December 7 is the date which the Christian church honors the memory of a big patriarch, Saint Amvrosios, Bishop of Milano.
Although the inhabitants of turkish occupied Ayios Amvrosios, Kyrenia Cyprus are spread into all corners of free part of Cyprus, they travel with the wings of memory and desire into their beautiful village, in order to celebrate and honor their Protector, Saint Amvrosios.
With their high degree of religion that describes them, they enter the magnificent church and they will hear the sweet ‘troparion’
“Τον της Αμβροσίας επώνυμον
Through this sacred mystagogy they receive faith, strength, and patience for the one and only reason for their lives: RETURN TO AYIOS AMVROSIOS
Saint Amvrosios, this distinguished ecclesiastic physiognomy was born in Trevirous of Germany 340 A.D. His father, also Amvrosios, was the Governor of many countries, and provinces, of the Roman empire in Central and South Europe.
When Amvrosios was a child, and while sleeping in the palace yard, a large number of bees were entering his mouth without harming him. His father was observing with his breath taken, and remembered Cicerone who describes something similar with Plato and said:
– If this child lives, he will become Great. –
Unfortunately he did not live long to see what his fatherly heart had felt. He died when young Amvrosios was 10 years old.
Having many spiritual charismas, Amvrosios studied Rhetoric, Philosophy, and Law. He studied in particular the Greek language in order to be able to study the Greek fathers, philosophers, poets, Drama writers, and Historians. His deep knowledge of the Greek language is evident by the fact that, whilst he wrote in Latin, his letters are comprised by many words, phrases, and thoughts, that are purely Greek.
When he finished his studies in Rome, he went to Mediolana, the nowadays Milano and he was practicing law, which was a privilege of the few at the time. He was so successful as a lawyer, that he was assigned governor of Italy, with capital the town of Milano.
During this period of just management, Amvrosios won with his kindness and activity, everybody’s love. But this peace and happiness of the citizens was shaken by a very serious ecclesiastic issue, the succession of the Bishop throne of Mediolanon. This issue took great dimensions because both sides, Orthodox, and Arians, were equally powerful and they would not yield. Amvrosios, as the designated state’s official, stepped in. He went to the Cathedral and spoke to the crowd of both sides. While he was speaking, with such a sweetness, power of speech, and spirit of compromise, a ten year old boy, shouted from within the thick crowd: “Amvrosios for Bishop. Amvrosios” Like it was meant to be, the whole crowd, Orthodox, Arians, shouted all united: “Worthy, Worthy, Amvrosios for Bishop”
Only one from all disagrees, Amvrosios himself. Him, the governor of Mediolanon, the beloved aristocrat of the entire Italy, protests and rejects the selection of the crowd to become Bishop. He brings in mind the heavy load and the difficult mission of this holy position, in a divided church. He recalls the serious argument that he is still a student and not yet Baptized, but his admirers are not convinced and do not retreat.
He therefore decided to escape and hide in an undisclosed location. He was walking the entire night, but the crowd that was looking for him, caught up with him and finally found him. He then realized that his election was God’s will, and he accepted it.
He received the holy Baptism on the 30th of November and 8 days later, December 7 374 A.D. he was nominated Bishop, exactly like the great Patriarch of Constantinople, the holy Photios.
On the day of his nomination, the emperor himself was present who glorified God saying:
“Χάρις Σοι, Δέσποτα Παντοκράτωρ και Σώτερ ημέτερε, ότι τώδε τω ανδρί εγώ μεν ενεχείρησα σώματα, Συ δε ψυχάς.”
As soon as Amvrosios got the Bishop throne of Medionalon he distributed his huge fortune to the poor and he voluntarily became poor, living with strict fast, restrictions, and exercise.
