Everyone that comes to Corfu all find out that there are too many men named Spiro. If you are in Corfu Town you can yell Spiro in a crowd of people and 1/2 of them will turn around. However, many people don’t know why the island is full of Spiro’s.
Also, people usually don’t understand whether it is Spiros or Spiro. Well in this article you will find out all the interesting reasons and other things about Spiro and Corfu.
Saint Spyridon, the “Keeper of the City”
Saint Spyridon is from Cyprus and is known as the defender of Corfu. His feast day in the Orthodox world is on December 12th. Back in Cyprus he was a humble shepherd and a father of his daughter, Irene. He lost his wife early and decided to enter a monastery. He would always put other people before himself and that is why he was given by God, the power to heal and cast out demons. In the Catholic Church his feast day is on the 14th of December.
His nickname was “Wonder Worker”.
He was known to perform miracles also before his death, but especially afterwards. It is said that he has saved Corfu on 4 seperate occasions.
Famine of Corfu 1553
Plague of Corfu 1629
2nd Plague of Corfu 1673
Turkish Invasions of Corfu 1716
Relics of Saint Spyridon
His relics have been dug up and transported to many different places over the years. He died in Trymithous and was buried here. 300 years after he was buried in 348 is when he was dug up by the Saracens and taken to Constantinople (modern day Istanbul). When they dug up his body it was in unusually good condition with a strong smell of basil. These things are both signs that mean “Saint”.
Fun fact- Saint Spyridon was also known as the walking Saint and for that reason the coffins bottom can open, so they can easily replace his worn out shoes because he walks around a lot performing miracles.
Eventually Saint Spyridon was dug up again and ended up in Corfu. George Kalokairetis is responsible for bringing him to Corfu.
However, Saint Spyridon’s right hand is thought to have been taken to Rome. The reason is not known, but it was return to his body in 1984.
It is speculated that the relics of Saint Spyridon have the temperature of a living body. After being studied by scientists around the world it still can not be explained.
There are 5 days of celebration for the Patron Saint of Corfu, Saint Spyridon.
December 12th -Feast Day, Saint Spyridon name day
Holy Saturday- Giving thanks -Famine of Corfu 1553
Palm Sunday, for saving us during the Plague of Corfu 1629
First Sunday of November- 2nd Plague of Corfu 1673
August 11th- Helping us defeat the Turkish Invasions of Corfu 1716
Between Saint Demetrios name day (October 26th) and Saint Spyridon name day (December 12th) it is a tradition to eat Loukoumades (donut balls). It was and still is a big tradition on Corfu, especially for the eve of Saint Spyridon to have to December 12th.
They will also take Saint Spyridon out of the church and walk him around the city on these celebration days. It is a big ordeal and a great experience to see in Corfu.
So if you could not guess already. So many people on the island are named Spiro after Saint Spyridon. Spiro is short for Spyridon. The difference between Spiros and Spiro are grammatical. In the Greek language if you are talking about someone you will say, O Spiros. You add the O in front and s at he end (for males). If you are talking to someone using their name you drop the s and it is just Spiro.
The second reason why Spiros is so common is because in the Greek culture we name our son after our father out of respect. So the name always stays in the family. There are also many Dimitris, George, Giannis and others that are very common.
Common nicknames for Spiro
There are many nicknames for the name Spiro just like any other name has. Here are some common nicknames for Spiro:
We also have a female version of Spiro! This is Spiridoula and it is also a very common name in Corfu.