Thursday, May 28, 2009

St. Ypomoni (Patience) the Righteous

St. Ypomoni, or Ipomoni (Patience) the Righteous, and the Former Byzantine Empress Augusta Helen Palaiologos (Icon courtesy of used with permission)

The Life of St. Ypomoni (preliminarily translated and summarized from:
The memory of our Righteous and God-bearing mother Ypomoni is celebrated on March 13th (the day of her repose) and May 29th (the date of the fall of Constantinople and the death of her son Constantine XI Palaiologos, according to:

St. Ypomoni, in the world Helen Dragash, and later as the wife of Manuel II Palaiologos, "Helen in Christ God Augusta and Empress of the Romans, Palaiologos", was the daughter of Constantine Dragash, one of the many leaders and inheritors of the large Serbian kingdom of Stefan Dusan. She came from royal and blessed generation. Many of her ancestors were Saints (e.g. Stefan Nemania. the Serbian king and founder of the Holy Monastery of Chilander on Mount Athos and St. Symeon the Myrrh-gusher). Konstantine Dragash assumed the leadership of what is today the Bulgarian portion of northeast Macedonia, in the area between the rivers Axiou and Strymonos. Her birth took place immediately after the death of the Dusan years. Her upbringing. education, and her treatment were greatly influenced by the Byzantine ideal, because the Serbs were greatly influenced by Byzantine culture. They thought of themselves as more identifying with the culture and especially the national consciousness of the Byzantine Empire. Emotionally and essentially they were considered Byzantine, as she was later allowed to become Augusta and Empress due to her birth in the Serbian homeland. Above and beyond these, she was raised with the family tradition of the unshakeable Orthodox faith in God. This faith guided and illumined her, and would inspire her life which would be full of sorrows and trials. She was about 19 years old when she married Manuel II Palaiologos (1390), a few days before becoming Emperor.
St. Ypomoni, formerly Empress Helena Dragash (taken from:
The new life of Helen - St. Ypomoni, from the beginning showed itself to be Golgotha. Many times she had to drink the cup of insults and debasement by her husband's side, not only from those of other religions, but from the Christians by name of the Western nations, in their desperate attempt to find ways to save the dying Empire. Helen - St. Ypomoni was demonstrated as an outstanding person who gathered many great virtues, and spiritual strength. She showed that she had a total sense of her position and circumstances, and her role and what was required, at all levels. She loved the people. She was the Great Mother whom anyone could approach. She shared the anxieties and concerns of her fearful nation and whatever she did was accompanied by prayer, her meekness, sweetness and consoling words. What was briefly written about the Empress by George Gemistos-Plython was very characteristic and eloquent: "This Queen with much humility and perseverance appeared to address the two ways of life. Neither at the time of testing was she swayed [απεγοητεύετο?], nor when she was granted rest, but in each case she did what was required. She joined together intelligence and bravery, more than any other woman. She was distinguished for her chastity. She had completely deep righteousness. We did not know her to do evil to anyone, either men or women. Instead we know that she did much good to many. With what other way can righteousness be shown in practice, other than to never do your own will or show evil towards anyone, but only show good to many?” She proved worthy of her philosophical and Christ-loving husband, Manuel. She proved worthy to work next to him for 35 years, in accordance with their martyrdom, in other words, everything was held in agreement, harmony, a co-spirit of Christ and holiness of struggles. They managed to honor virtue with words and deeds. “By word of teaching the practical, their work became prototypes and icons of applied love”.
To this blessed couple God graced eight children. From the six boys, two of them ascended the Emperor’s throne, John VIII and Constantine XI. The final legendary Emperor. Theodore, Demetrios and Thomas became leaders of Mystra, and Andronikos of Thessaloniki. The two girls, however, passed away at a young age. The mother who had so many children and who loved them so much, nurtured them with the streams of faith and the sweet teaching of our Orthodox Church, taking them to holy shrines and sacred Monasteries of the Kingdom, and sought prayers for them by the holy ascetics and Elders. She raised them “in the law of the Lord from youth”, and never “ceased with tears of prayer and love to instill the law in each one”. With patience and persistence, with care and prayer she shaped their characters, and together gave them “life” and “good life”. In this way, she managed, among others, to end 90 years of conflict between the members of the Imperial Family, which had extinguished the Empire. Any differences of opinion or conflicts that occured (after the death of Manuel), were overcome silently with the prestige of her motherly intervention and her prayer.

Her love towards the Monasteries was special. There she felt rest, her soul would rest, and she drew strength and courage for what would follow. This she imparted to her whole family. Her husband, who ceded the throne to his first-born son John, two months before his death (May 29th 1425), he enrolled in the Pantocrator Monastery in Constantinople, where he was tonsured a monk with the name Matthew. She, after the death of her husband became a nun (1425) in the Monastery of Lady Martha, with the name Ypomoni (Patience). And three from their children became monks, Theodore and Andronikos (monk Akakios) in the Pantocrator Monastery, and Demetrios (Monk David) in Didymoteicho. Further, as long as they were in their homeland, together with her father she built the Holy Monastery of Panagia Pammakaristos in Poganovo of the city of Demetrovgrand in southeast Servia.

