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Κυριακή, 2 Ιανουαρίου 2011

THE GREAT MIRACLE OF THE PANAGHIA OF SAYDNAYA



The following incredible story you are about to read, dear reader, is a true and undisputed event that constitutes a great blessing from our Panaghia (the All-Holy Virgin Mary). Before we begin, we should perhaps point out that the miracles that we, like many other Orthodox Christians, have lived in our own lives can fill a thick tome, and if we also include the personal stories of our neighbours alone, we reach the size of two large books. However, the Orthodox do not need miracles but place them inside their heart to help them in their struggle, because the faith is pre-determined by the Chief Cornerstone and not by miracles. Thus we base miracles upon the faith and not the other way around. Thus, if the reader disbelieves, we do not aim here to try to convince them, for the Truth of Christ shines through Orthodoxy without a single event.
Nevertheless, as we have said in the past, many official miracles in Orthodox countries like Greece, for example, are usually not disputed even by atheists! For instance, the Holy Myrrh-Gusher Saint and protector of Thessalonica, Demetrius, oozes miraculously myrrh all the time. This has been certified even by scientists as a true miracle. Not even atheists dare deny this, for they are all welcome to go to Thessalonica to the temple of the Saint and see for themselves and try as hard as they like to find if there is a trick! The number of continuous miracles, constant impossibilities either of myrrh-gushing or of nature (e.g. in the village of Vasta in Peloponnese) are so numerous that one really needs to be blind to continue being an atheist (at least in Greece).
Christ our GodAnd millions of these events, dear reader, most of which you will never hear of because they do not always become known everywhere, and sometimes they are personal events (for example, we know of three great miracles that have happened to three Orthodox members of our Announcement List in the past few years!) are blessings from Christ Who acts in His Church, that is also particularly blessed in this way to be able to produce miracles catholically whereas no other Christian confession can. With the exception of special events in the lives of individual people, who still call upon His name and Christ helps them, the "churches" have no grace in their totality. If the Papics or Protestants try to bring the Holy Light in Jerusalem during one Pascha, they will not be able to. The Papics in fact tried in the past and failed; as did the Monophysites, of course, who, despite the constant signs from God against their heresy since the Synod at Chalcedon, insist on their heresy due to unrepentance and are now in "discussion" with some pseudo-Ecumenists, who are of course oblivious to all but their rationalism.
At the same time, well-meaning Protestants, Papics, but even Allodox who ask for the help of Christ and His Saints, can receive help. Thus, we know of a personal miracle that happened to an Evangelical family, who were healed of cancer by praying to Christ. But we also know of many miracles that happened to Turks who ask for the help of St. George or St. Anna. They all prove that Christ is God, yet do not proclaim the faith of the heterodox or of the allodox: the Evangelicals do not pray to Saints, who evidently do miracles through Christ, and the Turks are Moslems to begin with. Christ's compassion and love for all people does not however mean that the Truth lies everywhere. Christ helps individual people but catholic miracles happen only to the Orthodox Church, in order to profess the Truth of the Ecclesia.
Thus, even though individual Papics can be saved because they had been well-meaning in their lives and yet did not meet the fullness of Christ in Orthodoxy, they do not reach the ranks of the Saints, being outside the Church. Thus, Roman Catholic "Saints" (after the Schism) will never show any miraculous signs in their relics (incorruptible remains, golden colour, miracles even after death etc.) This is because the congregation of Papics in the Latin "church" is not the Church. Similarly, neither are Evangelicals the Church nor is the congregation of the Moslem Turks in the Church. And, while sporadic miraculous events given by God outside Orthodoxy reflect His love and compassion to all mankind, within His Body the miracles (individual and catholic) are literally countless, including resurrections, healings (by Saints who make it clear that they did these miracles to help those weak in faith), repetitive catholic miracles (that cannot be done by non-Orthodox "churches"), constant miracles (not only in relics but natural "impossibilities" too), going "back in time" (one of Elder Porphyrios' miracles) and many other wondrous events. All need to be examined within the prism of Holy Tradition to make sense, and to give us their message. This way, we are also safe against the presence of demonic "miracles" like those of the Fatima Cult or of the Toronto blessings: both events, examined through the life of Orthodoxy, can be easily seen to be for what they are, viz. demonic manifestations based upon "secret teachings" and demonic ecstasy, respectively.
