By Saint Kosmas Aitolos
THERE WAS A MAIDEN named Mary whose father was a Christian and sought to have her married. But she didn't want to, wishing to preserve her virginity. He placed her in a nunnery and handed her over to the abbess to keep her as her child. After her father had died, a new ruler took over that land. One day he went to the monastery where Mary was, and as soon as he saw her, he immediately was overcome by a satanic love for her. Returning to his home, he sent a letter to the abbess which said: "Send Mary to me immediately, because I have seen her and she has seen me. She has fallen in love with me and I with her."
The abbess read the letter and called Mary and said to her: "My child, what good did you see in the Pasha which made you look upon him with love? Look what he writes to me here."
Mary answered: "I don't know anything about it. I looked at him with a different purpose in mind. I said to myself: 'My God, will the Pasha have the same glory in the next world which he has in this one?' But he looked at me with a diabolical purpose. If I wanted marriage, my father would have given me [in marriage], and I would have married a Christian."
The abbess then wrote to the Pasha: "I would prefer to send you my head rather than send you Mary."
The Pasha sent another letter which said: "Either you send me Mary or I will come and take her myself and I will burn down the monastery."
Mary heard this and said to the abbess: "When the Pasha's men come, send them to my cell and I shall answer them."
When they came to Mary's cell she asked them what they wanted. They replied: "The Pasha sent us to take you because he saw your eyes and he desires them."
She asked them to wait for her to go to the church. She then took a knife and a dish and, standing before the icon of Christ, she said: "My Lord, you gave me earthly eyes so that I might walk along the good road, and for me to go voluntarily along the bad road is not right; and because these earthly eyes will take out my spiritual eyes, see how I take them out for your love, so that I can escape from the mire of sin."
And she immediately put the knife to her eye and plucked it out and placed it in the dish. She then went before the icon of the Theotokos and took out the other eye and put them together. She then sent them to the Pasha. When he saw them his satanic love was transformed into contrition and reverence. He immediately got up and went to the monastery and begged the nuns to pray to God to heal Mary.
All the nuns accompanied the Pasha. They fell on their knees, and begged Christ and the Theotokos to return Mary's sight.
The Theotokos then appeared as lightning to Mary and said to her: "Rejoice, Mary. Because you preferred to put out your eyes for the love of my Son and for me, behold take back your eyes and no longer will you be tempted."
Seeing the miracle, those who were present rejoiced greatly and glorified God and the Panagia. Then the Pasha gave the monastery a lot of gold and he was forgiven by the nuns. He left and did good things and was saved.
Did you hear, my brethren, what Mary did with the power of the Panagia? This is why we too must honor the All-Holy Theotokos by doing good works.
From Father Kosmas: The Apostle of the Poor by Nomikos M. Vaporis (Third Teaching).
Additional Information About This Story
Years ago I purchased a low-budget movie titled The Drama of a Nightingale. This movie was directed by Christopher Murray and stars Dana Behan as the maiden Maria (Dana also starred in the movie on the life of Saint Theodora of Vasta which was also directed by Murray). It was made in Greece in 1986 with many Greek actors, though the film is in English with Greek subtitles. In Greece it was originally distributed with the title Το δράμα μιας πριγκίπισσας ή Ένα θαύμα της Παναγίας, though a year later the title was changed to Η αγία κόρη Μαρία ή Το δράμα μιας μοναχής. A few years later it was distributed by Greek Video Distributors Inc. which no longer operates. Because of this, the movie has become almost impossible to find without getting it second-hand. I have personally seen this movie a number of times, but it was not until many years later that I discovered that this moving story was told by Saint Kosmas Aitolos in one of his sermons, which he read in the famous book in Ottoman times titled The Salvation of Sinners. Despite the low-budget production of the movie and graininess, it is fairly well-done and possesses something many blockbusters do not - a heart filled with simplicity and faith. There are a few moving scenes that cannot be seen without tear-filled eyes, and I have always found it to be an inspiration.
As a special offer to my blog readers, since it is practically impossible to find this movie, I will be willing to copy this movie and send it out to anyone interested for a small offering of $10. If you are interested, please send your payment through the DONATION button in the link above with instruction where to send it.