December 19, 2009

Saint Dionysios of Zakynthos (3)

Part Two - The Miracles of Saint Dionysios of Zakynthos (1)

The Miracles of Saint Dionysios of Zakynthos (2)

The Saint and the Heterodox

On 17 December 1820, as in every year, the procession with the sacred relics of the Saint took place on the island of Zakynthos. The next day the non-Orthodox of the island had planned the unveiling of a statue of the hated British Commissioner Thomas Maitland in All Saints Square. In the morning it started to snow and hail heavily. The event was called off, the non-Orthodox failed to congregate, and the Orthodox returned thanks to the Saint for saving the island once more.

The sacred relics were transferred to the Church of the Vision of the Virgin and the Orthodox hastened there to offer thanks and prayers to their patron. Among those who attended were the representative of Britain, Colonel Ross, and a British admiral. On their arrival, they gave orders that the church should be emptied and that only the church wardens should remain inside with the two of them. A little later, the church wardens saw the Colonel kneeling at the feet of the Saint, making him an offering, in deep devotion, of the gold medallion which the inhabitants of Lefkada had presented to him for the benefits which they had received from him and for the sound administration of their island. The medallion may still be seen.

Silver encased icon of St. Dionysios with scenes of his various miracles

The Blind Cobbler Recovers His Sight

The Zakynthos cobbler Panagiotis Kalantzopoulos, a good but poor father of a family, went completely blind. He appealed to the Saint from the depths of his heart and the Saint heard his prayer and appeared to him in a dream on December 14.

"Be of good heart, my child", St. Dionysios said to him, " in three days you will be cured."

On December 17, the Saint's feast day, and at the very moment when the sacred relics were being carried past his house and he was kneeling in prayer, the blind man recovered his sight and gave glory to God and thanks to St. Dionysios, who had made him well.

The cave in which St. Dionysios lived as a monk near Strofades Monastery

The Miracle of the Three Shipwrecked Sailors

Three of the sailors from a ship which had sunk called upon the Saint to save them. Whereupon the Saint appeared to them, walking on the raging waves and calming them. He lead them safely to the shore and they, soaked to the skin as they were, went straight to the church to thank him. Unfortunately, the parish priest was absent and they were not able to enter to pay their devotions to the remains of the Saint. Then a creak was heard and the coffin opened of its own accord. The sailors knelt and paid their devotions to the sacred relics. Immediately afterwards the coffin closed again. The three sailors and those who had witnessed this event were untiring in proclaiming the miracle which they had seen.

St. Dionysios forgives and helps his brother's murderer

The Blind and Sick Katerina Recovers

In the year 1841, Eustratios Iatrides, from Sparta, saw no hope for his daughter, who was blind as the result of a serious illness. Every day her condition grew worse and death seemed that it would not be long delayed. On December 17 the father wrapped his sick and blind daughter in a sheet and took her to the path which the procession of the Saint would follow. He then knelt and prayed fervently to the Saint for the recovery of his child. After the procession, he picked her up again and took her back home, where she remained bedridden. It was when he placed her on the bed and unwrapped her from the sheet that the miracle occurred. The blind and hunchbacked little girl recovered her sight and rapidly recovered her health.

Ioannis Bophardios is Cured

For years Ioannis Bophardios had not been able to move. Occasionally, so that he could take a step or two, he would be supported by others and had to make use of crutches. On one occasion he managed with the help of his crutches, to go from the suburb of Pochali, where he lived, to church on the Saint's feast day. Unfortunately, in the evening he found himself unable to return and had to ask the monks if he could stay there for the night. Throughout the night he prayed to the Saint for a cure, until morning came and he heard the monks knocking at the door, to be admitted to celebrate the Divine Liturgy. He could not get up to open the door, but he heard a strange voice coming from the coffin saying to him:

"Rise and open."

Ioannis made an effort and, little by little, reached the door and opened it. That morning, after the end of the Liturgy, he decided to return to Pochali. He set out and, as he went along, he increasingly found that he could walk unaided. In a few days he made a complete recovery.

The dormition of St. Dionysios

The Epileptic Sea Captain Recovers

The sea captain Nicholas Dirlis was on his way to Zakynthos in a small boat when he was seized with a fit of epilepsy. As soon as he caught sight of the church where the relics of the Saint are preserved, he called upon him to make him well. He was indeed cured and from that day forward never suffered from epilepsy again.

The soul of St. Dionysios presented to Christ by the angels

The English Sea Captain

An English vessel had anchored in the Bay of Keri, off the coast of Zakynthos, since there was a very high sea and it was not able to leave. The captain left the ship and saw the quarantine officer Nicholas Koutsoukalis kneeling in prayer. He questioned him and discovered that he was praying to the Saint.

"Can I too pray to him for our safety?" asked the English captain.

"Certainly", replied Koutsoukalis.

The English captain then knelt, took off his cap and called upon St. Dionysios to calm the sea. His prayer was answered and the ship was able to reach Zakynthos safely. Once there the captain went to the church and dedicated a silver lamp to St. Dionysios.

The relics of St. Dionysios being transferred from Strofades to Zakynthos

The Sacristan and the Fire

In the year 1849 the sacristan Hilarion Garpasis dreamt of the Saint three times in the same night. Then the fourth time, since he did not wake up, the Saint pulled at him and said "Get up".

The sacristan awoke, got dressed quickly, and went down to the church. As soon as he entered he saw that the poor box had caught fire from a lamp which he had left lit. He put out the fire, gave thanks to the Saint, and returned home.

A litany with the relics of St. Dionysios painted in 1766