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Monday, February 10, 2020

Saint Haralambos and the Outbreak of Scarlet Fever in the 1930's

Around 1930 in the village of Avra in Kalambaka, an infectious disease called scarlet fever struck. More than fifty children died. Some households lost two or three children at once. When one child died, there was no time to bury them when another child got sick and died. Shovels would be left at cemeteries in order to expedite the digging of graves. In an act of desperation, the faithful took recourse to Saint Haralambos, who is widely known for banishing infectious diseases and plagues. They sought help from the nearby Monastery of Saint Stephen at Meteora, and monks there brought to their village the wonderworking skull of Saint Haralambos. As the monks came bearing the sacred skull, the bells rang and all the people went out to greet the Saint. A Sanctification of the Waters ceremony took place and a procession brought the skull to every part of the village. Immediately after this, death became suppressed and the disease was banished by the grace of the Saint. From that day forward not a single child in the village died again from scarlet fever.

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