Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Great Miracle in Syria, and the Convent of Our Lady of Saidnaya

Greetings!
The account of this truly amazing miracle has been told in numerous places, but I thought to include it here also in case you haven't heard it yet. It should be a testement to the fact that our Faith is truly alive, and that the great miracles of the scriptures and the traditions of the Church are not fabrications, and that wonders that equal or exceed them continue to occur. For as Christ said, "Lo I am with you always, until the close of the age."


Picture of the Holy Monastery of the Theotokos of Saidnaya (taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saidnaya)
  
The text of the story was taken from: http://www.pigizois.net/agglika/the_miracle_in_siria.htm.
"In December 2004 a Saudi Arabian man, a Moslem, appeared before several new agencies to relate the following incredible event he experienced and which changed his life (this story appeared on TV, the Internet, radio, and was circulated in newspapers, magazines, and pamphlets throughout Saudi Arbia, Syria, Palestine, and evidently in all neighboring countries.

Some years ago, this man married a very rich Moslem woman but sterile. As the years passed, and despite all their efforts and significant medical expenses with many doctors, they remained childless. The man's parents suggested to him that he marry a second woman, while upholding his initial marriage (as the local laws permits up to four concurrent marriages).

Being exhausted, worried, and downhearted, he did not accept his parents' advice but rather chose to vacation with his wife in Syria. There, they hired a limousine with a driver who would serve as tour guide fro all their site-seeing excursions throughout Syria. As the vacation progressed, the driver noticed that the Saudi Arabian couple was experiencing bitterness, pain, and grief. Having gained familiarity with the couple, the driver cautiously asked them whey they appeared to be so unhappy-was it perhaps because he was not conducting the tour to their satisfaction?

The couple confided to the driver that the source of their unhappiness was their inability to have children. The driver who was also a Moslem, then told them that in Syria the Christians, specifically the Orthodox Christians, have a monastery named Panagia Saidraya (Arabic word meaning Our Lady) and that many people who can't have children take refuge to Her miracle-producing icon. They go to the monastery and there they are given to eat, the wick form the lamp which burns before the miraculous icon. And then the "Mary" of the Christians gives them according to their faith, what they wish for.

Becoming excited, the Saudi Arabian and his wife asked the driver to take them to the monastery "Saidnaya" of "The Lady of the Christians" and said that if we have a child, then I will come back and I will give you $20,000.00 US and, I will give the monastery $80,000 US. So they went to the monastery and did as they were instructed. Later they returned to their homeland and after some time the wife was found pregnant. In a few months she gave birth to a charming baby boy. It was truly a miracle of Our Lady Theotokos.

Now, as soon as his wife gave birth the Saudi Arabian man wanted to return to Syria to uphold the promises he had made. Upon his return he called the same driver and asked to be picked up at the Damascus airport. But the driver was cunning and wicked and he persuaded two of his friends to go to the airport with him to pick up the rich Saudi Arabian man and to take his money and kill him. So they picked up the rich man at the airport and he, as they drove, without realizing that they had planned to kill him, told the friends of the driver that he would give them also $10,000 US each.

These men still not satisfied, deviated from the route to the monastery and went to a deserted place and proceeded to slay the Saudi Arabian man and to cut off his head and other parts (hands and legs) of his body into pieces. Blinded by passion and overcome by the horrific act that they just committed, they put the man's remains in the trunk of the car rather than just leaving him there. After taking his money, watch, and all that he had, they proceeded to find another deserted place to discard the remains.

Then on the National highway, their car broke down and stopped in the middle of that road. The three men got out to determine why the engine had stalled. Then a passerby stopped to help them but they, afraid that their terrible act would be discovered, pretended that they did not need any help. But as the passerby motorist was leaving, he noticed blood dripping from the rear of the vehicle and he called the police to investigate because the scene and the three men looked suspicious. The police came and they saw the blood under the car and on the pavement so they ordered that the trunk be opened.

