November 30, 2010

A Great Miracle of the Apostle Andrew in Cyprus in 1912

The Holy Monastery of the Apostle Andrew in Karpasia, Cyprus, which is presently in the occupied area of Cyprus under the Turks, has an unknown history. According to tradition, it was here where the ship of the Apostle Andrew was in a lull for three days. It was also here where the Apostle struck a rock to create a source of water, which runs from the old church where the holy water flows near the sea. This holy water healed the blind son of the captain of the ship, who, according to tradition, later built the first church here dedicated to the first-called disciple of Christ, Andrew.

However, what made this monastery famous to every Cypriot was the following miracle:

During the abbacy of Economou Christophorou Kykkotis a wonderful event happened which moved the residents of Cyprus and increased respect and love for the Apostle Andrew and his monastery.

Around 1896 certain Turks in the city of Allagia, Asia Minor kidnapped the only son of a poor Greek woman named Maria. Despite her efforts to restore her 13 year-old son, this became unfortunately impossible.

Little Pentelis Hatzigeorgis was taken by his kidnappers to military schools to serve in the Islamic battalions, and after graduation would enter into service of the Sultan and Muhammad.

The mother of the child placed her hope in God and prayed daily for His mercy and the restoration of her child. Many years passed, it was 1912, and Maria saw in her dreams a certain man named Andrew, and he announced to her that she would soon see her son. Maria believed that her visitor was none other than the first-called disciple of Christ Himself. She immediately boarded an Austrian steamer which was going from Smyrna to Larnaka in order to venerate the Apostle Andrew at his monastery in Cyprus.

On this same ship were many Cypriots, men and women, who were working in Mersina and Adana for an official German company that manufactured large rail projects in the East. Also aboard were a small group of dervishes, who were visiting Cyprus to attend a pending issue regarding one of their Tekke's on the island. To certain women on the ship Maria expressed her deep conviction that with the help of Saint Andrew she would get back her son.

One of the dervishes overheard the woman with great interest and observed her. Eventually the young man approached Maria. He asked Maria how she would identify her lost son, so she told him of the peculiar pair of birthmarks that he bore on his shoulder and chest. The young man then threw off his woolen cloak to expose the same marks and fell on his knees before his mother. Despite the many years of separation and Turkish education, Pentelis remembered his childhood.

He then removed the hat from his head, dressed in Greek clothes and confessed his Orthodox Christian faith. The joy of both mother and son, together with the other Christians traveling with them, was great and very moving. Immediately when the ship docked in Larnaka, both mother and son ran to the Church of Saint Lazarus, where they prayed fervently and thanked the Apostle Andrew. Approaching the priest of the church, Fr. John Makoulis, he confessed once again his faith in the Holy Trinity. Fr. John then chrismated him to return him officially once again to the Orthodox Christian faith.

They then visited the Monastery of Saint Andrew where they venerated Saint Andrew and once again thanked him for the deliverance of Pentelis and the answered prayers of Maria. From there they went to Kykkos Monastery where they stayed for a few days.

Within months of this event, the shrine received a stream of pilgrims which increased into a flood as the saint proved his power over a random pilgrimage of supplicants, Greeks as well as Turks, sophisticated Athenians as well as local peasants.