Sunday, May 10, 2009

St. Theodore the Byzantine and the Miraculous Deliverance of Mytilene from the Plague

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!


Icon of St. Theodore the New Martyr the Byzantine, the Protector of Mytilene (taken from: http://christopherklitou.com/icon_17_feb_theodore_the_byzantine_newmartyr.htm)
 
"In the year 1832, a terrible, deadly disease, the plague, hit the population of Mytilene. Deaths occurred each day and were increasing in number. Residents were forced to abandon their homes and flee to the surrounding hills in the hope that they would not get the disease. And even the city authorities left their offices in the city and took refuge in the mountains. The government had sent for teams of doctors from Constantinople and medicines, none of which had any effect.

But where human efforts failed, the grace of God was successful, by the prayers of Saint Theodore the Byzantine, the Neomartyr.

In these critical days, on the Friday night of the first week of Great Lent, the Saint appeared to the then Chancellor Fr. Kallinikos, (who later became the Metropolitan of Mytilene and Patriarch of Constantinople) and urged him to tell the Metropolitan to gather the Christians from the surrounding areas where they had fled, to have a vigil in the Metropolis church and to remove his relic from the church’s crypt. The Chancellor gave no importance to the dream, but after a week, and again on Friday night, he saw the same dream but more lifelike, and the Saint more austere. This time he immediately ran to inform the Metropolitan of the Saint’s will. The Metropolitan immediately met with the Turkish Governor and requested the permission to call the Christians to come to the church by any means and for everyone to ask God to save them from the disease. The Turkish doctors, who came from Constantinople, objected. They did not want such a gathering to take place for fear of transmitting the disease further. But the Governor, seeing that everyone was dying despite all the measures that were taken by doctors, even when the inhabitants fled from their homes, gave permission to gather and hold vigil.

All the Christians, with faith and hope ran to the temple, which was filled within, outside and around the streets. They cried, beseeched God, and sought the help of the Saint, whom they learned had appeared in a dream to the Chancellor. They rose early and they prayed. In the morning hours, the Metropolitan and the Chancellor descended into the church’s crypt, and removed the Holy Body of St. Theodore with reverence, and had a short procession around the church.

Since that time, no one else, neither Christian nor Turk, died from that plague. The city named St. Theodore their «patron», i.e. the protector of the city and of our island [Lesvos]. Turks and Greeks in every way confessed the miracle and showed their gratitude to God and their guardian Saint.


The Holy Skull of St. Theodore the Byzantine. The Neomartyr's relics are treasured in the Metropolis Cathedral of St. Athanasius in Mytilene (taken from: http://www.immyt.net/diocese/activites/ag_oros_3os_2008/2_3a.JPG)
  
Since then (1832) the venerable relic of the Saint was not returned to the crypt of the church, but was clearly placed (and as a sign to the Turks) in the Metropolis church, where it is found today, and now, as stated in the Apolytikion of the Saint, is a «valuable treasure» for our place.

As the patron saint, St. Theodore protected the island during the last war in 1940, and while the Italians bombed several targets, including the antenna (ασύρματο?) of the city, the factories of Sourlagka in the Gulf of Gera, the ship “Arntena” in the port, no bomb had achieved its objective and many of them hit the ground without exploding.

In remembrance of the miracle of rescuing the population of the city from the plague, since the year 1936, on the initiative of Metropolitan Iakovos of Mytilene from Durrachiou, a new feast day was established in Mytilene on the Fourth Sunday of Pascha [the Sunday of the Paralytic], on which with great splendor and the participation of thousands of the faithful, the procession with the venerable relics of the Saint takes place."
(translated and summarized from: http://www.pigizois.net/agiologio/lesviako_agiologio/20.htm)

See an earlier post for the life and martyrdon of St. Theodore the Byzantine: http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2009/02/holy-neomartyr-st-theodore-byzantine.html . May St. Theodore intercede for all of us and help us!

Pictures from the Feast of All Saints of Lesvos (the Sunday after All Saints Sunday). The Divine Liturgy is being performed on the Holy Relic of St. Theodore (which forms the Altar table). The tradition of performing the Divine Liturgy on the graves and remains of the Holy Martyrs dates back to the earliest years of Christianity. (http://www.immyt.net/diocese/activites/eorti_ag_lesvou_2009/eorti_ag_lesvou_2009_43.JPG)



Icon of St. Theodore the Neomartyr the Byzantine, with scenes from his life (taken from: http://www.rel.gr/photo/displayimage.php?album=26&pos=272)
  
ΑΠΟΛΥΤΙΚΙON ΤΟΥ ΑΓΙΟΥ ΘΕΟΔΩΡΟΥ (Ο ΒΥΖΑΝΤΙΟΣ) - ΠΟΛΙΟΥΧΟΣ ΜΥΤΙΛΗΝΗΣ - Ήχος δ’ Ταχύ προκατάλαβε
Το πάντιμον λείψανον του Θεοδώρου, πιστοί, ενδόξως τιμήσωμεν ως θησαυρών τιμαλφή, και πάντες βοήσωμεν: Σώσον εκ των κινδύνων τους πιστώς σε υμνούντας, ως πότε σύ ερρύσω εκ πανώλους την πόλιν και πάντας περιφρούρησον ταις ικεσίαις σου.
The Apolytikion for the Translation of the Relics of St. Theodore the Byzantine (4th Sunday of Pascha) – 4th Tone (amateur translation)
The all-precious Relics of St. Theodore, O faithful, let us gloriously honor as a precious treasure, and let all cry out: Save us from the dangers, those who faithfully hymn you, as when you delivered the city from the plague, and preserve all of us through your intercessions.
  
Christ is Risen from the dead, by death, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs, bestowing life!
Truly the Lord is risen!

1 comment:

A. Karin Schultze said...

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." "Lazarus, come out!" St. Theodore, pray for us, to carry all illnesses, diseases and infirmities in my son, nieces, nephews, godchild (parents, grandparents, greatgrandparents (step)) for cleansing, healing, deliverance.