker is the Patron Saint of Kerkyra (Corfu) and is called the “Keeper of the City” as he has saved this beautiful Ionian island four times from the Ottoman invasion.
"On December 12 the Greek Orthodox Church commemorates the Feast Day of Agios Spyridonas the Wonderworker, who is the Protector of poor people and the Patron Saint of the island of Kerkyra & Piraeus "
The church of Saint Spyridon was initially built in Sarocco Square in Kerkyra Town. However, in 1590 it was erected in its present location. The architecture of the church is typical of the Venetian architecture that is seen all over the Old Town of Corfu. Its bell tower is the highest spot of the town and this is the first thing that you see as the ferry approaches the island. The locals have deep faith in Agios Spyridon, who is considered the keeper of the island.
He is known to have saved the island four times from the Ottoman invasion, which is one of the reasons that this church is the most important religious monument of Corfu. Spyridon and Spyridoula are very common names on the island and the locals actually refer to their saint protector when they need help and support.
He performed a great number of miracles which was the main reason why they considered him a saint even before his death. Saint Spyridon also participated in the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea (325), countering the theological arguments of Arius and his followers. He also served as a Bishop of Trimythous, a district of Larnaca Cyprus, until he died on December 12, 348 A.D.
"Spyridon and Spyridoula are very common names on the island and the locals actually refer to their saint protector when they need help and support"
It is a remarkable fact that his Holy body remained imperishable, apart from his right hand. Even more remarkable is the fact that his relic maintains the temperature of a living body. His flesh has remained supple and has been studied and examined by many scientists from around the world and none of them have an explanation for this phenomenon.
Saint Spyridon is known as “The Walking Saint” and his silk slippers are replaced frequently as it is said that they wear out as he walks the world performing miracles. His coffin has a removable bottom so Priests can easily replace his shoes.
And today, on his Feast Day thousands upon thousands of pilgrims will visit and kiss his feet.
After the church service and procession, locals and visitors will take part in festivities, as they celebrate this miraculous Saint who is dearly loved.