May 2, 2012

Miracles of Saint Athanasios the Sitter, Patriarch of Constantinople

By His Eminence Metropolitan Makarios of Kenya

From various Russian sources there are mentioned many miracles of St. Athanasios. Once, around 1813, one of the famous Russian princess' was suffering from an incurable disease for many years. So she saw in her sleep the Saint, who showed her how to reach the place where the Saint's relics were. She arrived on May 25th at the church where the relics of the Saint were placed. She attended the Divine Liturgy with great reverence. The same day she came again to the temple during vespers. Because of her advanced age, as well as her paralysis, with difficulty they carried her to church every time. But to the wonder of all, this time that noble lady came to church after she got up and walked alone without any help. She then confessed to the abbot of the monastery where the relic was that she arrived there after an order of the Saint, who appeared three times in her sleep. He even showed the monastery was built on a hill with the Saint seated inside. After requesting information from relatives, who knew the place, she was brought there and was healed completely.

The following year was another miracle of the Saint. This time it was not a treatment for the body but for the mind. One man sinned continually with carnal sins, and then finally lost his mind. He came to repentance. His brother took him to visit Kiev, then when there were many holy elders. On the way they stopped at the place where the relics of the Saint were. When they came to the church where the relics of the Saint were found, it was during the Divine Liturgy. The sick man immediately ran towards the area of the Saint and began with tears to kiss the Saint. He saw the face of the Saint as an angel feeling that the Saint was alive and spoke to him and blessed his sincere repentance. Since that time the sick man came to himself and glorified God for the miracle.

Another case is also very touching. A lady was in the last days of her life. Everyone had written her off and waited for her death. Indeed, the description says they almost had put her into the coffin. A relative of hers brought home the icon of St. Athanasios. Once she saw the icon she fell into a deep sleep. After those in attendance prayed to the Saint, when she woke up she was well, as if nothing happened to her, and she got up praising God.

St. Athanasios, according to the writings of various people, often appeared to simplistic people suffering from various diseases by inviting them to him and promising to cure them. So in all parts of Russia he was known for his holiness and his miracles. Many couples especially from Siberia had child-bearing problems. The Saint appeared to them and called for repentance and prayer. They would reach the monastery, where the relics of the Saint were, and after a short time they bore children.

There is mentioned the event of a Maria from Kharkov who suffered from incurable blindness for three years. So her relatives brought her before the Saint during the Divine Liturgy. Suddenly during the time of the Cherubic Hymn she saw with her own eyes the Saint and immediately ran and lit a candle in front of him bowing in reverence for the gift he gave her, that of her vision.

One young girl from the Poltava region with the name Euphrosyne was deaf. This was around the year 1829. On the day which was celebrated the miraculous icon of Our Lady of Kazan, she saw in her sleep St. Athanasios seated on his throne. The next day she glorified God who allowed her to see the Saint. While she made her prayer, she felt a hand to support her and suddenly, in the presence of her mother, she was found to be hearing. A year later she suffered from high fever. She was transferred to the monastery of the Saint in front of the holy relic. She felt an inexpressible bliss. After Matins and specifically during the time of the Doxology some power touched her and she was healed in that hour. Seven years later, now married, she suffered from a terrible incurable disease, and she saw in her sleep St. Athanasios. She prayed continuously. The Saint took his miter and with it touched her and ordered her to get up and glorify God, who had healed her completely.

The Saint continues to work miracles in many ways to those who run with faith to him seeking protection and mercy. Many miracles occur on the day his memory is celebrated in Russia on May 2. On Mount Athos and in Crete he is celebrated on August 21, which is when a portion of his relics were translated to Axos. From all parts of Russia they rush to pray in front of the full-length and incorrupt relic, an example of holiness. Even during the time of the great persecution, ie the communist regime, the atheistic authorities, to prevent people from coming near, decided to put him in a museum as a museum exhibit. They even thought that by putting a fairly high ticket, the world would not come. But again the faithful went and with much reverence sought assistance from the Saint. Eventually the authorities removed the holy relic to an unknown place - perhaps a basement - from which, after efforts of the current Metropolitan Nikodemos, was transferred to the Cathedral of Kharkov, where the faithful people of God come and celebrate receiving the Saint's blessing.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.