Saint Michael Baknanas was born in Athens in 1750 AD and lived in a neighbourhood under the Acropolis, the current site of the Ancient Agora.
Living during the Ottoman rule of Greece, Michael was a gardener. He was approached by Muslim missionaries who attempted to convert him to Islam. He was tortured and eventually executed for his refusal to renounce Christianity.
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“.
This totally aggravated the executioner. He did exactly his job, and Saint Michael was killed.
He was canonised as Saint Michael, the new martyr.
A street (Baknana Street) and a nearby tram stop in Neos Kosmos in Athens were later named after him.
His feast day is held on June 30.