May 21, 2020

A Recent Wondrous Appearance of Saint Helen in Cyprus

Church of Sts. Constantine and Helen in Saranti, Cyprus

By Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou

To understand the magnitude and strength of the Service of a Consecration of a Temple, I will tell you a story from five years ago (around 2011) that took place in a village of our Metropolis, in Saranti. There Saint Helen appeared to a woman who lives in that village, and the church there is dedicated to Saints Constantine and Helen.

This woman was facing a difficult illness and one day Saint Helen appeared to her and said: "I will make you well! But I also have a problem that I need your help with."

"What problem do you have, my Saint Helen?"

"In your village, the church was never consecrated. I want you to tell the priest, so he can make sure the consecration takes place."

When the feast of the Saints was approaching, May 21st, she went to find the priest of the village, who today is the late Father Stylianos, and she told him.

"Our church is four hundred years old," he said. "How can it not be consecrated? It has frescoes. If you saw a certain saint in your dreams, will we now believe in dreams?"

Indeed, we must be wary of dreams.

So the humble and silent woman obeyed and left.

A year passed and when the feast of the Saints was approaching again, Saint Helen appeared to her a second time. This time it wasn't in her sleep, and angrily she said:

"When the Bishop comes, tell him."

So, at the Vespers for the Saints at the time of the litany, I noticed this woman was crying, without stopping. I asked her why she was crying, and she told me she would tell me later. After the "Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers" she informed me about her experience.

Then, I entered the sanctuary with the priest and we lifted up the coverings from the Holy Altar, to see if there was an "omphalon" (navel) - just as we have a navel, so does the Holy Altar, which is a living body - in which we place the relics of martyrs during the consecration of a church.

"Let's see if the four holes of the evangelists exists."

And we saw there was nothing. It was pure marble! We then looked under the Holy Altar to see if there was a "phyton", as it is called.

We did this because some old Holy Altars have the relics of martyrs in this hole, the "phyton". There was nothing to indicate that the church had been consecrated, so we set a date for the consecration.

On the day of the consecration and specifically the moment when the washing, the sprinkling and the anointing with the myrrh of the Holy Altar took place, and when we said "Let us be attentive" and chanted "Alleluia" three times, the whole church became fragrant.

This showed us that Saint Helen was pleased with the act of the consecration.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.