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May 16, 2017

Saint Makarios Notaras, the Wonderworker of Myloi in Samos

Processional Icon of St. Makarios Notaras without silver covering at Myloi, Samos.

Saint Makarios Notaras, Archbishop of Corinth (1731–1805), is celebrated by the Church on April 17th. However, the village of Myloi on the island of Samos celebrates him on May 16th, since the Saint enriched it with his ascetic example and rich wonderworking grace.

This small village of Myloi was established in the 16th century with residents that had come from the island of Patmos, and for a long time it was the capital of the island. It became associated with Saint Makarios when he visited Samos after leaving Mount Athos and becoming associated with the Kollyvades Fathers. It was one of the islands, together with Patmos and Chios, that he sought for a place of quietude to pray and practice asceticism. This he found next to the village of Myloi.

After Saint Makarios reposed in Chios in 1805, a few years later he began to be commemorated by the villagers of Myloi as a Saint. Some time between 1820 and 1825, a monk named Constantine, who was a spiritual child of the Saint, built a church dedicated to Saint Makarios there. However, this was the second church built dedicated to Saint Makarios, since the same Constantine built the first one in Elata of Chios in 1815. The church outside of Myloi had a spring of holy water that ran until the beginning of the 20th century. Because of the miracles worked by Saint Makarios through this holy water, he became the patron saint of the village to whom the residents fled for healing and intercession. They chose to celebrate him on May 16th annually with a big festival, the biggest of the year for this village.

Every year on May 15th and 16th Saint Makarios is celebrated in the Church of Saint Haralambos in the village of Myloi. A Hierarchical Vespers takes place in the evening on March 15th, and a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy and Procession takes place in the morning on May 16th. The procession is led by an icon of the Saint with a silver covering dated to 1822 and made by the same Monk Constantine, thus making this icon the oldest icon of Saint Makarios. In the olden days this festival lasted three days, but today it is two days. Those who suffered in their health or had a serious illness participated in a Divine Liturgy at the church dedicated to the Saint, and countless are the healings that have taken place since it was built.

Below are a few miracles of the Wonderworker of Myloi:

The daughter of Anastasios Vakentis from Chora in Samos was severely ill and was only becoming worse, so her mother and aunt placed their hope in God and His saints. All night the two women prayed for the healing of the young girl. Suddenly they heard heavy footsteps on the stairs leading to the terrace of the house. They opened the door to see who it was, but saw no one outside. They then went up the stairs, but still saw no one. After this they went to bed and slept. During the night the sick daughter saw in her dreams the terrace of the house of her aunt and saw many people going to Myloi. Wondering what was going on, she asked a woman where all the people were going. The woman said they were going to Saint Makarios, and he was waiting for her also to visit. In the morning the sick girl woke up and was completely healed. To thank the Saint she went to his church outside Myloi and lit a lamp.

Haralambos Pyrgiotis owned a building next to the Church of Saint Makarios, and he related the following miracle. One day he went to dig a well with two other workers, Nicholas Pyrgiotis and Stavros Malagaris. These two would dig and he removed the dirt. They were near completion, and that morning they went to clean it out. When they arrived at the well, they heard chanting coming from the church. Haralambos told his workers, despite not being properly clothed, to first first attend the Divine Liturgy then return and complete the well. However, when they arrived at the church they found neither priest nor people inside. Despite this, they venerated the icons and returned to their work. When they were going back to the well, they suddenly heard a loud noise, as if a major earthquake struck. This left them frozen with fear and they didn't know what to do. When they arrived at the well, they saw that it had collapsed. Having recounted everything that happened, they realized that if they had not gone to the church they would have been working in the well when it collapsed, which would have meant certain death. Saint Makarios protected them and saved their lives. This incident made the three men very grateful to the Saint, and every year at his festival they brought the bread needed for the offering and anything else that was needed for the festival.

Vasiliki Asimiadi experienced another miracle. For many years she had serious kidney problems. Her condition was extremely critical. It was decided therefore to go to a hospital in Athens, where after she was examined it was determined that she needed to have a kidney removed. In her terrible pain, she prayed daily to Saint Makarios to cure her and provide a solution to her acute health problem. When all was ready for her surgery, the Saint appeared to her in her dreams that night and told her not to be afraid, since he totally healed her kidney. The next morning she informed the doctors that she had no more pain and was healed by Saint Makarios, therefore the surgery was unnecessary. After another medical examination, the doctors indeed found her kidneys to be healthy, leaving them astonished. That day she left the hospital and lived for another 47 years; she died at the age of 94.

The village priest of Myloi from 1974 till today, Fr. Vasilios Vakras, came down with a serious ailment in his lungs in 2006, for which he entered a hospital in Athens. Before departing Samos, he served a Divine Liturgy in the Church of Saint Makarios, and prayed to the wonderworking Saint to help him with his health problem. He entered Sotiria Hospital in Athens on March 3, 2006 to undergo a surgery. Dr. George Hamalakis operated on him, but the pain after the surgery was unbearable. The doctor encouraged him by saying that his condition was improving and that in ten days he would be dismissed from the hospital. But one day Saint Makarios appeared to the priest with a calm face, holding a staff in his hand. The Saint asked him why he had not yet left the hospital and returned to his village in Myloi. This vision took place while Fr. Vasilios was awake, and not in his sleep. When he asked his brother if he had seen anything, his brother said that he only heard him conversing with someone, but saw nothing.. The next day Fr. Vasilios returned to Myloi.

Church of Saint Makarios Notaras in Myloi, Samos