November 9, 2010

St. Nektarios and the Resurrection from the Dead of a 3-Year-Old Boy

Mr. Emmanuel Zourides (son of Nicholas Zourides), a café owner from Kyrtomados, Cydonia, who resides in Chania (Hodos Konstantinoupoleos 47) recounted—in the presence of his wife, Marika—the following concerning his son Nicholas, who was three years old at the time of the events.

On June 29, 1962, the Feast of the Chief Apostles Peter and Paul, I sent my family—my wife and two children: Nicholas, three years of age, and Olga, five—to Batolakkos, my wife’s native village, for the village’s celebration of the aforementioned Feast. After the celebration, according to my instructions, my family was to remain in the country for a certain number of days. On Monday, July 2, however, while everyone was resting at midday, my three-year-old son fell from the second-story window of my father-in-law’s house, from a height of six meters, and was left nearly dead.

Here is an account of the events in greater detail:

On the evening of Sunday, July 1, after work, I returned home alone to my house, ate something for supper, and lay down, while reading from the Gospel, as was my custom.

I fell asleep after midnight and had the following dream during this initial period of sleep. Holding my child in my arms, I was playing with him, just as I almost always did. He then momentarily fell from my arms and landed with a mortal blow on the cement ground. I hastened to pick him up (he was unconscious) and, greatly alarmed, put him into my bed. On account of my agitation, I woke up.

The dream had been so terrifying that I could not sleep the rest of the night and ultimately decided to go to Batolakkos the next morning to bring my family back home.

I got up very early the next morning and set off for the village by bicycle. I went as far as Kladiso—about two kilometers away—, but then, for some reason, changed my mind and thought it better to return to work, with the excuse that “it had only been a dream.”

All day long, I recounted my dream to my customers and received a variety of reassuring answers.

At one o’clock in the afternoon, I closed my café and went to eat and rest in my house. When I had begun eating, my wife’s brother, Constantine Spyrakes, arrived. He was taking my mortally wounded child to the clinic in the private car of Mr. Emmanuel Markoulakes. He told me: “Come with me, because the boy fell and was killed. We must take him to the clinic.” Frantic, I immediately directed him to the nearest clinic. I was not given immediate attention here, however, on account of the particular routine of the doctor: that he was not to be disturbed when resting. I was then obliged to rush my son to another clinic. Passing by the X-ray lab of Mr. N. Klonares, I had him admitted, and the doctor directly checked the results of the X-ray exam.

He at once confirmed the boy’s death; for, in my presence, aside from the X-ray results, as a doctor, he ascertained signs of death, such as an absence of heartbeat and pulse and the complete immobility of the boy’s open eyes, at the touch of which he could not detect the slightest motion. From there, I took him, in despair, to the clinic of Mr. John Alipherakes, who, upon receiving and examining him, ascertained the same thing: namely, the child’s death.

To my horror, I remembered that the child was un-Baptized! I immediately revealed this fact. After rebuking me, the doctor showed me the telephone, for me to do whatever “I knew best.” Having heard that Holy Baptism is effective even when death has already occurred a very short time before, I began, in a frenzy, to telephone those qualified to come and Baptize him.

I was ultimately referred to—and hastened to inconvenience—the very pious Priest attached to the Church of the Holy Unmercenaries, the Reverend Father Jason Bourliotes. He quickly arrived and Baptized the boy, prophetically telling me: “Do not be afraid, my child. Through Baptism, your boy will return to life for you in half an hour.”

We went, at his soothing exhortation, to the Church of the Holy Unmercenaries in order to take care of the details of the Baptism, but my mind remained riveted on my watch and the expectation of the revival of my child. I returned in ten minutes to the clinic, since Father Jason had repeated the same words to me while leaving the Church. There, in desperation, I kept looking at my child and my watch, ardently yearning and waiting to see the Priest’s words come true.

And O, the wonder! As he had told me, precisely half an hour after the Holy Baptism, I noticed the first, slightest movement of a toe on the right foot of my child, who was reckoned dead by all those present. “My child has come back to life!” I burst out in a shout. Out of pity for me, all of the others assured me that it had “appeared” so to me! But then, five minutes later, before everyone’s eyes, he lifted his whole leg from the bed and bent it. The resurrection from the dead had come about.

Dr. Alipherakes, who had been present the entire time, immediately ordered that ice be brought, which he placed on the child’s head. The news spread like lightning among the patients in the clinic, and even those who had undergone operations hastened to satisfy their justifiable curiosity. The doctor whom, at the Priest’s previous statement, I had distinctly heard murmuring that “the dead cannot be brought back to life,” now, believing more fully, said aloud to himself, “And to think that we do not believe,” while making the sign of the Cross!

Dr. Alipherakes then undertook to help the resurrected boy, ordering everything necessary for his recovery, which he had not done beforehand, believing the boy to be long dead! After these first hours had gone by, the boy came to, recognized me—his father—, and asked for his mother. In general, his condition seemed to have visibly improved.

Serving as Godfather at the saving Baptism of the child was our fellow villager, Emmanuel Markoulakes, who, having departed for Batolakkos, spread the happy news of the survival of the child following his Baptism. I did the same at seven o’clock in the evening, when I sent word to my despairing wife that the resurrected boy was already out of danger.

