May 5, 2010

St. Ephraim of Nea Makri and the Atheist

By Catherine Kalogeratos (Neos Kosmos, Athens)

A friend of mine came over one day and gave me an icon of a saint named Ephraim. I accepted it graciously but secretly thought of how to get rid of it quickly, because I didn't believe in God. For the time being I placed it on the dining room table.

A few days later, at midnight, I saw a pale red light in front of the saint's icon. I was frightened at first but soon felt a kind of inner joy. I could see the red light burning all night like a candle. The following day I told my neighbors about the miracle. They were all surprised because they knew I didn't believe in God.

A few more days went by but I didn't see the light again. I didn't want to touch the icon as I had become very frightened. I decided to give the icon away because I didn't want to see the red flame again. When I went to sleep that night I had a dream of St. Ephraim. He was tall and looked austere. He wore a long tunic that reached to his feet and had a knotted rope around his waist - I particularly remember his Byzantine sandals. I felt sinful and couldn't look him in the face. He said in an imposing voice, "You will not see the light again because you said you wished it so, but be aware - you may remove my icon, but I shall always be here."

Thanks to Saint Ephraim, I now believe in God.

From the book Evlogeite! A Pilgrim's Guide To Greece, by Mother Nectaria Mclees, pp. 625-26.