The church of the Monastery of St. Patapios, Loutraki, where the Relics of St. Ypomoni are treasured (taken from:; for more information about St. Patapios, see:

In Constantinople she was associated with the Holy Monastery of the Precious Forerunner of Petra, where the Holy Relic of St. Patapios the Righteous Wonderworker was kept, to which St. Ypomoni showed a special reverence. The Monastery was founded by the fellow ascetic of St. Patapios in Egypt, Vara the Righteous, outside of the Roman gate before 450 AD. With St. Ypomoni’s help she founded in the Monastery a female old-age home with the name “The hope of the hopeless”. Her reverence towards St. Patapios was revealed by the fact that the iconographer of the cave of St. Patapios on the Geraneia Mountain of Corinth considered it essential to depict St. Ypomoni next to the body of the Saint. St. Ypomoni was a bright and illumined person, endowed with many talents, which she “traded” with wisdom and prudence and gained much, manged with virtue, asceticism and endurance to reach a hard to scale measure of virtue.
The Holy Skull of St. Ypomoni, treasured at the Monastery of St. Patapios, Loutraki (taken from:
A meaningful physiognomy of her time, Gennadios Scholarios, the first Ecumenical Patriarch after the Sack of Constantinople, in his Paramythetiko Logo to King Constantine CI, “At the dormition of his mother St. Ypomoni”, he offers the following characteristically: “This blessed Queen when she was visited by someone wise, he would leave amazed from her unique wisdom. When she met some ascetic, he would leave, after the meeting, shamed by his poor virtue, ashamed by her virtue. When she met someone intelligent, he would be struck by her greater intelligence. When she would meet with a legislator, they became more just [προσεκτικώτερος?]. When she spoke with some lawyer, they believed that they had before them the Rule of Law in practice. When someone brave would meet her, they would feel defeated, feeling amazed by her patience, wisdom and strength of character. When she was approached by some philanthropist, they were struck by her greater and perceivable feeling of philanthropy. When she met some friend of amusements, they would gain wisdom, and coming to know their humility before her, repented. When she met some zealot of piety, they would gain greater zeal. Every one suffering, after meeting with her received some relief of their pain. Every arrogant person berated his great self-love. And in general there was no one who who came into contact with her and did not become better.”

God granted her to not live through the last tragic moments of the Empire. He called her close to Him on March 13th 1450, having lived 35 years as Empress and 25 years as a humble nun. Her servant John Evgenikos, the brother of St. Mark Archbishop of Ephesus, in his Paramythetiko Logo to Constantine Palaiologos at the dormition of his Mother, St. Ypomoni, wrote: As for your eternal Lady Mother, everything as long as she lived was excellent, faith, works, generation, the way life, word and everything together was pure and worthy of divine honor, and as she lived as a partaker of divine Providence, thus she ended.” The “Holy Lady” as she is named by George Frantzes, is joined with the thought of her monastic name (Ypomoni) with the way she confronted the good and also the many problems in her whole life. Patience in life, deed and monastic name. “In patience she possessed her soul”" (taken from:

A recent miracle of the Saint
"Many are the appearances of St. Ypomoni in the last few years to the faithful and also to non-Christians. The following miraculous appearance involved the healing of a sick man.
St. Ypomoni appeared as a nun to a taxi driver from Athens. She stopped his taxi, and sought to be driven to Loutraki. The taxi driver had skin cancer on his hands and was experiencing a great lack of faith. On the way, the nun, who wore a cowl with a red cross asked him:
"Why are you sad?"
And he did not hesitate to confess the whole truth. After she asked him if he wanted her make the sign of the Cross on him so that he would become well, and he agreed. In a short time however, he started to get sleepy, and he asked the nun if they could stop for a little so that they wouldn't be killed. They had arrived close to the destination, and it would be easy for her to find another taxt. He stopped on the side of the road and fell asleep. When he woke up he noticed that his hands were better, but the nun had disappeared. He asked people in the area if they saw a nun near there, but no one had seen her. He therefore returned to his taxi and realized that it had been some Saint who had then disappeared. He headed right away to his doctor and related what had happened. At that instant his eyes fell on an icon which was hanging in the doctor's office, and he fell from his chair and cried:
"That was her."
The icon was of St. Ypomoni. Thus he learned who it was that healed him and softened his unbelief. The cowl with the red cross showed her origin before becoming Empress of Byzantium, and with this monastic schema her life ended. Later it became known that the day when the miracle occured was March 13th, the day when the Saint celebrates." (taken from:

Icon of St. Ypomoni (taken from:
Απολυτίκιον. Ήχος πλ. α'. Τον συνάναρχον Λόγον.
Την κλεινήν βασιλίδα εγκωμιάσωμεν, Υπομονήν την οσίαν, περιστεράν ευλαβή εκ του κόσμου πετασθείσαν της συγχύσεως προς τας σκηνάς του ουρανού, εν αγάπη ακλινεί, ασκήσει και ταπεινώσει βοώντες, θραύσον, λιταίς σου ημών δεσμούς ανόμους, άνασσα.
Apolytikion of St. Ypomoni the Righteous - Plagal of the 1st Tone
(these hymns below are amateur translations)
The noble queen let us hymn, Ypomoni the Righteous, the pious dove who flew from the world's disarray towards the dwlling place of heaven, in unending love, asceticism and humility, crying, shatter, by your prayers, the shackles of the lawless, O queen.

