SAINT MICHAEL PAKNANAS, THE NEW MARTYR, FULL BODY 9387 Neomartyr Michael Paknanas was less than twenty years old, and he worked as a gardener in Athens in the late 18th century. The Turks, who enslaved Greece at the time, were trying to convince him to become a Muslim. When flattery and wealth failed to persuade him, they put to use some of their more convincing standard missionary work by torturing the teenager. When all the tortures proved to be futile, the executioner was preparing to behead the young man, but at the same time he was feeling some compassion for him. So he began cutting his neck slowly with the sword by administering very light blows, while asking the martyr to reconsider. The martyr’s response? “I told you, I am a Christian. I refuse to become a Muslim.” The ax-man strikes with another light blow to make some more blood flow, to possibly convince him. The martyr repeats, “I told you, I am a Christian. Strike with all your might, for the faith of Christ.” This totally aggravated the executioner. He did exactly that, and St. Michael was sent to the heavenly mansions.