February 26, 2016

The Holy Water of Saint Photida and the Faith of the Turkish Aga

St. Photida (Feast Day - September 26)

Elder Gregory, of the Holy Monastery of the Honorable Forerunner and the Transfiguration, told us the following:

During one of the many times we went with the priest of my village, Papa-Aleko, to assist in the settlement of Amphipolis, we met an older man who then was helping the church of Amphipolis. Talking with him, he told us about an event that took place during the Turkish occupation, when he was a child of twelve years old:

"The Aga had become seriously ill, and ran to doctors in nearby areas, even going to Thessaloniki, but no one was able to make him well, and his health was becoming worse. He stagnated in bed. One day in desperation he remembered Saint Photida, the chapel of the Saint who was the sister according to the flesh of Saint Photini [they both celebrate their feast on February 26th], which was about a kilometer from his settlement, and which has holy water that wells up even today. It is known as 'The Holy Water of Saint Photida'. 'Saint Photida will make me well,' the Aga said. So he ordered the then commissioner of the church in Amphipolis to go and bring him holy water from Saint Photida.

The commissioner could not do otherwise. But coming out of the house of the Aga he whispered: 'You pig, you think I'm going to bring you holy water from our Saint to defile it?' He left, and he calculated the time it would have taken to go to the chapel and return so as not to be perceived as a fraud by the Aga and be punished. So he took public water and took it to the Aga instead of the holy water.

When the supposed 'holy water' of Saint Photida reached the Aga, he ordered those present to roll up his bed, and weeping with tears in his eyes and with reverence he said twice: 'Saint Photida, help me. Saint Photida, help me.' He took the 'holy water', as he considered it, drank it, and the next day he was well. All were amazed, especially the commissioner who knew what he did. The faith, longing and confidence of the Aga in Saint Photida, as well as the intercessions of the Saint, made him well."

Source: From the book Ascetics in the World, vol. 2 (in Greek). Translated by John Sanidopoulos.