May 27, 2010

St. John the Russian and the Copper Dish

One of the miracles that St. John the Russian performed during his lifetime was to send a plate of food from Prokopion in Asia Minor to his master in Mecca. In the 1970's or 80's, a priest who served in St. John's Church in Evia wanted to gather some miracles of St. John the Russian and publish a hagiography supplemented by the living tradition of old immigrants from Prokopion who were still alive.

One day, while he was censing the icons, he stopped before an old icon of St. John with small scenes from his life. The priest was looking at the scene in which the saint was kneeling and praying about transporting the dish to Mecca, and he prayed quietly: "St. John, if I knew where this dish was, I would take a picture of it and put it in a book."

A week passed, and one morning a woman stopped him at the door of the church and asked him if he was a priest. He replied that he was, and she told him that on the previous Friday evening (the same evening the priest had prayed to St. John about the dish) the woman had seen St. John in a dream. He had told her to look amongst the things stored in her cellar that had belonged to her aged father (a native of Prokopion in Asia Minor). Among them she would find a copper dish, which she should clean and bring to his church, because, as St. John said, he "needed it". With these words the woman took the copper dish out of her bag. It was an old dish with Turkish writing.

The priest was startled and tears began to well up in his eyes. He took the dish and laid it on top of the relics, giving great thanks to God and His saint.

After several years this dish was taken to Constantinople and given to the Ecumenical Patriarch as a gift. Today it can be found at the Shrine of Saint John in Prokopi outside of Athens.

Prokopion (Urgup)