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July 23, 2015

The Visionary Nun Paisia and the Church of Saint Mary Magdalene in Plomari, Lesvos

Icon of St. Mary Magdalene in Plomari

The following comes from a letter received by Mrs. Loukia Lydi dated May 10, 1976:

Many are the miracles that have been done and continue to be done by Saint Mary Magdalene. We will mention some of these, to the glory of the Saint and for our help.

Some devout Christians visited the elder from Mytilene, Mr. Tragakis, in Plomari to learn about wondrous matters related to Saint Mary Magdalene. He was lying down looking exhausted due to his old age. When they explained the reason for their visit, his mood changed. He got up immediately. That moment he was as if another man. He told us he was 106 years old and that he suffered from sicknesses and had memory lapses. Because he was not able to write, he begged us to write down whatever he was about to tell us. And he began to recount miracles his eyes had seen in the name of the Myrrhbearing Saint, Mary Magdalene. We report what he said about Saint Mary:

"My first acquaintance with Paraskevi Petrellis, which was the name of the nun, took place around 1914. This young Paraskevi was paralyzed in her legs and arms. She was twisted because of an accidental fall that took place on her way to school. Paraskevi would often see Saint Magdalene in her sleep, of whom she had an icon in her home. She also had visions of the Saint, as well as other saints. This is why many would go to her asking her to supplicate for their illnesses or some other need. Many informed me of this which prompted me to meet her.

I had a 5 year old little girl who had fallen ill from a spell and the doctors had doomed her fate. My wife and I decided to ask for the help of Paraskevi. We went to her home. I went more out of curiosity than faith. We venerated the icon of Saint Magdalene and begged her to come to our home to heal our child. Initially she refused, but with our perseverance she accepted and one day came to our home paralyzed on a donkey. It was a fasting period. She asked us to shut the doors and windows. At night she read a supplication service and I went up to my bedroom to sleep. During the night I went down out of curiosity to see what she was doing, and I saw her in a visionary/meditative state, something like that, and she was talking about my life, about my youth, when I was in Smyrna, in a very detailed way. In the morning she asked for a cup of water, and after saying something she gave it to my sick child. From that moment, her situation became better and eventually she was well. Since then I attached myself to her, in the same way Christ attracted Magdalene and she followed him everywhere, even abandoning my family.

Paraskevi would envision other saints besides Saint Magdalene. Indeed when she saw the Commander Archangel Michael she would fall into an awesome meditation, which once lasted two days, and the Archangel insisted she become a nun.

Paraskevi cured many sick people, or at least bettered their situation in the name of Saint Magdalene. For this purpose she would go to their homes with her icon, read supplication services and exorcism prayers, and when the situation of the sick improved the icon shook, when the opposite happened the glass of the icon would crack. One day, when she went to the home of an old woman who was suffering from pain in her legs, after doing her daily routine, she returned home and began to cry. When I asked her, she told me about her complaint: that while she asked for the old woman to become well, she who was young remained paralyzed. That night she saw Saint Magdalene in her sleep, who told her she would be able to walk, but not alone. She indicated to push her knees with her hands and she would hear cracks. She hesitated to make this effort, but I insisted. She did that which Saint Magdalene indicated and indeed cracks were heard, and I helped lift her up to make a few steps. Since then she was able to walk, but only with someone's help.

Church of Saint Mary Magdalene in Plomari, Lesvos

Around 1930, Paraskevi became a nun by Father Evgenios in the church on the slope. On the feast of Saint Magdalene, we went to the church in Gera. Bishop Photios of Moschonision was liturgizing. When he saw her, he invited her to come near him and then made her a Great Schema nun with the name Paisia.

Saint Magdalene appeared to Paisia in her sleep and informed her of her desire to have a church built in her name in Plomari. At my initiative and that of three others the church was built in 1934-1935. Also at the initiative of the faithful, who followed Paisia, a philanthropic organization was founded, bearing the name 'Myrrhbearer Mary Magdalene', which developed into a great philanthropic organization and still exists today, though it is neglected.

Another miracle of Saint Mary Magdalene is as follows:

In the village Vasilika, there is a rich family named Talianis. Their daughter, just married, suffered tuberculosis and madness. The husband asked for the help of Paisia. Together we went to Vasilika. It was Holy Thursday. Paisia, when she saw the sick girl, told her that she would be made well. She asked for the doors and windows to be shut and not to be reopened. Then she began to read exorcism prayers. The sick girl began to growl and her body swelled, while we would hear a sound from the windows as if they were being hit by stones. When she finished, the sick girl became calm and returned to her natural state. The next day the sick girl got up and wore her good clothes and we went to church. As we were going out, the mother prevented her. Before we left Vasilika, Paisia told her husband that if he ever blasphemed again, then his wife would die. In July, on the feast of Saint Magdalene, the couple came to church to stay for the fifteen days in Plomari. Her husband went somewhere, got into a scuffle, and blasphemed. When they returned to Vasilika, he did it again. It was not long after that his wife died."

Source: From the book Holy Mary Magdalene by Archimandrite Haralambos Vasilopoulos. Translation by John Sanidopoulos.