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August 27, 2022

The Appearance of Saint Kosmas Aitolos to a Woman in Arnaia on July 23, 1943

Saint Kosmas Aitolos visited Arnaia and Halkidiki in 1775. The memory of this visit is still alive today in the consciousness of the local Christians. Monuments to the passage of the Saint are the shrine under the Mathitiki Estia and the icon which records the prophecy of the Saint for the liberation of Arnaia. Since then, the Saint placed the area of ​​Holomontos under his blessing. 
"The aprons of Holomontos will be without blood. They will go to sleep as slaves and in the morning they will wake up free." 
The prophecy was fulfilled, and in 1912 Arnaia was freed "without blood", according to the prophecy of the Saint.
On July 23, 1943, the Bulgarians entered Arnaia. The Germans handed over Halkidiki to the Bulgarians. The people of Halkidiki were upset because the Bulgarians had already committed the crimes in Drama and Kavala. The Bulgarians intended to enter Mount Athos and there would be great destruction. So on that day when the Bulgarians entered, Saint Kosmas appeared in Gompelos, in a location near the Monastery.

He appeared to a devout Christian, Susanna Trikaliotis, wife of Vasilios who had three girls and a boy. Her husband had been captured by the Bulgarians while he was working in the woods in North Macedonia and was being held hostage in Belles.

Susana had gone to her garden, where she had grown potatoes. It was still night when she left to go there. After working, while she was ready to leave, she saw a light. She went towards the light and saw a monk sitting with white hair.

"Oh, what an old man he is!" she said.

"Come, don't be afraid," he said to her. "I am Saint Kosmas. Today the Bulgarians entered Arnaia. Do not be afraid, I will protect you, you will not suffer anything, the Bulgarians and other nations will pass by, they will not harm you."

He was sitting under a chestnut tree and had a cloak that had blue cloth and red crosses on all four sides.

Then he gave her piece of antidron. Susanna asked him for some for her children as well, and he answered her:

"Antidron for your children you will find on the top shelf of the fireplace at home." And he disappeared.

Indeed, when Susanna descended from Gompelos, the Bulgarians were entering Arnaia from Stanos. When she went to her house, she found four pieces of antidron for her children on the fireplace.

The Saint appeared repeatedly to Susanna. Once he asked her to do a Liturgy.

She took her neighbor, Tasa Xistrou, and they performed a "sleepless Liturgy" as they say in Arnaia. They made prosphoron the whole night and in the morning they went to the church and the Divine Liturgy was held.

In one of his appearances, the Saint asked Susanna to make a small shrine and light a lamp in the place where she met him. She went every day without the guards taking notice of her. At that time, Arnaia was surrounded by barbed wire and in order to go out one had to get permission from the police and then pass the guards who were guarding it. She would go out, come in, and they didn't see her. Not even the rebels who were on the mountains bothered her. In another appearance he predicted the release of her husband.

"In two months, your husband will return."

In 1952, the Saint asked for a chapel to be built in the place where he appeared to her. Susanna, accompanied by the teacher Chrysi Karamichou, went to Metropolitan Kyprianos and reported to him the order of the Saint. But he didn't believe them. At night, the Saint appeared to him and terrified him. In the morning he ordered the bells to ring. The people gathered at Saint Stephen's and he told them that they had to go up to Gompelos and build a chapel to Saint Kosmas in the place of his apparition. The Metropolitan and Constantine Neratzias went and agreed on how to build the little church.

During the archbishopric of Metropolitan Kyprianos, he established the memory of Saint Kosmas to be celebrated every Bright Tuesday, but it was abolished in 1960.

With the blessing of the late Metropolitan Nikodemos, in recent years he is celebrated on July 23rd at the place of apparition and on August 24 at the Holy Monastery with more grandeur. In the previous story we add the personal testimonies of the daughters of Susanna - Maria, Kyriaki and Magdalena - who also added the following:

"When our mother came home and found the antidron on the fireplace, she started shouting and crossed herself. Aunt Panagiota Xistrou, who lived above us, came down and asked her if anything was wrong. She told her what happened and showed her the antidron. In the meantime, she also woke us up, who were still sleeping.

Every Sunday night she went to the garden and watered, then she came and woke us up, dressed us and we went to church. On that Sunday, she gave us the antidron of Saint Kosmas and we did not go to church. She was very upset. Where the church is in Panagouda, the Germans were standing and asking for IDs. She would pass by and they didn't ask for her ID.

"Come, come, pass on by, my lady," they called her.

Other times they didn't see her at all as if she was invisible. Not even the rebels who were moving around there saw her.

"You will go there to that tree and you will find an icon of me. You will take it, put an oil lamp and light it," the Saint told her.

"Go down to the market to see the foot of the companion who stepped on my icon. It is cut from below."

The chapel was built in 1952. The icon of the Saint was then taken and with a litany on foot brought to the chapel.

In 1999, Metropolitan Nikodemos established the Monastery of Saint Kosmas at this place. Dr. Haralambos Bousias composed a Divine Office to celebrate this appearance in 2014.