October 20, 2017

Miracles of Saint Artemios the Great Martyr (6 - 10)

In the seventh century an Anonymous author compiled a number of miracles of Saint Artemios, whose healing activities were predominantly centered in the Church of Saint John the Forerunner in Constantinople and who "specialized" in healing hernias and diseases affecting the genitals of mostly male patients. Below are five examples of many:

Miracle 6: Isidore and the Exorcism of the Black Crow

A certain sailor for many years had problems with his testicles and approached the holy Martyr. His name was Isidore and he was about 53 years old. But he was unaware that he was being agitated by an evil spirit.

Now in the aisle of the church at the left, the Saint is accustomed to make his rounds as if he were a Chief Physician in charge of a hospital, just as many have often been convinced by experience, and to be sure one night the Saint in full view approached the man, while many of those awaiting the cure looked on, at the very place where the possessed man was lying down. Then the Saint stood over him, as we were saying, with an invisible force. Isidore arose from his bed and ran toward the image, and holding up his outstretched hands, he hung suspended as though his hands were tied to chains, hovering one cubit above the floor, and yelling loudly, so that all were astonished by the sight and were cowed by fear.

So after hanging for a considerable time and foaming at the mouth, finally he cried out in a loud voice and fell onto his mattress on the floor. After he calmed down and returned again to his normal state of mind, those crowding around said:

"Brother, what happened to you?"

He replied: "Oh my, what I suffered! Some person wearing a cloak and a belt suspended me by two chains!"

They said to him: "We all saw that you were hanging. But tell us what he did to you."

He replied: "I was greatly chastised. For with his right hand he touched my belly and with his left my shoulder-blades. But the third time he squeezed me, saying, 'The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Holy Trinity, orders you to depart.' And I saw an all-black crow leaving my mouth and he made the sign of the honorable cross on my forehead and freed me from my fetters and I fell. But let me examine my genitals in case they suffered some harm from the force of the fall." And touching them in the presence of everybody, he found himself healed, and for this all gave glory to God who does the incredible through His Martyr.

While he was waiting there several days, the Saint once again appeared to him, and he had with him, it would seem, a workman wearing some sort of sheepskin and sandals and there was some woman with them in the habit of a nun, and they said to Isidore: "Give thanks to God. Behold you were made healthy. Go back to your own land to your own people. For greatly they lament over you, believing that you have died. But depart, cheer them by your presence and your good health."

Miracle 7: Plato the young wagerer

A certain young man, Plato by name, confident in his youth and, as the young are fond of doing, making a contest over the caliber of his strength, engaged in a wager to lift up the stone of the wooddealer's scale and to set it on his shoulder. After the size of the wager had been set, he picked up the stone and, as he was struggling to set it on his shoulder, all his intestines ruptured in a hernia so that the spectators were astounded by the sight.

Now some good men counseled him saying: "Do not entrust yourself to a doctor but go to St. John's in the Oxeia and approach St. Artemios and he himself will cure you. For every day he works miracles in these cases."

So after being lifted up by some of them, he was transported by litter, as he was at risk over his life. While waiting for a few days and suffering in unbearable pain, he saw St. Artemios in a day who said to him: "And so, why are you so fond of wagers? See, you have plotted against both your soul and body." And he exhorted him nevermore to make a wager and, saying these things, he trod on his stomach.

The contender awoke from sleep and was relieved of his pain along with his injury. Thanking God and the martyr for this turn of events, he departed for him rejoicing. Whoever had learned of his misfortune, seeing him restored to health, glorified God Who had spread His mercy on him.

Miracle 8: George the Phrygian babbler

Another man, a Phrygian by birth named George, had swollen testicles and, suffering in the extreme, was waiting for a cure by the martyred Saint. But this man chattered incessantly; for neither by night nor by day was his mouth at rest, nor would he allow anyone else to rest, and although everyone censured him, he would not be quiet. So the Saint appeared to him in the small hours saying: "When day comes, withdraw from here. Since if you remain another moment, I will double your hernia. For I hate babblers." Rising early, he knew that he was cured and in accordance with what was said to him by the holy Martyr, so he acted and did not remain but rejoicing went off blessing God.

Miracle 9: Theodore the impatient Rhodian

A certain Rhodian by birth, by name Theodore, who had his residence in Rhodes itself, was afflicted with a hernia. After hearing about the holy martyr and wonderworker Artemios and about the gift bestowed upon him by God, he stayed in the divinely favored city. And after waiting some time for him, he fell victim to despondency since he saw himself delayed by the disease and pressed by concern over his domestic affairs and because he was not receiving any cure and was exhausting the necessities for sustenance. So giving up, he decided to sail away from there. While he was on the verge of sailing away from there ... he left. On the very day he entered his native city, that first night back he saw the servant of God touching his pulse and making the sign of the cross over him, and upon waking from sleep he found himself healthy.

Miracle 10: The healing of the silver dealer Akakios' son

A certain silver dealer, Akakios by name, had a son of about seven years who fell victim to the same disease because of an evil demon. His parents brought him to the all-holy and honored martyr of Christ. They had spent some time in the Church of Saint John when on Holy Saturday, the fasting over, they picked up their mattresses and departed, since they wished to join their family in celebrating the holy Resurrection. But the mother did not desist from coming with him, tearfully exhorting the holy Martyr, since she was especially afflicted in her soul.

Now it is worthwhile as well to lend an ear to her child's inarticulate speech and lisping since, although these things occasion much laughter for the present, they would reveal much pity for those who reflect. For as though entreating his own father face to face, he confidently begged the holy Martyr thus: "St. Artemios, take away my hernia."

After the child and mother had acted in this way, at the dawn of the Ascension of our Lord and God Jesus Christ the Saint appeared to the wife in a dream, while they were passing time at home and he said to her: "Bring me your son." She seemed to lift him up, gladly leaned the boy's head against the Martyr's feet. Artemios, after he took hold of him by the chin, straightened up from a stooped position and said to him: "Do you want me to take away your hernia?"

The child replied: "Yes, sir, take away my hernia."

Then making the sign of the cross all over his body, the Saint said: "Behold, from now on you do not have a hernia."

These things the woman saw in her dream, and after awakening she found the child, just as she had seen, restored to health.

When morning came she recounted to her husband the vision of their child's cure. Together with them she eagerly ran to the holy Martyr in the all-holy church and gave glory to God and His saints.