St Kristo the Gardener of Albania

The holy New Martyr Kristo was an Albanian who worked in a vegetable garden. At the age of forty, he decided to go to Constantinople to seek better business opportunities.

One day he was negotiating with a Turk who wished to purchase his entire stock of apples, but they were unable to agree on a price. The Turk became angry and accused Kristo of expressing a desire to become a Moslem. Kristo was brought before the authorities, and false witnesses were found to testify that he had indeed stated his intention to convert.

Kristo declared that he never said that he wished to become a Moslem. His testimony was discounted, however, because he was a Christian, and Moslem witnesses had contradicted him.

The saint was beaten and tortured the next day, but remained steadfast in his confession of Christ. Kaisarios Dapontes, a well known monk and author, visited St Kristo and got him freed from the place where he was chained. He brought food for him, but he refused to eat. “Why should I eat?” he asked. “I do not expect to live, so I may as well die hungering and thirsting for Christ.”

Since he refused to abandon the Orthodox Faith, St Kristo was sentenced to be beheaded. Before they led him away, Kristo gave Dapontes a metal file and told him to sell it and use the money to have memorial services offered for him.

On February 12, 1748 St Kristo the Gardener was beheaded, thereby receiving an imperishable crown of glory from Christ.