And yet, all miraculous events can strengthen our faith at times but, as Orthodox, we look first and foremost at the teachings and the life of the Church, in order to stay inside the Ark of Christ's Body and enjoy the difficult but blessed life in His Truth. The miracles are not events we pay particular attention to, as if they were cut-off events; but when these have been examined and certified by the Church, we place them inside Her Mystical Body and "venerate" them with piety, for they are the expressions of love from our beloved Virgin Mary, the Saints and the Martyrs of the Church, through Christ's Grace that allows all these miracles to happen and remind to us that the death is abolished, that the Ecclesia is One and Indivisible and not a religious humanist organisation run by a pope or council of pastors.
We do not believe because of the miracles, for our faith is not so cheap as to require miracles ("blessed are they who did not see and believed"), neither do we get alarmed if some deviant priest was found in a church concocting a fake miracle to grab some fast cash (we have also heard of such stories too, on rare occasions). We place the miracles within the Church, and not the other way around. We never seek miracles; but when we witness them, we thank God and His Saints for their kindness and help to the suffering Church, events that also show that the Church is One and Indivisible, and that there is no real distinction between a supposed "Church Triumphant" and a "Church Militant" (both later Western notions) since both these "sides" of the Ecclesia are indivisibly connected together outside time. Thus, while we do not seek or expect miracles, we are not surprised that the "centre" of what for most people would be considered miraculous events is the One Church: acts of love of the Church's Saints to the pious members of the suffering Church on earth, and sometimes even to suffering people outside Her realm, for God's love knows no boundaries.
This particular event however is particularly astonishing, especially because we live in times of apostasy and we can only marvel at the mercy of God upon us, despite all the sins we do; despite, in other words, of the fact that we dare call ourselves "Orthodox Christians", us with no understanding of what that truly entails, of how priviliged and blessed we are to have found the Truth of Christ when many others work hard to find even a few things about Christ. A few weeks ago a couple came to a local Orthodox parish where I was chanting. I saw that they waited patiently until Matins was over and then came inside the church, and were running their hands over the frescoes, over the icons, over the ornamental art. They looked serious and hungry, for something. They had not arrived here at random but after a long search. A few weeks later I noticed that after a service, as I was leaving, it was them, and they had stayed in the temple till the end and were still inside the church, kneeling by a chair, praying fervently to God. I was greatly touched, and tears ran down my cheeks as I mentally said to them "welcome Home". I will probably never know what miracles were worked inside their hearts to get them Home to Orthodoxy. In this sense, dear reader, miraculous events warm our hearts and act in our soul like the reading of the various Saintly works and lives also works, by warming our heart and preparing it for prayer, the greatest privilege and miracle of God to man.
The name of the main protagonist of the following story has not been revealed to this day because he does not wish to draw attention to himself, his wife and his child. But even if you do not believe, dear reader, that family, until their end, will continue to be a living witness of Christ now, and many people near them will believe and change. Christ works all the time in areas where His gospel was reduced through fake religions. There are clearly parts of the story that will always remain hidden because they would disrupt a lot of the status quo. While this event circulated in the Hellenic Orthodox magazines, on the internet, and some radio stations, I wanted more detailed information, so I decided to speak directly to the source. Thus, dear reader, we spoke personally to fr. Ignatius who was the main elder, among other fathers, that made the story known to us.
Fr. Ignatius is the Canon (Protosygkelos) of the Holy Monastery of the Poemenon (Shepherds) <> in Bet Sachur, Bethlehem, which is part of the Holy Hagiotaphite Brotherhood. Hagiotaphite means of the Holy Tomb. In other words, he is a monk who spends his life protecting the Orthodox areas in the Holy Lands and watches every year the Holy Light come to the Orthodox during Pascha, lives near the place where our Lord was born, and participates in the services that take place inside the Cave of Bethlehem, one of the holiest places on earth, and has obviously witnessed himself countless of miracles (in fact he talked about some of these on a radio programme that also discussed the event below and has been recorded at the website of Mytilene that we mention below, although it is in Greek).
