April 10, 2015

The Miraculous Healing of St. Porphyrios of Gaza by the Thief on the Cross

While living in asceticism in the Jordanian wilderness, Saint Porphyrios fell under a serious malady of paralysis. Unable to walk, he would have to crawl to the divine services. For healing he decided to go to the holy places of Jerusalem. His disciple and biographer Mark then describes what he saw when he met Saint Porphyrios in Jerusalem:

And straightway when he beheld me the thrice blessed man embraced me with joy and tears (for joy also can cause tears to flow); but I knew him not; for his body was very strong and his countenance ruddy. And I turned my eyes about looking often upon him; but he, seeing it, smiled pleasantly and said:

"Marvel not, brother Mark, seeing me whole and strong, but learn the cause of my being healed and then marvel exceedingly at the unspeakable loving­kindness of Christ, how the things whereof men have despaired are by Him made straight."

And I besought him to tell me the cause of his being healed and how he had cast out such a disease. And he answered me:

"About forty days ago when I was keeping the vigil of the holy day of the Lord, an unspeakable pain of the liver got hold upon me, and being unable to endure the anguish I went and lay down near the sacred Skull, and by reason of the great pain I fell as it were into a trance. And I see the Savior nailed upon the Cross and one of the thieves with him hanging upon another cross, and I begin to cry out and speak the words of the thief, 'Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom' [Luke 23:42]. And the Savior answered and said to the thief that was hanging, 'Go down from the cross and save him that is lying there, even as you were saved.' And the thief came down from the cross and took me in his arms and kissed me, and stretching forth his right hand raised me up, saying, 'Come to the Savior.' And straightway I rose up and ran to Him, and I see Him coming down from the Cross and saying to me, 'Take this wood and keep it.' And I took the same precious wood and lifted it up, and straightway I came to myself out of my trance, and from that same hour there was no more pain in me, neither is the place of the disease manifest."

But I, when I had heard these things, marvelled exceedingly, and glorified God, who ever shows mercy unto them that call upon Him, and much more unto them that truly and sincerely pray to Him.