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May 8, 2021

The Amazing Miracle of Marmaketo: An Annual Paschal Miracle in Crete on the Feast of Saint John the Theologian

Every year, on May 8th, the feast day of Saint John the Theologian, crowds of believers from all over Crete arrive at the small village of Marmaketo, at the Lasithi Plateau, to participate in the annual miracle of Marmaketo.

At the Church of Saint John the Theologian, on Great Friday of Holy Week, the process for this miracle which will culminate on May 8th begins. On Great Friday morning, the women of Marmaketo gather some wild orchids, called Paschal Flowers, from the fields. They then meet at the church and decorate the Epitaphion with the wild orchids, along with various other flowers from their gardens.

On Holy Saturday morning, the Paschal Flowers are hung on wires and decorate the whole church, where they are set to dry.

On May 8th, the feast of Saint John the Theologian, the dried flowers bloom again during the time of the Gospel reading! It's like clockwork every single year. Believers take them from the wires as a blessing and the curious take them as a confirmation of the miracle.

It should be noted that this phenomenon has been attempted to be repeated in other neighboring churches, but when May 8th came around and the Gospel was read, the wild orchids did not bloom. This annual miracle only takes place in the Church of Saint John the Theologian, on his feast day, at the exact moment the Gospel is read.
In the video above, it documents this annual miracle. It begins by showing what takes place on Great Friday, then the reporter enters the church to show how the flowers have dried on May 7th. As it leads to actual footage of the miracle, various testimonials are given concerning the miracle. 
One 54 year old local woman testifies to the fact that this miracle has taken place every year since she was a little child. 
The parish priest explains that it is believed that this miracle testifies to the presence of Saint John in their parish. 
It is also explained that this church was built originally by two poor villagers during the Turkish occupation, and when they died they were buried right in the center of the narthex of the church. Some time later the Turks burned the church down and it was rebuilt by the villagers. 
The wonderworking icon of Saint John the Theologian was cut with a knife by the Turks and shot at with their guns, however when the bullets struck the icon they bounced off and killed the shooter; the bullet marks can still be seen on the icon. 
The Metropolitan explains that the wild flowers which bloom and are taken as a blessing have healing properties, and when locals cense their homes instead of incense they drop a particle of the flower. This is especially done when someone is sick, or even when an animal is sick, and it is believed the smoke from the flower can heal; they also cense when there is bad weather in order to restore calm. This shows how this annual paschal miracle is intertwined with the daily lives of the local faithful. 
One testimony even recalls how the flowers remain blooming for years afterwards, with one recorded to have remain blooming in a closed case for fifteen years. 
At about the 14:00 mark begins the Divine Liturgy for Saint John the Theologian on May 8th. The Gospel begins to be read at the 15:30 mark. At the 16:20 mark the flowers begin to bloom again during the Gospel, and upon the first sign of their blooming the people begin to grab them. It is only the flower part that is restored to life, while the rest remains dry, thus adding to the mystery. It is seen as a gift of divine grace from the Saint.