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December 16, 2022

The Mother of God Saves a Man From Drowning

In the Monastery of Saint Savvas in Palestine there is an icon of the Mother of God, in which she is painted in a black garment, as nuns wear. Once someone asked the fathers of this monastery:

"Isn't it a sin to paint the Mother of God as a nun?"

Then they answered him:

"We do not paint the Mother of God as a nun, but this is how the Lady of the world appeared in the depths of the sea to the one who she saved from drowning."

"From drowning?" he asked. "Please tell me this incident, because having been here for many days looking at this icon, I sinfully judged that she should not be painted like this."

Then the fathers said the following:

"A certain man from Thrace (a region of northern Greece), named John, promised to become a monk. But after a while, he went to Romania to do business. Spending several years there, he always put off any thought of becoming a monk. He also earned a lot of money, after which he decided to come home and get married. He took his belongings and money and boarded the ship to travel to his hometown.

Traveling in the Black Sea, the ship sank during a storm. He also sank into the depths of the sea, and seeing himself in great danger, he cried out from his heart: 'Mother of God, save me and I will go to Jerusalem to become a monk!'

Suddenly, while he was in the depths of the sea, he saw the Most Holy Theotokos grabbing him by the hand and pulling him to the land, and she said: 'Go and fulfill your promise!' So he went on foot to Constantinople, asked some Christians for the money needed for the journey and came to Jerusalem. Then he came here, to the Monastery of Saint Savvas, and became a monk. Here he asked a monk who painted to make him an icon of the Theotokos as he saw her in the depths of the sea, that is, as a nun.

He lived for several years in our monastery and after he completed his asceticism, he passed to the Heavenly Abodes."

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.