Gina Poulou, who is a soprano with the Greek National Opera, had the most astonishing experience. When the Holy Zoni, the relic of the Mother of God's girdle, was in Nea Ionia, Athens, in 2017, she venerated it. A few days before, a small tumor had appeared on her neck as had others in her breast. These unsettling symptoms, together with the pain she was feeling, terrified her and she was depressed at the thought of undergoing examinations and changing her daily routine.
Through the Internet, she learned that the Holy Zoni was in Athens and a friend of hers sent her a message, telling her to go and venerate it, both for help and also to gain strength and courage. She goes on to testify:
"When I read the message from my friend, I was overcome with a strong compulsion, I felt that our Panagia was calling me to venerate the relic. I saw the icon of her as the Platytera (‘Wider than the Heavens’) and I couldn’t get it out of my head. With tears I got up, collected my children and went to the church. I can’t describe what I felt; it was indescribable. When I approached the Holy Zoni, I felt a fragrance overwhelming me. I put on the ribbon [the Monastery of Vatopaidi places long ribbons on the Holy Zoni, which are then distributed to the faithful for their succor and healing]. We returned home and the whole evening it was as though I hadn’t left the church. I slept so soundly that night, as if nothing bad had ever happened to me in my whole life.
The next day I woke up and there was nothing wrong with me. The lump in the neck was gone, as were the others, under the arm and in the breast. I tried to find them but I couldn’t. They had disappeared. I went back and gave thanks in the place where the Holy Zoni was. We also take courage from this holy relic. It’s part of the Mother of God’s clothing and of ours as well.
You can’t help but feel awe. It’s like all those personal items that we might have from people we love and we keep so as to remember them and to touch the people concerned. Our Panagia left us her zoni, to give us courage and a blessing. This is why the Holy Zoni is miraculous, because it changes your life.
Each of us has experienced a miracle, though we may be reluctant to speak of it in case people think we’re a bit odd, but the confession of our faith saves us. Faith, and the courage to confess our own truth about the help we’ve received so generously from our Panagia."