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April 17, 2021

The Wondrous Meeting Between Two Saints Who Were Related: St. Makarios of Corinth and St. Gerasimos of Kefallonia

Loukas Notaras (1402–1453) was a Roman statesman who served as the last Grand Duke (commander-in-chief of the Roman navy) and the last Chief Minister of the Roman Empire, under emperors John VIII Palaiologos and Constantine XI Palaiologos. After the fall of Constantinople, a portion of the Notaras and Palaiologos family had settled in Trikala of Corinth. Saint Gerasimos Notaras of Kefallonia was born in 1570 in Trikala of Corinth. His father was a descendent of Loukas Notaras and his mother a descendent of Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos. Saint Makarios Notaras was born in Trikala of Corinth in 1731. Thus both Saint Gerasimos Notaras and Saint Makarios Notaras were related, but born about 160 years apart.

According to the oral tradition of the Monastery of Saint Gerasimos in Kefallonia, Saint Makarios visited the tomb of his relative in 1771. After venerating his incorrupt relic, he wanted to stay by himself in front of the coffin of Saint Gerasimos in order to pray after the sun went down. This, however, was prohibited according to the rules of the monastery, but after insisting, the nuns allowed it. Yet it made the nuns curious as to why he made this request, so some of them hid in the female quarters to observe. By doing so, they witnessed an amazing miracle: Saint Makarios knelt down to pray in front of the coffin, then suddenly the coffin opened and Saint Gerasimos came out of the coffin. The two Saints then embraced each other and began a conversation. When they had finished, Saint Gerasimos returned to his coffin. Saint Makarios remained in the Monastery of Saint Gerasimos for a few months, then he returned to Zakynthos where he stayed for three years.