Raitho and the incorrupt relics of Monk Gregory Skevofylax of Zakynthos

Raitho

the Land of Fruits

the biblical Elim

a stopping place for travellers

El-Tur

To read the poem ‘Raitho’ visit :http://winamop.com/sk1605.htm

The Incorrupt Relics of Monk Gregory Skevofylax of Zakynthos

MYSTAGOGY

My visit to Raitho this December has been a great blessing. I am still trying to get back to the normal and mundane rhythm of things but I have great difficulty getting back to earth. I feel an irrepressible desire to talk about present day El-Tor which is not much visited by foreign tourists, but this is ancient Raitho where, during the time of the Roman emperor Diocletian, the Holy Fathers of the Sinai were massacred by the Blemmyes of Africa. More poems coming up in the next few days, God willing.

Although Raitho is not so well-known by tourists, one can be impressed by the spititual beauty of the place.Despite the fact not much is left here,  a letter addressed by the Abbot John Hegoumenos of Raitho to “John the most worthy Hegoumenos of Mount Sinai” has survived. From this we learn that at the time of the Abbot John, there was a lavra (a group of hermit dwellings) at Raitho. Today, one can still see the ruins of a monastery built by Justinian, and there is also a more recent monastery with a splendid church dedicated to St. George and a guest house.

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The Greek Monastery at Raitou

The Greek Orthodox Monastery with the Church of St. George, is a medieval rebuilding of an earlier church located near the sea on adjacent land now part of the El-Kelany archaeological site. Within the Church of St. George are the incorrupt relics of “the second founder of the monastery”, Monk Gregory Skevofylax of Zakynthos. Monk Gregory helped re-establish the Monastery at Raithou with Monk Porphyrios in 1827. Recently his relics were discovered to be incorrupt. The Church of St. George was founded by Monk Gregory in 1885.There have been many appearances of Monk Gregory to devout Christians in Raitho, working many miracles.Upon seeing the incorrupt myrrh-giving relics of Monk Gregory of Raitou , I felt an inexpressible need to write about him as not much about him is known. Hope this article is the first of a series of articles and poems that will follow tracing the steps  of this Father as well as the other hermits who were  massacred by the Blemmyes of Africa and who are believed to be like the invisible hermits of Mount Athos. More coming up soon. Happy Reading!!!

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