According to the Orthodox Church, every day of the year has been dedicated to the memory of a Saint or a martyr from the Holy Bible and Holy Tradition. This day carries the name of the Saint and it's called "nameday." If someone is named after a Saint, then there is a big celebration on his/her name day.
Naming conventions in Greece are still followed quite strictly, with the result that certain names are used for many individuals in a generation. In each generation, the eldest grandson in each family will be named for the grandfather, and the eldest granddaughter will be named for the grandmother.
If someone has three children, and they all produce a male grandchild, all three of those cousins will have the same name. To top it all off, all those with the same first name will celebrate the same saint's Name Day - it seems like the Greeks love big parties!
In Greece, namedays are usually more important than birthdays. Gifts are given, festive meals and desserts are prepared, and special preparations are made for an open house.
Today, 17th January is the Name day of Saint Antonios (Anthony). Saint Antonios is considered the protector of health and medical treatment, he protects physical health and protects against all ailments and illnesses. It’s the day to wish all those friends here in Greece called Adonis and Andonia, “Χρονια Πολλά”!
Today we accompanied our friend Antonis, who had a mission!! The story began 2009, when Antonis had participated in a TV dateing format and met Fotini, a wonderful woman from Ukraine, who happens to be an artists/painter. In the time they were together, Antonis found 2 unique pieces of wood in a river close to Magarikari and it came to his mind, to use one for a Icon of his patron saint. He gave one piece to Fotini with the wish to paint it for him. His mission from there on was to donate the icon of Agios Antonios to the church in Agiofango.
Last year in summer the wood retured to Antonis and Fotini created a stunning art work for her friend! Overjoyed with the work of art, Antonis waited for the present day and to hand over the icon of the church. “Χρονια Πολλά”!