January 22, 2016

The Miraculous Discovery of the Icon of Panagia Eleistria in Koroni in 1897

The Icon of the Christ Crucified discovered in Koroni.

On January 22nd our Holy Church honors the miraculous finding of the Sacred Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos Eleistria in Koroni, which was found in 1897 in Koroni of Messenia, Greece.

The discovery of the miraculous icon of the Eleistria is based on a vision of a most pious old woman from Koroni named Maria G. Stathakis.

For fifteen years this woman saw in her sleep a divine vision of the figure of the Theotokos, who indicated to her the location of three icons, one of Christ Crucified, one of the Theotokos and one of the Luke the Evangelist.

The spot where the icon of Eleistria was found.

Below are some of the dreams of this elderly woman:

One night she dreamed she was in the area where now there has been built a church to Panagia Eleistria. There appeared before her a woman dressed in white, who told her: "Tell your townspeople to come and dig in this place and they will find three small icons within a rock crevice. In that place they are to build a church. The foundations of the church should be on this wall that I have protected from earthquakes, wars and natural disasters." She saw this dream every September for three years.

Another time during the excavations, before the icons were found, she saw that they would find a tank with a ladder.

Of course these divine visions that were seen by this revered woman she declined to announce to the townspeople out of fear of being ridiculed and being considered crazy.

But in 1897 the Virgin appeared once again and urgently ordered her to see to the excavations for the holy icons in the place previously indicated to her. With fear the old lady then announced her visions.

Thus teams of men and women of every age and class, from Koroni and the surrounding area, began to excavate with reverence and eagerness in the place indicated by the woman.

Demetrios Zantiotis or Lecharis holding the icon of Panagia Eleistria.

After a few days the tank and ladder were found, but because they could not find the holy icons, they began to relax in their work and eventually all work stopped.

Immediately however the Theotokos appeared to the old woman and ordered that they continue their work until the holy icons were found and a church was built.

As a sign for those who objected or despised the divine vision, she announced that there would appear in the wrist of her right hand three black seals. Indeed, one morning there appeared on the wrist of her right hand the three seals. When this sign became known to the people of Koroni, it caused great excitement! Immediately many rushed to the holy place and resumed the excavations with greater reverence and eagerness than before.

After ten days of continuous work, the Divine Grace of the Theotokos was pleased to bring about success. For in a large fissure of a huge stone block there were found the desired icons on the 21st, 22nd and 23rd of January in 1897.

On the first day was found the icon of Christ Crucified, on the second the icon of the Theotokos, and on the third day the icon of Saint Luke together with a piece from a priestly stole and part of a pincer.

The discovery of the icons brought to the residents of Koroni and the surrounding villages enormous excitement, causing a massive amount of people to come to the place of discovery.

With all kinds of offerings and a lot of personal work, the construction of the church was accomplished in a short time, according to the suggestions of the old woman.

The inauguration took place on December 26, 1900, a Tuesday, by Metropolitan Gabriel Petroudakis, former Metropolitan of Nikopolis, who was from Leros and had come for this occasion from Athens.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.