Ahmed the Calligrapher

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Ahmed the Calligrapher was a well-off, middle-aged official of the Ottoman Empire in the seventeenth century. He converted to Christianity and was martyred on May 3, 1682; thus he is commemorated as a martyr on this day.


Ahmed lived in Constantinople during the 1600s and was an official in the Ottoman Turkish government before his conversion.

Ahmed owned a Russian concubine whom he allowed to attend one of the Greek Orthodox churches in Constantinople. In time Ahmed began to notice that when his Russian concubine returned from church she was far more gracious and loving than she was before going. Intrigued by this, Ahmed obtained permission to attend the Ecumenical Patriarch's celebration of the Divine Liturgy in Constantinople. Due to his status and identity, his request was not refused, and he was given a special place when he attended.

During the Divine Liturgy, Ahmed saw that when the Ecumenical Patriarch blessed the faithful with his trikiri and dikiri his fingers 'beamed' light onto the heads of the faithful Christians, but not his own. Amazed by this miracle, Ahmed requested and received Holy Baptism.

Thereafter Ahmed lived a secret Christian life (this being justified by II Kings 5:17-19 and John 3). We do not know what happened in this period after his baptism, but it is not unlikely that Ahmed's love for the concubine who had led him indirectly to the Orthodox Faith blossomed. It is also likely that the future martyr met with a spiritual father to learn more about the Faith he had adopted and the Lord he now served.

Whatever happened during this period, one day a group of arguing officials asked Ahmed for his opinion of their dispute, to which he replied that "The Christian Faith is better" (no doubt their argument concerned the superiority of Islam versus Holy Orthodoxy).

"Are you a Christian?" an officer smilingly asked the saint.

"Yes, I am a Christian," the saint replied slowly, peacefully, and clearly, smiling at the officer who had questioned him. Ahmed endured all the tortures he was then subjected to by his erstwhile compatriots and was martyred on May 3, 1682.


  • Yurij Maximov, "Svjatye Pravoslavnoj Tcerkvi, obrativshiesja iz islama." Moscow, 2002

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