Saint of the Month - Holy New Martyr St. Anastasias of Paramythia in Epirus and St. Daniel, November 18
Anastasias and his sister were Greek peasants living in Epirus under Ottoman rule. One day a band of Turks came through their village, led by Musa, the son of the local Pasha (Governor). Musa was struck by the beauty of Anastasias' sister and tried to seize her, but Anastasias threw himself at the Turks and fought them off long enough for his sister to escape. Musa's father had Anastasias arrested and brought before him and, impressed by his courage, attempted to convert him to Islam by many means: threats, beatings, and offers of worldly honor; but Anastasias held firm and was cast into prison.
Musa was moved by the way that Anastasias bore all these trials and temptations, and wanted to know more about the Faith that sustained him. Going secretly to Anastasias’ prison cell, he peered in and saw two young men of shining appearance with the prisoner. They vanished as soon as Musa entered. Anastasias told Musa that these were angels who guard and aid every Christian, especially when they suffer for Christ. He also explained in a simple way the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which enables His followers to set little value upon worldly things. Musa, deeply moved, threw himself at Anastasias’ feet and asked to become a Christian. Anastasias told him to wait until the proper time, because his conversion would cause his father to persecute all the Christians under his power. A few days later, in 1750, Anastasias was beheaded by order of the Pasha.
Soon after this, Musa visited the tomb of a holy Martyr and was granted a vision of Anastasias, who appeared to him encircled in light and urged him to continue on the road to Christ. Musa fled his father's domain to the Peloponnese where he received direction in the Faith from an aged ascetic. He then traveled to Venice to be baptized without fear of reprisal by the Turks. In time he became a monk on Corfu, receiving the monastic name of Daniel. He lived there in asceticism, but the desire grew in him to taste martyrdom for Christ, so he traveled to Constantinople to declare his conversion to the Muslims. But the Christians there dissuaded him, knowing that the conversion of such a prominent Turk would, if it were known, lead to retaliation against Christians. Saint Daniel returned to Corfu, where he founded a church in honor of St. Anastasias and reposed in peace.