Well, when the opened the trunk, lo and behold, the Saudi Arabian man lifted himself out, obviously and amazingly alive and in good health, saying to them "Just now this PANAGIA finished stitching my neck, right here (showing them the area of his Adam's Apple), after first stitching up the rest of my entire body". Seeing this, the three criminals immediately lost their minds-becoming like mad. The police handcuffed them and as they were being taken away to an asylum for the insane, the criminals started raving that it could not be possible that the Saudi Arabian man whom they killed, beheaded, and dissected could yet be alive.

The Saudi Arabian went to a medical facility to undergo examination by doctors and medical examiners who confirmed and attested that the stitching was done very recently, thereby validating the miraculous event. The stitches were, and still are, obvious. When the Saudi Arabian came out of the car's trunk, he had the appearance, literally, of just having been refabricated (put back together) to which he continuously confessed that they PANAGIA had rejoined his body and resurrected him with the help of her Son.

Immediately after this, the Saudi Arabian called his relatives to come to Syria and they all went together to the monastery of Panagia Saidnaya and offered up prayers, praises, and glorification, and instead of the initial gift of $80,000 US (which was promised), he gave $800,000 US to the Theotokos.Today, as this man relates the details of that overwhelming miracle, he starts his narration with "When I was a Moslem this happened to me" this indicating he is not longer a Moslem, as neither is his family.This miracle stunned with awesome surprise the entire Arabic/Moslem nation and all of the Middle East.

'LIVES LORD OUR GOD, THE LORD OF HOSTS' (Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher, Patriarchate of Jerusalem)By Father Ignatios, AbbotHoly Monastery of The ShepherdsBt Ahur-BethlehemGREAT LENT, MARCH 2005
Submitted and compiled by Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios SerfesBoise, Idaho USA. Eve of the Ascension of Lord, 8 June 2005. Glory to God for all things! Most holy Mother of God, save us! Peace to your souls! Humbly In Our Lord God,+Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes Who prays for you!"

The following information about the Monastery are taken from: http://saidnaya.com/:


Mosaic from the Moastery showing the Most-Holy Theotokos and Christ, and most-likely the Emperor (Justinian) and Empress (taken from: http://homepage.mac.com/hobwahid/Syria_Photos/PhotoAlbum102.html)
  
"The Story of the Construction of the Convent
It is said that Justinian I, Emperor of Byzantium, while crossing Syria with his troops either on his way to the Holy Land or on a campaign against the Persians, came to this desert, where his army encamped and soon suffered thirst for lack of water. When they despaired, the emperor saw a beautiful gazelle off in the distance. He vigorously gave chase, hunting the animal until it tired and stopped on a rocky knoll and approached a spring of fresh water, but without giving the emperor the opportunity to shoot it. Suddenly, it transformed into an icon of the Most-holy Theotokos, which shone with a brilliant light. A white hand stretched forth from it and a voice said, "No, thou shalt not kill me, Justinian, but thou shalt build a church for me here on this hill." Then the strange heavenly light and majestic figure disappeared. Upon his return, Justinian related what he had seen to his subordinates and ordered them immediately to draw up a plan for the contemplated church. After some time had passed and the architects were unable to resolve the problems of the plan, the Holy Virgin — the gazelle — reappeared to Justinian in a dream and confided a magnificent plan to him for a convent, of which she would be the Protectress. It is said that the basic structure of the convent follows this plan to this day. The convent soon gained such renown that it came to be ranked second only to Jerusalem as a place of pilgrimage, and nuns from every corner of Syria, Egypt, and other lands flocked to it. The holy Icon El Chagoura appeared many years after the convent was constructed. "

Holy and Miraculous Icon of the Theotokos of Saidnaya (taken from: http://www.impantokratoros.gr/8299EA31.en.aspx)
  