His unlimited love for the people was proven once more during the attacks of Goths at 378 A.D. Thousands of prisoners were transferred to Mediolana (Milano) where they were sold as slaves. Amvrosio’s Christian conscious revolt. He decided to buy the freedom of the prisoners and reestablish them in the society. Because he did not have his own fortune, he ordered that all silver, gold, and precious stones dedicated to the churches, to be sold to gather all necessary money. His critics criticized him that he strips all churches. He replied to them that is better to strip the churches in order to clothe the souls.
Amvrosios’ struggle for the sake of Orthodoxy was significant. In a period of 10 years he managed to vanish the heresy of the Arians. They all became Orthodox Christians, except of a few aristocrats in the palace of Wellentianou B’.
The Arian mother of the emperor, Ioustini, in order to help the Arians, wanted to establish an Arian Bishop in a certain area. Amvrosios run immediately to cancel her plans. In the discussion that followed, an Arian daughter attempted to grab Amvrosios and tried to drag him outside the church towards a crowd of fanatic women, to hurt him. Then, the Bishop of Mediolanon said to her: “I know that I am not good enough to be a priest, but you should not lay your hands upon a priest. You are a virgin daughter and you ought to show respect and fear in God’s judgment, to avoid His Wrath.” The next day the whole town was informed her death. Amvrosios was present in her funeral and asked God to forgive all sins of the daughter.
Holy Amvrosios had always influenced the aristocrats and powerful statesmen. He used this influence to help many people. In this way he saved a lot of people from the death conviction. A series of new laws, more humane, is attributed to Amvrosios.
Noteworthy is his conflict with Emperor Theodosios the Great. During a horse race in Thessaloniki Greece, the mob killed a few military officers. In order to take revenge, the emperor organized new race events, and ordered the execution of 7,000 innocent people.
Amvrosios was informed this tragic event with deep sorrow and disappointment.
When the emperor visited Italy, he wanted to see Amvrosios the time he was functioning at the cathedral. Instead of a warm welcome, he saw Amvrosios at the entrance of the cathedral blocking his way and saying: “Stop sinner. You cannot comprehend the size of your crime? Did the power and the crown made your brain unable to understand your sin? How you dare entering to the holy house of the God, when your hands are still bloody from the blood of so many innocent citizens? Leave, and do not even try to add to your first sin, a second sin.”
Emperor Theodosios reminds Amvrosios, David’s sin, but Amvrosios with intelligence he replies: “Well, as you imitated David in the sin, you should imitate David in “.
Theodosios left with tears in his eyes and for eight months he was under strict religion observance, for Amvrosios to forgive him.
Amvrosios possessed many talents from nature and from God, which he multiplied with his compassion and respect, and he was nominated as great political and spiritual leader. During the holy function, his deep belief transformed the people, because he was functioning with the aid of Angels.
The great Bishop and philanthropist died in 397 A.D. at the age of 57. He is honored every year December 7, date when he became bishop, as the event was considered great blessing for the Church. Amvrosios is one of the greatest holy men of the Church and among the greatest men of Humanity’s history.
This distinct Saint, great Teacher and Father, the magnificent philanthropist, was chosen by the people of Ayios Amvrosios to be their protector and assistant. They gave his name to their village and built a magnificent church dedicated to him, product of their faith and their sweat.
With the blessings of our protector Saint, with their pure belief, with hard work and sweat, we managed to transform our small village into one of the most prominent and rich town, until the cursed day of the Turkish invasion that caused all of us to become refugees.
Since 1974, with the heavy load of the cross of refuge we walk the same path as all other Greek Cypriots refugees, this ascending road of our Golgotha. We will not bend, and will not stop. We continue this difficult road and no matter how many years will pass, we have all the power inside our souls, because we have all justice and all blessings of Saint Amvrosios with us.
We will continue our struggle, we will honor Saint Amvrosios and celebrate, until the holy day comes that this spark that burns in the holy churches will become big flame and burn and clean our land from the barbarian Turkish invaders.
That day will come. It is guaranteed by our Faith, and our commitment to our Greek religious and Ethnic roots and Traditions.