April 24, 2020

The Miraculous Discovery of the Zoodochos Pege Icon in Larissa in 1877

Until the end of the Turkish occupation, the residents of the Tampakika district of Larissa would attend church at the Metropolitan Church of Saint Achilleos. In 1877, a chapel was built dedicated to the Panagia Phaneromeni in the central part of the district, where there was an old cemetery. That same year, a nun named Theophania, who worked without being payed in this small chapel, settled nearby in a small cell, living an ascetic life. The Lord, seeing the purity of her soul, revealed to her in a dream where a well with a pulley was located, inside which on the bottom was an old icon of the Panagia. Another night she saw the Panagia in a dream leading her to the well with a pulley and showing her that deep inside the well was her icon.

The nun reported these wondrous dreams to the priest of the chapel and then to Bishop Neophytos of Larissa. The nun Theophania told the Bishop with tears about her dreams and he ordered for some men to draw the water out of the well. In fact, he issued an encyclical inviting priests and believers to attend the ceremony. Thus, one day a procession was formed around the well with the priests dressed in their sacred vestments, led by the Bishop, and followed by a crowd of people, after the Supplicatory Canon to the Theotokos was chanted. Then the pumping of the water began, until the icon at the bottom of the well appeared. Great was the emotion and joy of all, and immediately the bells of the chapel began to ring in celebration.

Church of Zoodochos Pege in Larissa

Metropolitan Neophytos cleaned the icon of the mud and led a procession to the Metropolitan Church of Saint Achilleos where it was set up to be venerated by the faithful over the course of forty days. This icon, which depicts the Most Holy Theotokos with the Lord, was called "Life-Giving Spring" ("Zoodochos Pege") by the Bishop, and he ordered for the icon to remain in the Metropolitan church until a new church was erected in its honor. After the formation of a fundraising committee for the construction of a Holy Temple, Metropolitan Neophytos appointed priest Demetrios Sakellariou in charge of fundraising throughout Thessaly, which had now been integrated with liberated Greece. Till this day this icon can be venerated in the Church of Zoodochos Pege, granting blessings, consolation, and miracles for the faithful. This church was demolished and replaced by a new majestic church in the early 1990s.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.