Zakynthos Agios Dionysios

The Life of Agios Dionysios from Zakynthos: Agios Dionysios (Saint Dionysios) was born in Zakynthos in 1547. His parents were wealthy people and gave him full education. Apart from Greek and Italian, he learned ancient Greek and Latin. However, theology had always been his passion. When he was 20 years old, after his parents had died, Agios Dionysios donated all his fortune to his brother and became a monk in the monastery of Strofades, which is situated on the south part of the island.

In 1577, he became the Archbishop of Aegina island. However, two years later, some health problems forced him to resign and return to his homeland, where he stayed as an abbot in the monastery of Strofades.

One rainy night, a desperate man came to the monastery and asked for help. This man had just committed a murder and, as the monk found out through continuous questions, he had killed the brother of Dionysios and the family of the dead man was chasing him. Despite the bitterness and his lament, Dionysios provided shelter to the murderer and even helped him to escape the island to save his life because, as he said, he wanted to prevent another crime. Local tradition affirms that the murderer later returned and became a monk in the same monastery. This story certainly touched the heart of the Zakynthians.

Agios Dionysios was often visited by people who wanted to confess or ask for advice. He died on December 17th, 1622, at the age of 75. According to his will, he was buried in the church of Agios Georgios in Strofades, where he was ordained a priest. Three years later, when he was exhumed, his body was found intact. It remains intact still and is displayed in the church of Agios Dionysios, where lots of pilgrims go every year.

His memory is celebrated on December 17th (the day of his death) and August 24th, the day his corpse was transferred to Zakynthos Town and was set into his church.