He defends the rights of the Orthodox, and as we spoke to him, we can assure the reader that he is a serious and holy man, very pious, and his blessed innocence left us with a great happiness, similar to the one we feel when we witness many charismatic Holy Elders on Athos after they give us their blessing. (Oh, for that blessing what I would not do to have it all the time! One of the most happy moments of my life occurred when a barefoot ascetic with torn vestments came visiting a Skete; and when I asked for his blessing he did the sign of the Cross over me, to bless, as priests do; the joy I felt for the next few minutes was such that I wished to jump on the roof of a building and shout "I am happy!"). There are many wild stories I would never believe in my life, of course. The wildest of all would be that this holy elder lied about any of this information. The number of miracles close relatives and people of our website have witnessed in the Holy Lands, present there for the unrepentant atheists first and then the pilgrims (e.g. the Burning Bush of Moses), render the need for someone as holy as fr. Ignatius to present a wild story even wilder, especially as it is in fact not impossible to confirm the actual story.
And of course, if this story were a lie then Syria and Saudi Arabia would most certainly have complained to his Brotherhood in Bethlehem, because the event took place more than two years ago in Syria and the sussurus has not quieted. At the same time, because I am by nature very cynical and careful when dealing with such issues, I also came in contact with a Saudi Arab friend of mine who affirms the story and is carefully investigating further details in the hope of finding further information. Of course, this friend wishes to remain anonymous so please do not ask for any information on him.
<>, you may say, <>
A good question. This is one of the reasons we wanted to talk to him directly on the phone. Indeed, that could be a possibility, not knowing further facts we unearthed. However, we found out that he received this information directly from people who worked at the national Syriac television network, and this story was also confirmed to him by other elders in other monasteries, so it becomes extremely difficult to see how he could have been tricked.
To claim that other elders conspired to create a fake miracle is one thing -- something the Orthodox reader can easily dismiss, but the other readers may not; so they will have to ask themselves if these people need to advertise miracles in a hostile environment (when we have valid information that they have often silenced many personal events except to those who actually visit them), when thousands of miracles happen in the Holy Lands all the time anyway, apart from the great miracle of the Holy Light that happens every Pascha. Not only is there no need for them to create a story, but one has to also realise that, these men decided to spend their lives to Christ and His Truth. The hypocritical motto "end justifies the means" of the Jesuits is not something Orthodox monks believe in. On the contrary, they believe this motto to be anti-Christian. Therefore it becomes very difficult to accept that someone lied about this. And OK, one lied; did the rest also lie as well? No one who has lived Orthodox Monasticism would bring this absurdity in their mind. Of course, deviant monks do exist, at times. but these are the exception, not the norm. And especially in the Holy Land, where we know personally most of the Hagiotaphite brotherhoods due to charities that connect us to them, we can assure the reader that that is not the case. When someone becomes deviant, it shows in their actions sooner or later, and if not, Christ unmasks them to protect His Church.
To claim that the Syriac network that attends to the needs of the almost entirely Moslem public, and is entirely staffed by Moslems, and that it would present something like this in favour of us and against their faith is another; and I think would not stand much to reason! It should also be realised that the overwhelming majority in Syria is Moslem and the Arab Orthodox are very small in number (60,000 in the surrounding areas).
We also have other reasons to doubt any foul play here. We first heard of this story in one of our recent visits to the Holy Mountain, where Holy Elders confirmed the truth of these events to us, in one of our conversations. Pretty much anything that happens around the world, sooner or later passes from the Holy Mountain, which for this reason is also informally known as a "heart of Orthodoxy": the blood will soon have to pass from the heart. It was there that I first wished for more information on this, and a pious Elder in one of the Sketes promised to send me a leaflet with basic information, as soon as he found a photocopy he had received from the Patriarchate, that circulated copies of the original, because he had run out of photocopies.
