January 26, 2016

The Wonderworking Icon of Saint Xenophontos in Mazotos, Cyprus

The Wonderworking Icon of Sts. Xenophon, Maria, Arcadius and John

Mazotos is a village 22 km away from Larnaca in Cyprus, close to the sea. The community today numbers about 1,200 predominantly Greek speaking Cypriots but with about 350 expatriates who are there on a permanent basis as retirees.

At a distance of half a kilometer from the heart of the village of Mazotos, in the northeast, there is the Chapel of Saint Xenophontos the Xorinos which dates to 1821. The icon of the Saint that also depicts his wife Maria and sons Arkadios and John is also dated to 1821, according to an inscription on the icon. It was returned to the village by Hadji-Demetrios, a camel man from Voukolida of Karpasia, who came to and was married at Mazotos.

It was a summer night, in the middle of the century before last, when Saint Xenophontos appeared to him and said:

"Wake up to go and bring me to Mazotos, and the village will see good things from me."

In the morning Hadji-Demetrios borrowed the mule of his neighbor and set out for Voukolida, where he knew the icon was. He stayed for a week, but he came back empty-handed, because the priest of the village from whom he asked the icon denied that he had this Saint in the church.

The following year, the Saint appeared to him again and asked him to bring his icon to Mazotos. He borrowed the same animal to do God’s will. During the trip, that took a few hours this time, his soul was full of feelings such as awe, deep faith and ecstasy until he reached the priest’s house as if hypnotized. He asked for the icon once more, but the priest again denied he had it. Hadji-Demetrios was determined to fulfill Saint Xenophontos' will this time and insisted on going to the church and finding it.

"Let’s go," he told him, "it is on the right side of the icons next to the icon stand."

Then the priest, in his effort to keep the Saint in the church, ordered to take the icon from its place and hide it under the ground, in the church yard. When this was done then the priest, the commissioners and many villagers took Hadji-Demetrios to the church so he could see with his own eyes that the icon he mentioned was not there.

When they arrived at the yard of the church Saint Xenophontos did his miracle, and all those present were amazed before the sight they faced. In the middle of the yard there was a great fire and all the surroundings looked mysterious. Hadji-Demetrios ecstatically went and dug the ground in that spot, and in a clean sheet, that was not destroyed from the fire, there was the icon. After this no one dared to stand against this devout man who was sent by the Saint, so Hadji-Demetrios took the icon and brought it to Mazotos within one night. The mule that brought him back, as soon as they reached the yard, sweating and tired, leaned over and died.

The whole village gathered at Hadji-Demetrios's house, and after they celebrated triumphantly, chanting and honoring God, they carried the icon to the old chapel that it was once in, and officiated a Divine Liturgy.

From the very next day the miracles of the Saint began.

He exiled all the non-Christians from the village. They were not able catch up with burying their dead and conducting the funerals. Those who were not exterminated by illness, within a year they abandoned the village and migrated elsewhere, and the population has since remained purely Greek and free of the plague which struck the non-Christians.

Therefore he is the Saint who exiles evil and sickness, that’s why he was given the name Xorinos and is often called Agios Xorinos (Saint Exile). The villagers many sicknesses he has cured.

Every year on the 26th of January, during the Saint Xorinos festival, there is a big celebration and a lot of people from all over Cyprus attend. After the festival the people of the village are gathered in their homes to eat together, and they take in guests and strangers as friends and they celebrate for many hours.

Recently though, in 1996, near the old chapel a new big church began to be built with expenses of the villagers and the expatriots of Mazotos along with other people, which is dedicated to Saint Xenophontos also, and it officiates services every first Sunday of the month.

The Old Chapel of Saint Xenophontos

The New Church of Saint Xenophontos