Cosmas of Aetolia

Cosmas of Aetolia
Cosmas of Aetolia
Born 1714
Died August 24, 1779 (aged 65)
Kolkondas, Pashalik of Berat in the Ottoman Empire, now in Fier District of modern Albania
Honored in Eastern Orthodox Church
Canonized 20 April 1961
Major shrine Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens
Feast August 24

Cosmas of Aetolia (sometimes Kosmas of Aetolia or Cosmas/Kosmas the Aetolian or Patrokosmas "Father Cosmas") (Greek: Κοσμάς Αιτωλός, Kosmas Etolos) (1714–1779) was a monk in the Greek Orthodox Church and an important figure in the Greek Enlightenment.



He was born in the Greek village Mega Dendron near the town of Thermo in the region of Aetolia. He studied Greek and Theology before becoming a monk after a trip to Mount Athos where he also attended the local Theological Academy. Afterwards, he traveled through what would form the areas of both West Greece and Northern Greece urging Orthodox Christians to establish schools. Over sixteen years, he established more than 100 schools.[citation needed] He asked of Christians to establish schools and learn (Koine) Greek so that they might understand the scriptures better and generally educate themselves.

After the Orlov Revolt of 1770 in the Peloponnese (which was provoked by the Orlov brothers with the support of Catherine II of the Russian Empire), he started to preach in Southern Albania, which was under the rule of Ahmet Kurt Pasha, ruler of the Pashalik of Berat.

Suspected of being a Russian agent, he was seized by Ottoman authorities, executed on August 24, 1779.[citation needed]


In 1813, Ali Pasha, the Muslim Albanian ruler of Ottoman Epirus who was no friend of the Greeks but an adherent of realpolitik in religious matters and an enemy of the Sultan, managed to build a church near the place of his execution, Kolkondas, Fier District, near the mouth of the Seman river, in which the remains of Cosmas were placed.[1] Later, in 1984 the remains were transferred to the Archaeological Museum of Fier. Other relics of the saint are kept in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens, where some Northern Epirotes pray for the annexation of Northern Epirus to Greece.[1] Although a hellenizer, Saint Cosmas of Aetolia is still highly regarded by Orthodox Albanians for the message that he gave.[1]

Cosmas was officially proclaimed Saint by the Orthodox Church of Constantinople on 20 April 1961. The memory of isapostolos Cosmas of Aetolia is honoured on August 24, the date of his martyrdom.

There are numerous popular religious texts attributed to St. Cosmas. Best known are the five "Didaches" and the "Prophecies". There is no original manuscript of these texts written personally by St. Cosmas and none can be dated with certainty. It is believed that these texts are based on Cosmas' preachings but are written, copied and transformed mostly after his death. They contain elements added by copiests and known to us as a second or third-hand copies.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Elsie, Robert (2000). A dictionary of Albanian religion, mythology, and folk culture. New York University Press. p. 60. ISBN 0814722148 9780814722145. Retrieved 2010-06-23. 
  2. ^ Eustathiou G. (2010) Father Kosmas Aitolos and the homiletical approach of his teaching, p. 12-16. Aristotle University of Thessalonike, School of Theology, reviewed by Prof. D. Koukoura. In Greek language with English abstract.

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