St. Nektarios, to whose miracle-working powers we had wholeheartedly entrusted the salvation of our son, did not disregard us. He is the closest Saint to our home, here, whose Church we always visit, and to whom, with religious awe, we send up prayers and doxologies, keeping abreast of, and reading about, the various miracles he has worked for our fellow men.

It was therefore wholly justifiable, in our unexpected misfortune, for my wife and I to reach out for help to him and repeatedly to call upon his name, as if having mutually agreed to do so.

Following this tragic accident, my wife remained lamenting in our village, entrusting our mortally wounded child—who had been rushed away—to St. Nektarios. Here are the words she uttered, when she had come to, in the hearing of all of her fellow villagers (many of whom, upon hearing the name of the new Saint, Nektarios, for the first time, asked and received information regarding this new wonderworking Saint).

With these words, then, did she continually call upon the aid of the wonder-working Saint:

“My dear Saint Nektarios, save me and heal my son.”

With her hands and eyes raised to Heaven, she repeated this invocation for over three hours, without neglecting also to seek the help of our Great Mother, who feels our pain, the Panagia, to whom she added: “My Panagia, be a mother to my son, as well.” May the All-Holy Name of our Savior and of the Triune God be thrice-blessed!

These constant, unceasing, persistent, and heartfelt invocations brought my inconsolable wife swift and auspicious results! After three or four hours, the mother, persistent in her prayers, perceived a shadow passing before her and a voice telling her:

“Do not cry, and your child will recover!”

After this reassurance, my wife felt such relief that she only then stopped weeping, turning her fervent prayer into one of thanksgiving, with the following words: “I thank you, Saint Nektarios, for healing my son. I thank you....” She continued to offer the same thanksgiving for hours, to the wonder of many around her. With the news that the boy was alive, everyone glorified with us the Almighty God and His Saint, Nektarios, who had answered our fervent prayers to him.

Our boy henceforth made steady recovery. On the third day, he was completely well. On account of the doctor’s apprehensions, however, he remained in the clinic for eight days, during which time X-rays showed that his hemorrhaging and the fractures to his skull had healed on their own! As we were leaving the clinic after the eighth day, my wife and I thanked Dr. Alipherakes, who unhesitatingly admitted to us:

“Mrs. Zourides, your son was clearly raised from the dead. You had a Saint helping you! Just be careful that you don’t let him fall again, because in the state he is in now, a new fall would be very dangerous!”

With great joy, day and night, we thank the Great Giver of Gifts, Who, through His Saint, Nektarios, brought about this healing, which was so unexpected, and miraculously drew our little angel from death unto life, granting him to us as an indisputable witness to the words of the Scriptures: “What God is great as our God? Thou art the God that alone doest wonders.”

May Thine All-Holy Name, O Lord, be thrice-blessed unto the ages. Amen.

“That is the Priest who came...”

The ever-beholden parents, Emmanuel and Maria Zourides, thenceforth showed their gratitude night and day to God and His Saint.

This year, in March of 1965, their Nikos (who had just turned six) caught a cold and, after feeling unwell for two days, fell into bed with a temperature of 42.2°C (108°F). Both his parents, as usual, turned to their regular, but fervent, prayer to their personal family physician. They then busied themselves with nursing their child with cupping glasses and liniments, and with getting him ready to go to sleep. When his mother had prepared him, she helped him to get up to say his prayers and to go to bed.

During this prayer, the boy’s attention was caught by an elderly Priest, who appeared and sprinkled the child with holy water, which the boy wiped off his forehead, saying: “Mama, an old Priest is sprinkling me (“me psekazei” — a word which the boy knew from the sprinkling of the vineyards in their village and their arbors in Chania). He is throwing water on me,” as he wiped his forehead and shielded his head with his hand. We both soothed the child, naturally attributing his vision to his fever, and my young daughter became frightened and also needed to be comforted.

But glory to God and St. Nektarios the Wonder-worker, who had truly appeared and healed the boy. The latter fell into a quiet sleep, looked much better, and allowed us to go to sleep also. In the morning, our son was completely well, ready to get up as usual. Only with difficulty could we keep him in his room with toys, so as to force him to remain housebound. After the meal, we gathered in his room to keep him there. Around one o’clock in the afternoon, our son, in full health, told us: “There he is again! The Priest is coming. He is smiling at me. Don’t you see him?” Indeed, he came to the door, approached the boy, and spoke to him. The boy answered him cheerfully and bashfully; and we, watching his expressions, laugh, motions, and, finally, hearing him say “yes,” came to the conclusion that he must have been asked how he was doing and if he was well.

Glory to his name! Putting his two visits together, we were firmly convinced both of his latest beneficence and of the disappearance of any trace of indisposition in our child, whom we then allowed to roam about freely inside and outside our house.

Ever since then, Nikos has shown us the photograph of the Saint, assuring us that “That is the Priest who came.”

We will be grateful to him as long as we live.

Source: Ἅγιος Kυπριανός, Nο. 237 (July-August 1990), pp. 206-207, and No. 238-239 (September-December 1990), pp. 247-248.

• This miracle by St. Nektarios is contained in the book The Life, Conduct, and Miracles of St. Nektarios of Aegina, 3rd ed., (Chania: 1965), beginning on p. 269. This book was kindly sent to us by Mr. Constantine A. Kostourakes, together with the photo we have printed of the resurrected boy (at the age of seven in 1966). In 1985, when these things were sent to us, the latter had already been released from military duty, and his father had reposed.