On Holy Thursday of 2012 a symbolic crown of thorns decorated with flowers was placed on the Cross of the crucified Lord, at the Holy Monastery of Saint John the Theologian, located at the western foot of Mount Hymettus. As is common, the decorated crown over time became dry and died. However, after it had dried up and died, it suddenly came back to life, and is now blooming!
Fr. Evangelos Pitsoulakis, who celebrates the Divine Liturgy every Sunday at this female convent, is astonished. He says: "The crown of thorns for over three months was all dried up and ready to fall. It was a dead organism, and yet, a few days ago several small leaves and red flowers began to bud. I was shocked when I saw it. Those who do not believe in Christ and miracles, please come and take a look."
It should be noted that Abbess Christonymphi Spyropoulou prefers that this miracle not get too much attention in the media and that it remain an internal miracle for the monastics.
When asked if the Monastery had any previous miraculous phenomena, Fr. Evangelos responded: "I know very well that previously there existed in the Monastery a small icon of the Panagia which wept and gave off myrrh. I remember this icon. A nun who left the Monastery took the icon with her."
Is there a scientific explanation for this phenomenon? Can a dried up twig that is not watered and is dead, revive after being inside for three months? Mr. Sofianides, an agronomist, was asked, and emphatically stated that this was impossible. "There is no possible case in which a dry plant can bloom again alone."
It is hoped that this miracle will offer solace, hope and optimism that Christ is a living reality.
As for the Monastery, it is built on the ruins of an ancient Greek Temple dedicated to Artemis and later was an early Christian Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The main church of the present dates to the 11th or 12th century. Tradition says that St. Basil the Great would come here to study while he received his education in Athens. It has been an active female convent since 1971.