Feeling sad that I would have to get him to spend so much time to labour to send me this information, especially as he would have to walk some distance to arrange for it to be sent by post (there is no post office in the Skete) and thinking that these people have so many more important things to do, especially during the harsh winter we had when a lot of extra work was required, I deeply wished in my heart that this were not the case. While I was thinking these thoughts, the miracle happened. On the boat from Daphne back to Ouranoupolis, where I was at the time on my way back, I met two pious pilgrims from a village that would come on Athos once every year. As it happened, for some obscure reason they happened to have three photocopies of this document on them, and gave me one! So the problem was taken care of, and with great joy I informed the Elders when I returned home that I had received a copy and they would not need to send me one. Blessed be the name of the Lord in His infinite providence!
Because of the potential repercussions that this story may have, it is important for the reader to understand that the protagonist of the story he or she is about to read, kept his name secret, even though he appeared on television (not showing his face fully from what I surmised), on the radio and in magazines, spreading this story as far as he could. If the reader wonders why all these people agreed to show the story so quickly, the reader needs to know three things: one, this man was a young Saudi Arab who was extremely rich and therefore able to ensure anonymity; two, Syria, where the event took place, does have a Christian population, albeit tiny, and the Syrians themselves mention that there are monasteries of the Christians where miracles happen. In fact, there are many miracles that happen to them by Christ so they respect the Orthodox Church. Many elders live there at peace with the Moslems and help them but do not convert them when many ask to become Orthodox because they are afraid. Those Moslems who want to become Orthodox end up going to the United States or to Greece to get baptised and chrismated. Three, Orthodox miracles are not considered impossible, for the Moslems do accept Christ as a prophet and most Moslems love Panaghia and cherish her, for she was the mother of one their Prophets.
In fact, they cherish her a lot more than they cherish Mohammed's own mother, especially as she often does miracles for them, individually, to help them come to the truth, but also so that they form some piety for the Orthodox and accept them as part of their country. It is therefore not strange that this event was mentioned at the time (although now there is a lot more silence about the event for obvious reasons). Of course, the implications for the political scene in these areas make it clear to the reader why this man would want to keep his name and that of his family hidden. It is also possible the God informed him also, in some way, who knows. But the obvious thing to notice here is that when the false prophet remains silent in signs, when the human religion of Islam fails to spark the ability to come close to God, for it is a falsehood, whereas the Christ of the Orthodox on the other hand keeps performing miracles, with hundreds of Moslems wanting to convert (as we know from various sources), things can get a little touchy with the authorities if one is not careful. Fr. Ignatius sounded quite scared when we first called him, because they live under constant fear from the various enemies of Christianity.
Christ though is at the helm of History. Small events like these appear, and suddenly the course of History flows in a different direction than the one the enemies of Christ expected it to go, despite their Satanic theosophical motto of "the end justifies the means".
We end these preliminary notes by telling the reader that this event took place in Syria about a year before it came out in the media in Syria (and soon thereafter in the neighbouring countries), in other words around December of 2003, a few days before Christmas (with the Old Calendar, i.e. before January 7 with the Papic Calendar).
The following is a very close translation of the original document, and more information will be provided at the end, through extra information provided at the recording of the radio programme the elder appeared on (where he discussed this event in more detail) and certain clarifications we asked for when we talked to him directly on the phone.
A small excerpt from the radio programme, the full document written by his own hands, part of the following document we translated (a photocopy of the document he circulated through the Patriarchate) and other information about this story in Greek, can be found on a website of the Holy Monastery of the Source of Life in Varia of the Greek island of Mytilene. The radio programme is not a rogue "independent" one, but working under the aegis of the Metropolis with Her blessings. The website can be found here and is not only in Greek but also has English entries. We did an almost word-for-word translation, making one or two additions that we were told through the clarifications of the elder. Another translation of the event can also be seen at the above website at this link. Please visit these links in order to see some photographs of fr. Ignatius, the All-Holy Virgin Mary's miraculous icon and pictures of the monastery of Saydnaya in Syria. Also we should note that when we did the translation, we had not been aware of the existence of that website; which is probably best, or else we might not have done our own investigation on the matter.
