Written by Monica Mikhail~The honorable St. Anthousa lived with her righteous parents, Strategious and Fevronia, during the reign of Emperor Constantine V. Those were terrible days of persecution for the emperor was an iconoclast, but Anthousa desired to live a pious life holding steadfast to her virginity and purity.
A day came were Anthousa felt a calling to the life of solitude so she left her family and went to live in the wilderness. In that time, she came to the Monastery of Mandineo where she met a godly man, Father Sisinios. Anthousa saw that he was filled with many commendable virtues and became encouraged to imitate him. He became her spiritual father and she was set under his guidance. Her utmost obedience to the monastic rule that he set for her to attend to daily led her to acquire all the virtues she had ever hoped for and more.
Anthousa was told by Father Sisinios that he had seen, by the grace of God, that in her future she would establish a convent for ninety nuns and that she should go live by the harbor near Perkele. After Father Sisinios tonsured her, she went to live an ascetic life and was filled with the Holy Spirit.
During her solitary time, those who saw her thought she had gone mad because she was adorned in iron shackles and wore coarse material on her skin for she had no urge to give into matters that concerned her flesh. She practiced a disciplined, ascetic life for some time before she returned to Fr. Sisinios, beseeching his blessing to build a convent dedicated to St. Anna. Mother Anthousa then left to build the church and after all the nuns gathered, Fr. Sisinios fell asleep and went to meet the Lord. Over time, this Saint built two other churches; one in honor of the Mother of God and the other in honor of the Apostles. She continued living a pious life, standing strong in the Faith, and refuted all heresies that caused many to stray.
At this time, Emperor Constantine V Copronymos was set on ravaging all the icons and replacing them with meaningless portraits and ornaments. Eventually, the emperor sent a representative after Mother Anthousa for she was not exempt from abiding by these rules. The Emperor’s delegate tried to convince this Saint to quit the veneration of the icons, and if she did not consent, he was commanded to torture her until she did. Of course, she did not submit to the ungodly will of this man so Mother Anthousa was taken and beaten for the Lord’s sake.
The Emperor came to see her to torture her himself because the fact that she remained unharmed angered him. When the Saint recounted to him the evil thoughts he thought towards her, he went blind but she had mercy upon him and cast him out of his misery by restoring him his sight. The Emperor realized, by her spiritual gift of foretelling, that the woman who was standing before him was holy indeed. This Saint became revered in all the land and the Emperor released her, no longer persecuting her. Mother Anthousa performed many miracles in the name of the Lord and brought to many the joy of salvation.
St. Anthousa prayed that she would depart from this world on the same day St. Pantelimon completed his race, and she did, on the 27th of July.
May the Lord grant us to have the ultimate confidence in the Faith just as St. Anthousa had when she endured persecution and continued to die to the world until her last breath.
The Lives of the Spiritual Mothers. Holy Apostles Convent, 1991.