New Martyr Athanasios Koulakiotis – 8th of September8 September 2017
The Saint Martyr Athanasios came from Koulakia (now Halastra), near Thessaloniki. He was originally a pupil of Athanasios of Paros, who was then in charge of the Thessaloniki School, but left to continue his studies on the Holy Mountain at the Athonias. After leaving the School, he went to Constantinople, where he became friends with Philimon, Patriarch of Antioch, who took him to Damascus with him for two years. He then returned to the Holy Mountain, where at that time Athanasios of Paros was teaching at the Athonite School. Thereafter he returned to his own village, where his faith was demonstrated in a devout life. One day, he was talking to a Turkish emir on matters of religion when the latter accused him of having become a Muslim. Because Athanasios denied this categorically, he was arrested and sent to Thessaloniki, where he was sentenced to death by hanging, at the age of 25. This took place in 1774, on 8 September, the date on which he is now commemorated.