Finally, we wish to inform the reader that the only material that was added by us in the translation appears below in italics. In particular, the information in parenthesis was mentioned by fr. Ignatius in his talk on the radio programme, whereas the fact that the passing driver pulled back on the road follows from the fact that he had moved off the highway before this and is thus the only possible "logical" outcome, added for continuity's sake (as word-for-word translation has its limitations).
<<
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Holy Hagiotaphite Brotherhood of the Shepherds
"Glory to God in the Highest"
in Bet Sachur
Protos. Ignatius -- Abbot
In December 2004, a rich Moslem Saudi Arab appeared in the media and told the following vivid, soul-stirring event that he lived, and that changed his whole life: (he said this through television, radio, and it was also circulated in newspapers, magazines and leaflets in the whole of Saudi Arabia, Syria, Palestine; evidently in all neighbouring countries too.)
Many years ago he got married to a rich Moslem girl, who was barren. The years passed by, and they could not have children, even though they had a lot of money and they went to many doctors. His parents were telling him to marry also a second woman, and keep the first one, since their law allows them to have up to four women. The Saudi Arab, tired and quite sad, took his wife and went on holidays to our neighbouring from Israel country, Syria, in order for them to relax a little and forget themselves.
In Syria, he hired a limousine with a courier-guide that would drive them around all the worldly sights of Syria. The driver noticed a certain bitterness, pain and sadness on the face of the couple he was showing the sights to. After they got to know each other well, he took the courage to ask them why it was they did not seem pleased; could it be perhaps because of him, and they did not like something in his conducted tour, or perhaps it was something in the sights he showed to them?
Our Lady of KykkosThey opened up to him and explained to him the problem of their childlessness. This Moslem driver told them then that here in Syria, the Christians, and in fact the Orthodox, have the monastery of Panaghia of Saydnaya (which is Arab for Despoina - Lady) and many childless couples resort to her Miraculous icon. There, they receive a little from the wick of the lamp in front of her icon and chew it, then swallow it, and then "Maria" of the Christians, gives to them according to their good intention and faith.
Growing enthusiastic, the Saudi Arab and his wife told him: Take us there, to the Saydnaya, "the Lady of the Christians," and should the desired happen, if we have a child, I will come back and offer you 20,000 dollars, and 80,000 dollars to the monastery. They went thus to the monastery, did what they had to do, and when later on they returned to their country, his wife was found pregnant. In a few months she gave birth to a cute little boy, healthy and very handsome. A miracle of our Panaghia.
After his wife gave birth, the Saudi Arab returned immediately to fulfill, to make a reality, the tama he had promised. He called that driver that had shown him around before, in order for him to wait for him at the airport of Damascus. The driver, though, turned out to be cunning and evil, and informed another two of his friends in order for them to go to the airport with him to receive the rich man, and then cunningly kill him and take all the money he would carry on his person. Indeed, that is how it happened. They picked him up at the airport. On the way, the unfortunate man, without knowing what awaited him, told them that because of his joy, he would give 10,000 dollars to each of the driver's friends (on top of the 20,000 dollars he had promised to give to the driver). These however simply changed course and instead of going to the Monastery, went to a secluded area, and butchered him, first cutting off his head and then the rest of his body, hands and feet, in small pieces. Their rage from this criminal activity blinded them, however, and instead of throwing him there and then, put him instead in the boot at the back of the car and started for another secluded spot to throw him there instead.
At some point after they got on the highway, however, the car broke down and they got out to see what had happened, why the engine was not working. A passing driver saw them, and stopped to help them. However, being afraid he might realise the terrible crime they had committed, they pretended they did not need any help. The passing driver though, while he was pulling back on to the road, realised that blood was dripping underneath the lower part of the boot, and when he got a little further down the road, informed the police to go and examine what was going on because these three had seemed suspicious to him.
The police soon got there, and seeing the blood on the road surface ordered them to open the boot immediately. As soon as they opened the boot, the Saudi Arab gets up and comes out, healthy, alive, bleeding of course, but stitched!!! "Just now", he told them, "Panaghia did the final stitches, and sutures around my neck, right here ...", at this point he showed the mark in front of his Adam's apple on his neck, "... after having first stitched the rest of my body together".
