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March 16, 2021

Blessed Kyra-Maria the Prosphoron-Maker, Keeper of the Holy Icon of Panagia Oikonomissa (+ March 7, 2021)


On March 7, 2021, the most revered Maria Dendrinelli departed for heaven at the age of 86, a widow, originally from the island of Kos, a woman of deep faith and much reverence.

An old woman, she loved the Panagia and had her icon, which she had brought from the Dodecanese, in the most central part of her small house, in Agia Paraskevi, Attica.

Kyra-Maria, as she was known, was an amazing person.

In her life could be applied the words of the psalmist: "The Lord sustains the orphan and the widow" (Psalm 145:9). And indeed, God was seen as her helper and her covering and her protector, throughout her difficult life.

She lived very poor (cleaning houses and stairs) without salary, without pension, without wealth, without worldly fame, without applause, without honorary diplomas and medals.

Her own virtues were: her strong faith, her strict observance of fasting (she had not eaten meat for the last 40 years), her exemplary reverence, her generous patience, her unceasing prayer, her graceful simplicity (she liked to call people "my child" and "my little flower"), her deep love for Jesus Christ and the Most Holy Theotokos.

That is why both peace and joy had a permanent place on her face, as the biblical saying tells us: "A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance" (Prov.15:13).

Her house between apartment buildings on Komnenos Street, no. 5, in Agia Parakevi, was like the small cell of a nun.

She herself lived like a nun. Her walls were full of icons. All the Saints were there, both old and new. Her vigil lamp constantly was burning. Every morning and every evening she would light incense and bless the inside and outside of her house, as well as her neighbors.

The booklet of the Supplications to the Panagia was next to her pillow. And her kitchenette was the workshop for the prosphoron [offering bread used for the Eucharist], which she would make prayerfully by observing the entire ritual, and weekly they were sent to churches and monasteries as well as to other islands and even countries abroad where there was missionary work being done.

Many times in the Metropolis of Athens the Proskomide was done with the prosphoron made by Kyra-Maria. The late Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece wanted her prosphoron when celebrating the Divine Liturgy.

One day he even visited her with a gift and other blessings at her poor dwelling and joy literally shone on her face. The neighbors, then, saw and said: "Christodoulos in the hut of Kyra-Maria, how is that?"

Yes, the "great" Archbishop went to the poorest externally Kyra-Maria, but she was rich internally.

She loved all people. Because she had attended many seminars at the Red Cross, she knew and made injections into those patients who welcomed her. But she still went to hospitals and fed sick clergy, monks and nuns. She absolutely revered all the clergy - Hierarchs, Priests, Monks.

She would pray for everyone, especially for young children, poor families, for those who were divorced, for lonely people, for drug addicts, for the sick, for widows, for orphans, for those with many children, for the tormented, for the enemies of the Church, for everyone and everything.

Her work was to knead prosphora and to pray.

When she became seriously ill and was alone in the "Attica" hospital, in the corridor, sitting on a bench and of course she was in pain, late in the afternoon a young doctor noticed her and asked her: "What's wrong?", then the doctor took her as his own mother. He asked: "Do you have no one to take care of you?" She replied: "Yes, I have God" and pointed to the sky!

Communication with her in her simple house was always an opportunity for spiritual joy and benefit. She shared in the trials and tribulations of those who visited her. She comforted with her wise words. She gave advice for endurance, patience, courage and to take shelter in the sweet mother Panagia. Those who departed from her poor house were full of comfort and calm in their souls. It was a house of goodness!

She loved to listen to sacred vigils, and only wanted Christian words in her ears, beneficial, didactic for her soul. She would constantly say: "May God have mercy on us!"

She rejoiced in confessing to her spiritual father, the late Fr. Spyridon Kalyvas, she rejoiced in the fruitful discussions with the fathers of Mount Athos who would frequently visit her, and she rejoiced in the school children who went to her to sing carols.

Her greatest visitation, she said, was when she was unable to attend church, and the priest came with the Holy Chalice to commune her. She received the Great Visitor of her soul, Christ, spiritually prepared.

She was the personification of the first Beatitude of the Lord: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matt. 5:3).

And indeed, now, Kyra-Maria is resting in the Garden of Eden. She is with the Panagia, the Angels who oversaw the repose of her venerable soul, and in the company of her beloved Venerable Virgin Martyr Saint Paraskevi.

May her memory be eternal!

