February 10, 2011

Miracles of the Skull of Saint Haralambos

"If it please Thy goodness to ask a gift of Thee, I beseech Thy majesty and dominon to grant this favor: to whomsoever should find or possess a portion of my relics, and in whichsoever land he may be celebrating the memory of my martyrdom, may he never suffer from hunger or plague or pestilence or an untimely death or destruction from an evil man, or injury to crops. I pray that he may be firm in peace, salvation of soul, and health of body. I entreat that he enjoy plenty of wheat, oil, and wine, together with an abundance of livestock and other good and useful possessions...."

- Final Prayer of St. Haralambos

The most holy relics of Saint Haralambos have been distributed, for the sake of reverence, everywhere to Orthodox Christians. The relics have the grace and power to help, heal and defend believers with countless miracles which prove this to be true. The Saint is particularly acclaimed as the protector and guardian against all types of plagues and virus strains. Those who trust in him neither become carriers nor are infected.

The Holy Skull of St. Haralambos is found today at the Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen the Protomartyr, a convent at Meteora in Thessaly. In it's history, the faithful who have had unhesitating faith in Saint Haralambos have brought the Holy Skull into their homes and cities to save them from danger. With reverence and piety, they have performed a service of sanctification for holy water as well. With the help of God, through His great martyr, He has preserved the faithful sound and untroubled during epidemics. Many of these miracles are recorded in publications produced by the Monastery of Saint Stephen.

One such miracle occurred in 1812 when a devastation of the plague made many ill throughout Epirus. Then someone named Molossos, the father of Zotou Molossou, who wrote a dictionary of Saints, went to Meteora and brought to Epirus the skull of Saint Haralambos and ended the plague and many deaths.

The Greco-Turkish War took place in 1897. The Turks managed at that time to steal the Holy Skull, yet after hitting the silver reliquary a thousand different ways to bust it open to take only the expensive reliquary, their efforts failed. Instead a great sickness befell the Turks. 35,000 Turks died of typhoid in Thessaly by a miracle of the Saint.

When the Sultan heard how great a number in his army died in Thessaly, he wrote the Commander of the Turkish army in Thessaly, Edem, the following question in a letter:

"How did we lose so many soldiers in Thessaly if we have not yet gone to battle with the Greeks?"

Edem responded: "As many Turks who ruined churches and monasteries died of typhoid. I could not prevent the hand of God. All the evil Turks died horribly!"

Though the largest portion of the Holy Skull of Saint Haralambos is at Meteora (pictured above), a smaller portion (pictured below) rests in New Iraklitsa. It was housed in the Church of St. George in old Iraklitsa in Asia Minor. Then in 1922, together with the Greek refugees, it came to New Iraklitsa in Kavala and is now housed in the Church of Panagia Faneromeni.

Since the Church hath gained thy head as a precious treasure, Hieromartyr, athlete, and great trophy-bearer of the Lord, Haralambos, she doth rejoice, while glorifying her Master and Fashioner.

Praises in Tone One
Gather together with fervor, ye children of the Church; come forth ye all, and honor the most ven’rable relics of godly Haralambos, who boldly proclaimed Jesus Christ in the stadium, and who convicted the error of godless men as he magnified the Fashioner.

Doxastikon of the Praises in the Plagal of the First Tone
Your precious skull, O divine Saint, is like an alabaster box that is full and pouring out cures, like very costly fragrant oil. It wondrously perfumes the faithful, and it delivers from every evil those who approach it with faith. It exterminates foul‐smelling delusion, diseases of every kind, and the pandemic plague, and it grants good health to all, as well as peace and great mercy.