June 30, 2010

Elder Gervasios Paraskevopoulos and the Miracle of the Cross

Elder Gervasios of Patras, who reposed on June 30, 1964

Inside the katholikon of the Convent of the Prophet Elias in Patras is a relic of a miracle associated with Elder Gervasios. Here is an account of what took place:

During the days of Meatfare, Father [Gervasios] used to take the catechetical school children and they would go up to the Hermitage, which is now the Convent of the Prophet Elias. On February 17, 1929, Father and his spiritual children devoted themselves to planting a few trees in the area near the aforementioned Hermitage. Father himself with a few of the children also planted a pine tree after reading a special prayer. From that time 31 years went by. In August of 1960, this pine tree was cut down together with other trees to serve as firewood at the children's camp of Sychainon. The woodcutter was amazed when he noticed that at the root of the tree a beautiful Cross had miraculously been formed with different colors. He immediately reported this to the Metropolitan of the time, Constantine (Platis), who hastened to the scene of the occurrence bringing a few chemists to confirm this phenomenon. The chemists used a few liquids to eradicate the Cross from the tree, but not only did they not achieve this, but the Cross became more and more distinctive. By means of the microscope they confirmed, as it is said, that at its four ends icons of the Nativity, the Baptism, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection were miraculously inscribed. After all these certifications they confessed that it was a supernatural phenomenon. The Metropolitan of Patras, convinced now that it was a miracle, gathered the people at the Church of Saint Paraskevi, Sychainon, where the children's camps were, and after he finished Vespers and a supplication of thanksgiving he addressed the people and made known to them the facts of the miracle. Father Gervasios, who was there, took the microphone and said, crying and thanking God: 'My brethren, this miracle did not happen for my sake, because I am a sinner. It happened for the sake of the good and sinless children, who also planted this tree.' What a height of humility! When the people heard the Elder himself confirming the miracle, they shed tears as they glorified God, who knows how 'to glorify those who glorify Him'. Such Crosses exist today in the Monastery of Gerokomeiou, at the Metropolis of Patras, at the Convent of Prophet Elias and at Saint Paraskevi, Sychainon.

The Cross that appeared in the tree Elder Gervasios planted, placed with other relics of Saints.
The spot on which the tree with the miraculous Cross was planted.

For further information on Elder Gervasios, I highly recommend the following book by Hierodeacon Kyrillos Kostopoulos, Elder Gervasios (Paraskevopoulos) of Patras: His Life and Pastoral Work, Orthodoxos Kypseli, 1995.