The criminal driver and his companions lost their reason, went crazy, and after they were cuffed they were led to the psychiatric prisons. On the way, they would shout like possessed "we killed you, we chopped you into pieces, we cut your head off, how do you live?"!!!
The Saudi Arab went for authentication of the incredible miracle. He was seen by forensic surgeons, experts, policemen and they all testified for the authenticity of the miracle by signing ... The stitches were and still are evident. He looked newly-assembled! He would preach and confess at large that "Panaghia stitched me, and resurrected me with the power of her Son". Afterwards, the resurrected called on the phone all his family and they came to Syria. They went to the Monastery, thanked the Theotokos and offered entreaties and doxologies, and instead of the amount of 80,000 dollars that the tama was before, they offered to the Monastery the amount of 800,000 dollars for the great benefaction that Panaghia had offered him. He continually repeats today this shocking miracle that happened to him and always begins by saying: "When I was a Moslem, the following happened to me ...", confessing that he is not any more a Moslem, neither himself, nor his family ...
The miracle shook the Arab Moslem countries and the whole of the Middle East, and created a stir as it annoyed some very much.
<>
Fr. Ignatius -- Abbot
Holy Monastery of the Shepherds
Bet Sachur -- Bethlehem
>>
We would like to add a few things.
The Saudi Arab was not old but quite young, which is not surprising because they tend to get married at a very young age (16 or 17). Also, his wife had been barren for a period of approximately 10 years before they took this trip in Syria in 2003.
We see how well-meaning he was and how he did not care for the money he had but wanted to share with the others. We also see how much man can become blinded by the passion of money. Former Patriarch Irinaeus was deposed from Jerusalem because sadly he became a lover of money. Judas the Iscariote fell into the same deception and stayed unrepentant until the end, losing his soul. The worst crime in many ways is the love of money. For the flesh fights us, especially when we are young, and we have some excuse when we fall into pornic sins, i.e. of the flesh. But there is no excuse to love dead money, that only lead to a spiritual death. These people lost their reason and ended up in psychiatric prisons in Syria. Was it worth it? But the Devil blinds us. And what is particularly touching is how the Saudi returned the first time to offer his tama, whereas there are many that would not thank the Lord for the "cleansing of their leprosy". The other parts, while shocking to some, are not what we concentrate upon. Elder Paisios talks of a spiritual child of his that with his prayer raised his deceased uncle, because he had been saddenned that his uncle who used to swear and blaspheme, had died unrepentant. And yet, St. Isaac the Syrian reminds us that "the one who cries one hour for his sins, is spiritually higher than the one who can raise the dead with their prayer".
What matters, dear reader, is for us to understand our nothingness, to thank God for all we have, to begin our ascetic struggle in this life, and to taste the beautiful life in Christ within His Body from this life. Paradise begins here and now. Then and only then will we realise that everything is miraculous, one Continuous Miracle that exists in our lives, so that individual events like these will not make the impression that they would make to unbelievers, for to us, all this is normal, as nothing is impossible to God. But these stories are given so we see how much Panaghia cares for those who want to come to her, in other words, how much she is like our own mother, how much she loves all people, and does miracles even for Moslems.
And of course, there are thousands of well-established unquestionable miracles all over the Orthodox world, that happen all the time, even though the media often try to silence these.
