“The apple of discord” by Sofia Kioroglou
God created Adam and Eve
the fruit of the tree of knowledge
they were bidden not to eat
It is always an apple, the cause of discord,
the true Dead Sea apple or coaxing talking serpent
that far famed fruit of the tree of Sodom
tempting to the eye, deceitful to the sense
*The poem is inspired by the life and death of Saint Christos the Gardener, a not so well-known saint.
Biography of Saint Christos the Gardener
Saint Christos was born in Albania. However, he lived in Constantinople, where he exercised the profession of gardening. One day while he was selling apples in the town market, a Turk came and wanted to buy all the apples in a humiliating price. Christos resisted and they came to a brawl. The Turk became angry and by wanting to take avenge, he went to the authorities and reported that Christos allegedly had said that he will become a Muslim. The judge asked Christos if this was true. “In the name of God,” replied the poor gardener, “I never said such words. I am a Christian and can not change my faith even if I must be put into great suffering. Then the judge ordered and Christos was beaten vigorously with sticks. They even gave him a blow on the head and his head was soaked in blood. After that, he was tied up, taken to prison, and his legs were put in the punitive wood. At that time, it happened that the famous scholar monk Caesarius Dapontes was also in prison. He felt pity for Christos and asked the guardians to release his legs from the punitive wood and they released him. Caesarius Dapontes even managed to find some food and took it to him. “Thank you, Father” said Christos, “but why should I eat? Will I even live? Let me then die for my Lord Jesus Christ hungry and thirsty. And he took out and gave Caesarius a whetstone made from steel, which he was carrying on him. “Sell it,” he said, “and make some liturgies and memorial services for my soul.” That same day, the guards came and took the Martyr from prison and led him outside the city. He peaceful put his neck down and gave himself to Jesus Christ. So, the gardener of Constantinople left the gardens of the Bosporus to become a gardener of the heavenly Paradise. He was decapitated on the twelfth of February 1748. The monk Caesarius Dapontes wrote about the life and suffering of the Martyr.