"The Icon of the All Virgin
In the late eighth century, a certain venerable Marina was abbess of the convent, and she was widely revered for her piety and sanctity of life. It happened that a hermit monk, a Greek pilgrim from Egypt named Theodore, stopped at the convent on his way to the Holy Land. When he was leaving, Abbess Marina asked him to buy in Jerusalem a precious and fine icon of the Holy Virgin. While at Jerusalem, he utterly forgot the task entrusted to him and started on his return journey. However, when he had not gone far from the city, he was stopped short by an unfamiliar voice: "Have you not forgotten something in Jerusalem? What have you done in regard to the commission from Abbess Marina?" Monk Theodore returned at once to Jerusalem and found an icon of the Theotokos. During the journey back to the convent, he was astounded by the miracles accomplished through the icon. He and his whole caravan were ambushed by bandits, and then attacked by wild beasts. Amidst these dangers, the hermit always invoked the aid of the Holy Virgin while holding her icon, and he and all the caravan were saved from every peril.
  
When Theodore returned to the convent, these events tempted him to keep the valuable icon for himself, and he decided to bypass Saidnaya and sail back to Egypt. However, he was unable to set sail, for such a fierce storm arose, it seemed the ship would inevitably sink. His conscience was pricked, and he quickly left the ship and returned by way of Saidnaya. After spending four days in the convent, he was again possessed by an irresistible desire to make the icon of the Mother of God his own. He apologized to the abbess, pretending that he had been unable to buy the required icon, and then he decided to leave the convent secretly. The next morning, as he was about to set out on the journey back to his own country and approached the convent gate, he was amazed to find that an invisible power barred his way, and it was as though a stone wall stood where the gate should have been. After many futile attempts, he was forced to hand the icon over to the abbess, confessing his intention. With tears of gratitude she glorified the Lord and His All-pure Mother. Since that day, the holy Icon has remained in the convent and has been the object of great veneration."
  
A more detailed view of the Mosaic of the Theotokos and Christ above (taken from: http://homepage.mac.com/hobwahid/Syria_Photos/PhotoAlbum102.html)
  
Great are you, O Lord, and wonderful your works, and no word is adequate to sing the praise of your wonders. Glory to you, Lord, glory to you!

Tone 2.
A fervent prayer, and wall most unshakable A merciful spring And shelter of all mankind; Fervently, we cry to you: Theotokos, our Lady, Come to us And from all dangers now deliver us The only protection who speeds to us.
(http://www.goarch.org/chapel/chant/paraklesis/index_html)
  
Modern reproduction of the Wondrous Icon of the Theotokos of Saidnaya (http://www.stjosephmelkitecatholicchurch.org/icons_of_our_lady_the_theotokos/theotokosofsaydnaya.jpg)
  
Most-holy Theotokos, save us!

3 comments:

Schmaltz Herring said...

This is ridiculous, but I am amused to find out there are adults who believe this make-believe stuff.

One has to be brainwashed, lobotomized or plain idiot in order to believe this shit.

Agioi_Anargyroi said...

You would better serve whatever your point is with some sort of reasoned argument instead of name calling and patronizing.

And I find it interesting that you make these comments about such an incredibly recent and very well publicized miracle. If stories like this don't give people pause, then perhaps nothing will.

But I don't mean to pass judgment on anyone, because I am, in all honesty, the greatest sinner. But I would say that ultimately one is a true Orthodox Christian because Christ's Love is written onto their hearts, and because they have experienced "the Way the Truth and the Life", which one's heart can't deny. This brings one "the Peace which surpasses understanding", "full of Grace and Truth".

If one doesn't approach any part of the faith with the right attitude, everything will appear to be mere foolishness. This is not at all "brainwashing", but the proper perspective and perception that comes from divine illumination.

"For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God" (St. Paul the Apostle in 1st Corinthians 1:22-24)

Gebre Medhin said...

What a Great Miracle I hear after many time ago. Oh...I proud of my religion and let me stop by saying, May God with us!