The Dormition of the Mother of God


In giving birth thou didst preserve thy virginity; in thy dormition thou didst not forsake the world, O Theotokos. Thou wast translated unto life, since thou art the Mother of Life; and by thine intercessions dost thou deliver our souls from death.

In the Dormition icon is depicted the Jewish priest Athonius (also rendered Jephonius), who, wishing to dishonour the Mother of God, tried to overturn the bier during her funereal procession procession, only to have the Holy Archangel Michael descend and sever his hands off with his mighty sword. Athonius then repented, prayed immediately to Christ for forgiveness, and had his hands restored to him. He experienced a conversion to the Faith of Christ and openly professed it to his peers. According to St John the Wonderworker in this book of his, the result of this was that the newly-converted Athonius received a Martyr's death. However, I cannot find this element of the story in the account of St John the Divine.

Whence comes he story of Athonius's martyrdom? Is he recognised as a Saint? If so, when is his feast? I can find a number of references to him by googling but only as part of the the story I've recounted here and not with reference to a feast day or a troparion or anything like that.

Many thanks for your help.

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