Leimonos Monastery > St. Ignatios Agallianos

Saint Ignatios, whose name before he became a monk was Ioannis Agallianos, is one of the most important figures on Lesvos Island in the 16th century. Evidence concerning his life is unclear. He does seem, however, to have been born in around 1480 in the village of Farangas near Kalloni. His father was a priest and he himself also served his village as a married priest. The hagiographer that drew up an account of Ignatios’ life has the saint displaying an inclination towards the monastic life from childhood. However, because his father wished him to do so, he married a pious woman by the name of Mary. Shortly afterwards he was ordained as a priest and appointed to Farangas. When he lost his wife and all his children, with the exception of Methodios (of whom we know because he also followed the monastic life at Leimonos), to plague, he decided to enter monastic life.

Very close to the village of Farangas, there was an abandoned church, which tradition holds to have been the katholikon of the Byzantine Monastery ‘Panaghia tis Myrsinis’,mentioned in a patriarchal document of 1331. He rebuilt the church, which was on family property, and settled there, together with his now elderly father Manuel and son Methodios. They built new buildings and founded a small monastery.

When many Christians attracted to monastic life, both men and women, joined him at the monastery the saint decided to found a convent for the women at Myrsiniotissa and to establish a monastery for the men at another spot, where the ruins of a church dedicated to the Taxiarch Archangel Michael stood - again on property belonging to the Agallianos family. It was thus that Leimonos monastery came to be founded, with the saint himself as its abbot.

In March 1530, Ignatios drew up his will, which is preserved in two of the manuscripts at the monastery. His will, supplemented by three letters the saint later wrote to the abbess and the nuns at Myrsiniotissa, made up in essence the Typikon, or rules, under which the two monasteries that he had founded were to function.

Shortly after his will was drawn up, the saint travelled to Constantinople. During his stay there, the then Metropolitan of Methymna, Makarios, passed away and the saint was chosen by the Sacred Synod of the Patriarchate to be his successor.

The date of his death is a matter of debate. However, one ecclesiastical court document, which is preserved in the Ottoman archive of the monastery, places the year of his passing as 1566. He was buried in the Sanctuary of the katholikon at Myrsiniotissa.

<< 1 2 >>