Cosma of Aetolia

Augustine Sokolovski

Today the Church celebrates the memory of St. Cosmas of Aetolia (1714–1779). The Orthodox Church calls him “Equal-to-the-Apostles”, because he was a missionary, preacher, itinerant priest, and he ended his life as a martyr.

Cosmas is now one of the most revered Hellenic and Albanian Orthodox saints. He preached in the territory of modern Albania and Greece. In his sermon, he basically used a simple, and not refined, like the hierarchs of that time, Greek.

 From the biography of Cosmas, we need to learn the following:

1. Cosmas was a hieromonk. He took tonsure and ordination on Mount Athos. However, he left the Holy Mountain soon, believing that monastic seclusion was not for him. This is an indication of a special divine plan calling for each of us;

2. At the age of 45 Сosmas received a blessing from the Patriarch to preach everywhere and be a missionary. This is evidence that serving the people of God is the lot of mature people.

3. Cosmas was a contemporary of Voltaire (1694-1778). He survived the philosopher by only one year. Voltaire was the ideologue of the Age of Enlightenment. He and his colleagues in the “philosophical workshop” believed that through education the Church would be destroyed. As they said it in French, "Ecrasez l’infâme!”

Cosmas founded over 200 Christian schools. He believed that through education, Christianity was waiting for a new worldwide evangelization.

4. And, finally, Cosmas is unusually, surprisingly contemporary. The motto of our times is "There is no salvation outside the market." He seemed to suffer for it. After all, he forbade trading on Sunday and the merchants, noticing financial losses, slandered him before the Ottomans. The Equal-to-the-Apostles Cosmas was martyred.