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

+ + +

Our beloved grandmother has departed for the Jerusalem above. She lived in Agia Paraskevi. She was born and married in Kos. Both of her sisters live in Kos. She moved to Athens after she got married. She brought with her the miraculous icon of Panagia Oikonomissa, a sacred heirloom from her ancestors from Milaso [Milas in Turkish, a town in south-western Anatolia] in Asia Minor. I will always miss her. I miss her instructions, her consolation. She was my headrest. I pray that from up above she will intercede for the children she loved so much and always adored, for the whole world and lastly for me!!!! May her memory be eternal!!!

Maria Hatzigiakoumi

+ + +

I also had the blessing to meet her and visit her in her small cell. May we have the blessing and the intercessions of this holy soul who hurt for and loved the whole world. A characteristic of her love was the large quantities of pure incense she burned - outside her cell, in her small yard with the flowers - and she told me:

"I am censing, my little girl, and I say, 'My Panagia, let it reach all the neighborhoods of Athens.' Because people today do not burn incense, my child, that is why I burn so much incense. Let it reach everywhere."

She really suffered in recent years because of the illness that afflicted her and the horrible pains that accompanied her.

A Good Resurrection and Good Reunion our respected and beloved grandmother Maria!

Spyridoula Vergini

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos. 

+ + +

Today Kyra-Maria the Prosphoron-Maker from Agia Paraskevi was buried. I had the blessing to know her. A Saint of Athens. Night and day she prayed in her small hut which was drowned by apartment buildings. She had in her room the very old icon of Panagia Oikonomissa. Today the fathers took it to the Skete of Saint Anna on the Holy Mountain.

Hagiorites, hieromonks and priests from as far as Crete had come. In the courtyard of the church there were 500 people. If it wasn't for covid, there would have been thousands.

This woman would pray all night with her prayer rope and all day she kneaded prosphora. 2 to 3 sacks of prosphora per week. She sent them all over the place. Countless Liturgies took place because of her hands.

I was thinking. This year 7 bishops died. 5 priests of theirs and another 5 friends went to their funeral. For none of them did the people spontaneously go to fill the church courtyard. A sign from heaven!

As a young woman, a minor, she married a beast, who abused her, and she became a young widow. She shined more than Bishops because she loved Jesus Christ so much and became His Deaconess by making prosphora for His Divine Liturgies.

Fr. Christos Ioannides

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos. 

+ + +

I met her 14 years ago in that humble, small and poor house in Agia Paraskevi, Athens, which, however, could hold as many people as her heart!

Although disease afflicted her, she always offered her support and prayed to our Panagia for every person and sick person in need! Her advice was immeasurable and a balm for every tortured and aching person who came to her door or communicated with her!

My ears still hear her sweet voice advising me and instructing me spiritually, in every need, in every problem, with the deep Faith and Love that possessed her!

Many times she gave me the impression that she forgot her own problems and focused on yours! She would turn to the icon of our Panagia and say: "Yes, my Panagia! My child will be fine, won't he? I know you will help him! Make him well! I know he is a good child!" And the miracle... it just simply happened!
In such a unique way were her prayers for all of us to her only treasure, the miraculous icon of the Panagia Oikonomissa! A family heirloom of about 800 years, which she held in her hands from Grandpa to Grandpa, coming from the depths of the East - Mylasa of Asia Minor!

A Holy Icon that foretold every evil, as it is written in its apolytikion! Several times Grandma Maria got the message through the icon for things that were to come, in such a way as she experienced!

In those difficult years, with the sufferings of that time, Grandmother Maria journeyed from the Island of Kos and she was transferred to Athens with her only protection, her Panagia Oikonomissa! So poor and austere was her life, but everything was taken care of and arranged by our Panagia whom Grandmother Maria was serving non-stop!

Her aching hands were rosy and labored from her many hours of daily work cleaning houses, without this preventing her from kneading the countless prosphora, which she sent to every monastery and church and Mission, almost everywhere in Greece and abroad!

Her offering and almsgiving was countless and indescribable to everyone everywhere! To patients, to hospitals, to priests, to monks, to widows, to orphans, to drug addicts and to every aching and tortured soul! Even when she became seriously ill and could not eat, she cooked and fed everyone.

Grandma Maria, I thank God and our Panagia that I met you! You were for me my Spiritual Mother! I will always remember you and I will keep your words! I pray that there next to our Panagia you will be an intercessor for all of us sinners!

May your memory be eternal and Good Paradise! Amen!

Spiro Paps

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.