St. Fanourios the Martyr and Miracle Worker

I am reposting this from a few years back, since there is so little to be found on this great saint.  The recipe for the traditional Fanouropita can also be found on the original post. 

Today (August 27) we celebrate the feastday of one of my favorite saints, St. Fanourios the Martyr and Miracle Worker.

St. Fanourios is one of the saints that we ask to intercede for us when we lose things. His name is from the Greek word fanerono which means I reveal. I can remember my mother teaching us to do this as children and I would actually get excited when things were lost. She would bake a traditional Fanouropita and I would bake my own version with my sister in our easy-bake oven.

There is not a whole lot known about his life. We know that he lived during Roman times and was in constant persecution because of his Christian beliefs. There is an icon that was discovered on the island of Rhodes during a period when the island was ruled by Turks.

The Turks decided to rebuild the walls of the city that had been destroyed during the war. They sent workers outside to collect rocks from the house ruins to help rebuild the wall. While doing this a beautiful church that was also destroyed was discovered and many icons were found inside. Most of them were destroyed to the point that you could not read the lettering on them. Amazingly, one stood out from all the others completely unharmed. It was an icon of a young man in a Roman soldier’s uniform. In his right hand he held a spear and in his left hand was a cross and a lit candle. Around he perimeter of the icon were twelve events of martyrdom that the Saint suffered, which revealed much of his life.

The Tradition of the Fanouropita

The tradition of baking a Fanouropita is a great honor bestowed upon the Saint. It is typically a small, round cake and is made whenever the saint reveals a lost object, a job, a cure or anything else the person has sought to find, is found.

Click here for the recipe.

image via Greek Table Cooking

There is a beautiful icon of St. Fanourios located at the church of St. Syridon in Palos Heights, IL. St. Spyridon’s church also has a beautiful little book that contains the life and Paraklesis service to the saint. Call 708.385.0787 to order a copy. It is the only book I have been able to locate on St. Fanourios.

8 thoughts on “St. Fanourios the Martyr and Miracle Worker

  1. Being old calendar I’m a few days behind in celebrations than you are. So I remembered to look up this Saint on my Droid’s Orthodox Calendar App to read about him, etc. Imagine my surprise when I could not find this Saint. So I started reading all of the names carefully and discovered “Great-martyr Phanurius the Newly Appeared of Rhodes” – I read his story and sure enough ’tis the same saint!!!
    It even mentions that “…and because he has answered their prayers so often, the custom has arisen of baking the Phaneroptia (‘Phanarius-Cake’) as a thank-offering.”

    I thought it was interesting how there are the different spellings.

    Here is something else on the calendar about him:
    “There is a tradition that his mother was a great sinner, and that he was unable to convert her in her lifetime. After her death he prayed more for her salvation than for his own. As he was being stoned to death, he prayed: ‘For the sake of these my sufferings, Lord, help all those who will pray to Thee for the salvation of Phanurius’ sinful mother.’ So, in Egypt, where he is much revered, many Christians pray, ‘O Lord, save Phanurius’ mother and help me, a sinner.’

    Anyway, just thought I’d share!

    1. Olga, Yes! I’ve heard that too. We always say a prayer for his mother when we eat a piece. I’ve heard a few different stories but none have been in written form for me to verify them, so I didn’t post them. I’ve never heard that one though, thank you so much for sharing! And yes, the spellings vary quite often. I think it’s a translation thing, so it’s good that you noticed that! Glory to God! A blessed feast to you! 🙂 BTW, which app do you use?

  2. It is called “Orthodox Calendar” from Holy Trinity in Baltimore. It looks like a picture of a flip calendar with a red bar across the top and a gold tri-bar cross underneath.

    Now you have a written version, with a source, if you ever want to use it! 😀
    Happy Feast!

  3. Love your website. It is very informative and I refer to it often. Can you please advise where I am able to find the prayer that is said when eating the fanouropita. This would be greatly appreciated.

  4. I had two miscarriages and the second one happened with 5 months twins on an August 27. Back then I knew nothing about Saint Fanourios.
    In the hospital the doctors and the nurses would tell me that they can feel I have a strong faith because there was something amazing about the way I was facing everything. I had faith. My thoughts were to God, Jesus and His Mother but I thought those were words they just say to any woman going through what I was going.
    I came back home and in a few days I felt like everything was finally breaking me down. i was drowning .. And there was nothing to pull me back, on the safe side. I just could not imagine life without them.
    I went to sleep that night and I had a dream about a Lady and a young man. The Lady told me not to worry as I was to receive her help but the young man did not say anything. He just smiled with peace as he looked at me.
    That dream was my salvation. From there I started to believe that we will have kids and I focused on that.
    Soon after that, my Mom, my sister and a relative that has always loved me dearly found out about a Greek Church and about a Holy Icon of Saint Fanourion and about the bread with the nine seeds. And so the three of them started to bake the bread and take it to the church every Friday, praying to Saint Fanourios for us to be blessed with children.
    One year after, a few days before the day of Saint Fanourios, my sister asked me to read about His life and to read the Paraklesis. It was then that I realized that the strength and the power the doctors were talking about it was the Saint’s help. Even though me and my husband did not know about Him we still received help.
    And after seeing the Saint’s icon I realized that the young man in my dream could be Him as well. We do have two kids now. My Mom still bakes the nine seeds bread or pita as you call it when she has the occasion.
    For us all, me and my husband and my family as well as our friends, our kids were possible with Saint Fanourios’ help and because of these great ladies in our life and because of their faith. The fact that they were advised at this particular time of my life about the Greek Church that was there for decades in the city I was born and I grew up and the fact that in that Church there is a Holy Icon of Saint Fanourios and the Priest is doing the rituals of the nine breads and of the Phanouropita and the fact that the miscarriage happened on Aug 27 could never be only some coincidences for me.
    I hope we will go to visit the Church of The Saint soon.

  5. I just learned of this Saint a few days ago. A Greek Orthodox friend gave me a piece of the cake she baked the day before. We are Orthodox Christians too, but not Greek. She told me the story of Saint Fanourios. She had recently lost something important, prayed to him, and the lost item was found. So she baked the cake, and told me she was supposed to give a piece to 7 married ladies. I was the last married lady she selected. I was very honored. She also instructed me properly to pray for his mother as I eat the cake. I”ve been reading about him since, but have not read anything about giving the cake to 7 married women. Can you explain that tradition to me?

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