As we write these notes, the Greek anti-Christian media froth with wrath and a dogmatist hysteria because yet another elder (the late fr. Vilarion of St. Agathon Monastery in Fthiotida, Greece) was taken out of his grave 15 years after his repose, as is customary, and his body has remained incorrupt, whereas he never took any chemical pills during his life, for he was always healthy. Of course, this does not make him a Saint, for this can also be a sign sometimes for the exact opposite; but in his case, it seems he was a holy elder as a multitude of clergy and laity that knew him came forward and spoke in favour of him, and of his secret charismatic presence in their lives while the blessed monk was alive. The matter, as always, will be discussed by the Holy Synod who convenes and decides in the Spirit that guides Her, and her flock, through the ages. The point, however, is that the media hated the fact that (irrespective as to whether this was a sign of his holiness or unholiness) this was a sign that certain pious and serious scientists agreed was inexplicable to science as it goes beyond the scientific laws. There is a particular "straw" the atheists are trying to hold on to, and that is that due to the cold he was mummified. Of course, if that is the case his body will eventually now dissolve. Thus it was decided to have his casket open and to let him be. Time will show. It is a surprising thing to some people who will read these notes, but this action (a very honest one by the monastery) made the atheists froth even more. Satan knows that this man is holy and that this is a miracle. And right at the point when he had prepared the Greek anti-Christian government with the minority of frothing Greek atheists, pseudo-scientists and idolaters who always seem to appear on the television channels, to help ease the new anti-Christian law of cremation, suddenly a miracle that reminds us how the uncreated grace of God can be imbued on to the body of holy men of virtue reminds us also that cremation is a God-despised act.
May these articles be in the memory of St. Anna and her Skete on Athos, where we often go to, and who has protected and helped usCandle greatly during our life. Her Skete on Athos has a miraculous icon of hers holding Virgin Mary as a baby, and incorruptible remains that have stayed incorruptible for the past 2100 years now. Her icon, as many of you know well, is a great comfort to barren women too.
Even Moslem Turks come there and follow what the monastics tell them, and, if they have faith and good intentions, always according to what St. Anna is willing to give of course, through God's mysterious Will (we can only accept the gifts not enforce them through techniques), their wives become pregnant. One doctor we knew of became a fervent Orthodox again after realising that one of his patients who was barren beyond any doubt became pregnant after her husband went to Athos to pray for this at St. Anna's icon. And we have personally witnessed a great number of pious miraculous events and situations in the Holy Garden of Panaghia, the Athos, events that we keep silently to ourselves, and simply thank the Mother of Panaghia for her help and we wish for her blessings to be bestowed upon all the well-meaning readers of our website, that they may come close to the Orthodox Church where Christ reigns.
For more information please visit the above website or read here.
FOOTNOTES
tama = offering that has been promised when one first asks something from God that is later on granted. This offering can take many forms. Thus, many miraculous icons around the world (this one included) have various little golden watches, small pictures of the babies that were born healthy in a miraculous manner, and so forth around them, to indicate the symbolic offerings of various people, as part of their tama. At other times, people promise to give monetary help to the monastery or provide some other help. Other people provide something simple. Thus, when I was a young boy, my late grandfather, a holy man, had suddenly said one day that I and him will go to Athos together after I return with my bachelor's degree from a country abroad. My parents and other relatives were all mystified, when they heard this, because I was in fact ... one year's old at the time! And yet, the circumstances came such that my grandfather's prophetic words, that came out of his mouth without him knowing why, came true! And, indeed, he went to thank the Panaghia with me, on Athos, fulfilling with a mere lampad as a tama a secret desire he had inside him (to see me graduate), through God's blessing who knew what he wanted to ask for, and even happen, before he asked for it! All these are examples of tamata, pious expressions of an offering, often also symbolic, and remind us of the one leper who returned to thank Christ. On some other occasions, pious people with great faith, who have been secretly notified they will be healed by God, apply a tama of their own thoughts there and then, even before they are healed, for their faith is great, and thus so is their trust in Christ. A touching example is a recent story in Cyprus we discussed last year on our Announcement List, when a former paralytic that had been informed in his dream by a Saint that he would be healed when he would go to a certain temple, crawled a large part of the distance, for he could not walk yet. The miracle did happen, but the example of his philotimo greatly warmed their hearts and made them glorify God for His wonders. Glory be to Him! Glory to His name!
info = An association of Friends of the Holy Lands we are close to know of the area where the miracle happened. The monastery is located here and looks like this. Here is the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary and pictures of the elder can also be found on the same site. All this is fully documented there. The story was also mentioned by the elder at an interview he gave at the Bishopric of Piraeus' radio station (912 FM) on March 28, 2005. The well-known fr. Nektarios Serfes seems to have mentioned this story first on the internet and he might have more information on his website .
http://patristic.eastern-orthodoxy.com/saydnaya.htm

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