October 22, 2015
A few days ago* there took place with brilliance and grandeur the celebration of Panagia Gorgoepikoos (She Who is Quick to Hear) at the Holy Monastery of Docheiariou in Mount Athos.
This is a miraculous icon of the Panagia which is celebrated every year in the month of October. Many pilgrims attend the festival at the Holy Monastery, many of whom are uniformed from the Armed Forces and Security Forces, who have a particular reverence for Panagia Gorgoepikoos, who in her own wondrous manner, as we shall see below, intervenes Quickly and Salvifically for all those who call upon her with faith.
This year, namely a week ago on the eve of the feast at the Holy Mountain, during the evening meal, a letter was read by an attendant of the Panagia to the Holy Abbot of the Monastery Gregory, concerning the many miracles that took place during this years feast.
Specifically, the letter concerned the period from the 8th to the 14th of September 2015, which are the dates when the icon of the Panagia is transferred annually for a week to the female Athonite Metochion of Docheiariou, the Holy Monastery of Theoskepastos in Sohos of Thessaloniki. There daily vigils take place where thousands of pilgrims from all over Greece and abroad, mainly women, come to venerate the icon and receive the grace of She Who is Quick to Hear for all the requests of the faithful.
This year the attendant of the icon (the one who is always next to the icon and arranges the line and order of the people, etc.), when describing the event to Elder Gregory, described an incident among others that involved a Colonel.
"During the evening hours when the attendance of the people was great, I saw at the entrance of the church a man coming in uniform with a woman and their child who was around 20 years old. At that time there was a lady venerating the icon who came from afar in gratitude to the Panagia, and her veneration took some time which resulted in the line to venerate the icon growing more and more.
Seeing the uniformed man, out of respect for his rank, and as a former man of rank myself in my youth, I went and asked him if he wanted to cut the line in order to leave, because obviously since he came in uniform he must be in a hurry to get back to his job and perhaps wanted to leave. He politely replied that he would wait as long as necessary in order to venerate and that the time did not bother him at all. When he arrived before the icon he knelt with great devotion, and venerated and kissed the icon of Gorgoepikoos, then he followed with reverence the Supplication Service that had just begun.
When the Supplicatory Canon to the Panagia Gorgoepikoos was completed, and after receiving the blessing from a hieromonk, I thought he was leaving and I went to say my good-bye. At that moment he stood alone next to the icon, and with the congregation before him he quite humbly said his name, rank and that his vow was to come and venerate in uniform the icon of the Panagia. Then he continued his account, saying to all those present the following events that took place. How at a certain point his 22 year old son came down with a serious health problem and had to undergo surgery.
Things were very difficult for him and his wife, and without understanding how, he explained how the Panagia Gorgoepikoos appeared in his life in a wondrous manner. He was outside the operating room and at the peak of his anguish he received a telephone call from a colleague in the military who was in Samos that told him about the Panagia Gorgoepikoos who quickly comes to the aid of all those who call upon her. At that moment the wife of the Colonel was trying to put her wallet into her purse without success.
Opening her wallet she found a small icon of the Panagia Gorgoepikoos which not only was not there before, but up until that moment the Colonel and his wife did not even know about the existence of the Panagia Gorgoepikoos. Without going into the medical details that he explained, the surgery was successful and everything went perfectly. The young man has made big improvements and every day gets better and better.
His vow was to go with his son to the house of the Panagia Gorgoepikoos at the Holy Monastery of Docheiariou and to venerate the icon, which they did. Upon the arrival of the icon in Sohos, Thessaloniki he learned about it on the internet and rushed with his family to come and venerate. 'I am here today to venerate her grace and to express one more time my gratitude to the Panagia who saved my son.'"
All of this is completely true and happened about a month ago in front of dozens of people.
The signed testimony of the attendant was read a few days ago on Mount Athos.
True also is the presence of the uniformed man who came with his wife and child from the 1st Army in Larissa to Sohos of Thessaloniki to express his gratitude to the Panagia.
True also was the presence of a woman officer at Panagia Gorgoepikoos on that same day, who after two "strange" and "suspicious" medical reports, received a third clean one after the Holy Elder Gregory and the Fathers of the Monastery prayed on her behalf to Panagia Gorgoepikoos, and she came to honor and glorify her grace.
In about a month on November 8th (Nov. 21 with the Old Calendar) the Holy Monastery of Docheiariou will celebrate the feast of its katholikon which is dedicated to the Arcchangels, who in their appearances to the faithful call Docheiariou their home.
At that time, which is the day of the Armed Forces, several representatives will flock to the Monastery, especially Airmen, to honor her grace.
* The feast was on October 1st, which according to the Old Calendar took place on October 13th.
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.