August 17, 2022

The Miracle with the Lilies of the Panagia Gravalliotissa in Pastra, Kefallonia

Near the southeastern villages of Demoutsanata and Pastra on the island of Kefallonia, there is a strange phenomenon in the village church that takes place annually.

In the courtyard of the Church of the Dormition, there are various flower beds, where the women of the village plant parthenocrine bulbs (Virgin's Lily). This is done on March 25th, which is the Feast of the Annunciation.

When the Feast of the Ascension comes around in May or June, the lilies begin to bloom, so they are cut and placed in bouquets in front of the holy and miraculous icon of the Panagia Gravalliotissa. In a few days the lilies dry up, according to the laws of nature.

Whereas any botanist would argue that once a flower is cut and its stem dry it cannot bud again, these flowers do. When the 1st of August comes and the Paraklesis Services to the Panagia begin until August 15th, then the dead lilies are resurrected. The lilies come to life and bud on August 15th for the Feast of the Dormition and Metastasis of the Mother of God. After the Divine Liturgy of the Feast of the Dormition, the priest distributes them as a blessing to the Christians.

The name "Gravalliotissa" comes from the area of Gravalla in which the church is located, where there was an older monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

History of the Miracle

According to local tradition, centuries ago, in 1720, the lord of the place was Count Lianos.

At the beginning of August, preparations had begun for the new grape harvest.

Then a servant clearing the dry grasses with the rakes, grazed a piece of wood.

Trying to get it out of the teeth of the rake, he found that the wood was an icon of the Virgin Mary.

Dismayed, the poor worker took the icon and placed it on a pile of dry and discarded grass and ran to alert the Count.

He then instructed him to take the icon to the Church of Saint Demetrios.

But that same night, the Count saw the Virgin Mary in his sleep saying to him: "Why did you take me from my house?"

Early in the morning the Count went and took the icon with the intention of keeping it in his house. The Count had a sick daughter, confined to a wheelchair for many years.

As soon as the young lady saw the icon, she rose to her two feet and with slow careful steps, and venerated it.

After that the Count made a decision to build the Church of the Panagia in the place where the icon was found. But when the workers went there, they encountered something shocking.

The pile of dry grass on which the worker had placed the icon had blossomed, and through the dry branches could be seen green leaves and small blooming lily buds.

This is how the church was built, which later became a holy monastery, which over time was destroyed and the information that has survived is minimal.