August 22, 2013

The Finding of the Holy Skull of St. Symeon the Barefoot and Single-Tunicked

The Finding of the Holy Skull of the Venerable Symeon the Barefoot and Single-tunicked, the Abbot of the Sacred Monastery of Philotheou on the Holy Mountain (Feast Day - August 22)

On April 19, 1594 Saint Symeon gave up his spirit at the age of over 100 years. Patriarch Jeremiah II (1586-1595), with many clergy and people, buried him in the Church of the Theotokos at Halki and his grave became a source of miracles.

Two years after his death, monks from Flamouriou Monastery, which was established by the Saint, visited Constantinople to exhume and transfer his sacred relics back to the place where he lived in asceticism. His bones were fragrant. They washed the bones in wine and placed them in a coffin, while his holy skull they placed in a special canopy. They transferred the relics to the Monastery, where it became a major pilgrimage site for the enslaved Greeks.

During the Civil War (1945-1949), two rebels stole the precious canopy with the skull of the Venerable One together with the precious heirlooms. They hid them temporarily in a barrel near the Monastery.

In August of 1952, the two rebels-thieves went to pick up their loot. To their misfortune, a swarm of wasps which entered the barrel and made a nest, rushed over to them, stung them and poisoned them. One thief died almost instantaneously. The other was taken to a hospital, but no cure was found and he died. Shortly before he died, however, he confessed to the abbot of the Monastery, Hieromonk Dositheos Machairitsa, stating the relevant facts.

On August 22nd of 1952, a Tuesday, the skull of the Venerable One was restored to Flamouriou Monastery.

This day is particularly celebrated in the monastery.

The miracles of the Saint are numerous. As an example we will include two.

1. In Constantinople, at the time of his exhumation, a rope-maker suffered a serious illness. Due to his illness, every time he coughed, phlegm came out and made a mess of the place. He ran to venerate the skull of the Venerable One and was immediately cured. The former ill man, to show his gratitude to the Venerable One, donated the special canopy in which the wondrous skull of the Venerable One was placed.

2. Another time, the fathers of the Monastery took a finger of the Saint and visited Evia. They went to the town of Oreos where there was a very sick man who could not digest the food he ate. He inflated and became sore all over: his face, stomach, arms and legs. He did not even look like a man. With all his strength he ran to venerate the relic of the Saint, pleading with the fathers of the Monastery to go with the holy relic to his humble residence to sanctify it. The fathers did him the favor. In the sanctified water they placed the relic. The sick man drank the holy water and venerated the relic. And immediately the miracle took place. From the body of the sick man there ran a river of water which had an unbearable smell. His face, his stomach, his arms and his legs deflated, returning to their normal appearance. The cured man not only gave his entire fortune to the Monastery, but he also gave himself by becoming a monastic in the Monastery. In commemoration of this miracle, there was established in the city of Oreos a dependency of the Sacred Monastery of Flamouriou which exists until today.

His primary feastday is April 19th, the day of his repose.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.