November 16, 2016

How an Unknown Fourth Century Persian Saint Became Famous in 1939 Greece

By Archimandrite Vasilios Bakogiannis

The Saints of our Church number in the millions. However, few are celebrated by name. The vast majority are unknown to our faithful. But even these unknown Saints offered their lives to Christ, either through martyrdom or a venerable life, or even both. These also are worthy of honor and commemoration by name from our Church.

The Holy Martyr Milos was the Bishop of the historic city of Susa in Persia. He had a big name in his time (4th cent.), but it wasn't until recently that this unknown Saint became known in the city of Patras, and throughout Greece. He himself took the initiative to become known in Patras, and to be honored by name in a glorious manner by the people of Patras. His commemoration is on November 10th.

On this day we commemorate the Holy Martyr Milos the Bishop and his two disciples. 
Enemies slew him and his two initiates. 
Milos was slain by the sword, while the initiates were stoned. 
(Synaxarion for November 10th; Milos is Persian for "brave")

This Saint became known in Patras through an egg! It is known that housewives dye red eggs for Easter every Holy Thursday. The best one they put on their icon corner in their homes. So did a woman from Patras whose name was Smaragda Poulos, of the parish of Saint Dionysios, in 1939.

However, the egg she chose to place on her icon corner was significant. On the 10th of November in 1939, which is the feast of Saint Milos, this egg suddenly fell from the icon corner. It broke, and an oval shaped icon emerged, which survives till this day.

St. Milos, as he appears on the small icon, which came out of the egg.

On one side it depicts Saint Stylianos of Paphlagonia (5th cent.), and on the other side was the figure of a hierarch, wearing an omophorion and phelonion, with the Gospel in his hand. Around the head, like a crown, was an inscription in capital letters: "ΑΓΙΟΣ ΜΗΛΟΣ" ("Saint Milos"). (It should be noted that such icons circulated as a talisman by Christians in Asia Minor. Those who came to Patras in 1922 brought with them such little icons.)

This miracle in a house of Patras with the egg became known throughout city. Many people came to see and venerate the little icon. It worked miracles and cured illnesses, particularly helping pregnant women to have an easy childbirth (especially at this time with no modern medicine and when childbirth was dangerous).

The pieces of the shell of the egg were kept by people as a talisman. In the war of 1940 as many soldiers who took with them a piece of this shell as a blessing, miraculously survived enemy bullets, and they returned unharmed.

This miracle reached the ears of the known late theologian, Nikolaos Sotiropoulos (+ 2014). The first thing he considered is for Patras to build a church in his honor and memory, since the Saint honored it by his presence.

Church of Saint Milos in Patras

Therefore, in 1987 the Orthodox Christian Brotherhood of Saint Milos was established for this purpose, and so a church was built and dedicated to his memory, the only one that exists in Greece, and perhaps the whole Orthodox world. The dedication was made by His Eminence Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Patras, at a Festal Vesper Service in honor of the Saint on 9 November 2005.

Since then, every year, with the blessing of our Metropolitan, there is a Festal Divine Liturgy in his memory, amid a crowd of people.

Finally, the Saint has honored Patras with various appearances as well as various miracles, which he himself has done in Patras, and we have the specific data.

For example, K.E. from the parish of Saint Sophia in Patras told me the following: "One afternoon I was sitting in my house, and though my door was shut, a Priest came in and visited me, who was tall, dark skinned, wore blue vestments, and he said to me: 'My name is Milos. Your nephew S. needs help.' Then he disappeared. I then discovered my nephew was taking drugs."

Another time, K.Ch. from Eglykada in Patras saw in a vision a tall, dark skinned priest, who told her: "My house (church) is at the other side of Patras (in Agyia)." He then told her other things related to her family, then disappeared.

Yet another time, opposite the main entrance of the church, there lived a woman who was nine months pregnant, that worked for the port authority. It was Tuesday, 9 November 2007, the eve of the feast of the Saint. "If by the end of the week the birth pains do not come, we will cause induced pains," said the doctors. On Wednesday morning, the day of the feast, her mother went out on the balcony, looked towards the church, and said to the Saint: "Saint Milos, today is your feast, work your miracle." At that moment, her daughter got birth pains, and she was able to give birth naturally.

Who knows how many other miracles have been done until today, or will do for those who call upon Saint Milos with faith.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.