Κοντάκιον. Ήχος πλ. δ'. Τη Υπερμάχω.
Υπομονής θεοστηρίκτου την ομώνυμον και βασιλίδων θεοσόφων την υπέρτιμον, την εκλάμψασαν ως άστρον εν Βυζαντίω και χορούς μοναζουσών καταπυρσεύσασαν, ταπεινώσεως βολαίς ανευφημήσωμεν, πόθω κράζοντες. Χαίροις, Μήτερ πανεύφημε.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Bearing the name of Godly-strengthened Patience, and the most-honored of the Godly-wise rulers, who shone as a star in Byzantium and blazing among the choirs of the monastics, with the rays of humility let us praise her, crying out fervently: Hail, O most-praised Mother.

Χαίροις εκμαγείον υπομονής, στήλη σωφροσύνης, αδιάσειστον αρετών, τείχος και ταμείον, Υπομονή, αγάπης, ενθέων βασιλίδων κέρας περίδοξον.

Hail archetype of patience, pillar of abstinence, unassailable of virtues, O wall and treasury of love, Ypomoni, glorify the horn of pious rulers.

Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

The Holy Feast of Christ's Ascension

Icon of Christ's Ascension (Icon courtesy of used with permission)
The Lord Jesus passed forty days on earth after His Resurrection from the dead, appearing continually in various places to His disciples, with whom He also spoke, ate, and drank, thereby further demonstrating His Resurrection. On this Thursday, the fortieth day after Pascha, He appeared again in Jerusalem. After He had first spoken to the disciples about many things, He gave them His last commandment, that is, that they go forth and proclaim His Name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. But He also commanded them that for the present, they were not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait there together until they receive power from on high, when the Holy Spirit would come upon them.

Saying these things, He led them to the Mount of Olives, and raising His hands, He blessed them; and saying again the words of the Father's blessing, He was parted from them and taken up. Immediately a cloud of light, a proof of His majesty, received Him. Sitting thereon as though on a royal chariot, He was taken up into Heaven, and after a short time was concealed from the sight of the disciples, who remained where they were with their eyes fixed on Him. At this point, two Angels in the form of men in white raiment appeared to them and said, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into Heaven? This same Jesus, Who is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven" (Acts 1:11). These words, in a complete and concise manner, declare what is taught in the Symbol of Faith concerning the Son and Word of God. Therefore, having so fulfilled all His dispensation for us, our Lord Jesus Christ ascended in glory into Heaven, and sat at the right hand of God the Father. As for His sacred disciples, they returned from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem, rejoicing because Christ had promised to send them the Holy Spirit.

It should be noted that the Mount of Olives is a Sabbath's day journey from Jerusalem, that is, the distance a Jew was permitted to walk on the day of the Sabbath. Ecumenius writes, "A Sabbath day's journey is one mile in length, as Clement says in his fifth Stromatis; it is two thousand cubits, as the Interpretation of the Acts states." They draw this conclusion from the fact that, while they were in the wilderness, the Israelites of old kept within this distance from the Holy Tabernacle, whither they walked on the Sabbath day to worship God." (taken from:
Detail of Fresco of Christ's Ascension (Icon courtesy of used with permission)
Apolytikion of the Ascension in the Fourth Tone
O Christ our God, You ascended in Glory and gladdened Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit. Your blessing assured them that You are the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world.

Kontakion. Model Melody. Tone 8.
[By St Romanos]
When you had fulfilled the dispensation for our sake and united things on earth with things in heaven, you were taken up in glory, Christ our God, in no way divided, but remaining inseparable, you cried to those who loved you, ‘I am with you, and there is no one against you.’

The Ikos
Abandoning on earth the things of earth, leaving to the dust the things of ash, now, let us come to our senses and raise on high our eyes and minds. Mortals, let us make our sight together with our senses fly heaven’s gates. Let us imagine we are standing on the Mount of Olives and that we bend our gaze on the Redeemer, as he rides up on a cloud. For, from where the Lord has hastened back to heaven, there too the One who loves to give has distributed his gifts to his Apostles, cherishing them as a father and confirming them, guiding them as sons and saying to them, ‘I am not parting from you. I am with you, and there is no one against you.’

Detail of Fresco of Christ's Ascension (Icon courtesy of used with permission)
Prosomia of the Praises - Tone 1 - Joy of the heavenly hosts.
Let us in the world keep festival like the Angels, for God who is borne upon a throne of glory, as we cry aloud the hymn: Holy are you, heavenly Father; holy are you, co-eternal Son; holy are you, all-holy Spirit.

The princes of the Angels, Saviour, as they saw the strangeness of your ascent, were perplexed and said to one another, ‘What is this sight? Human he seems in form, yet as God he ascends with a body far above the heavens’.

The men of Galilee, seeing you, O Word, taken up from the mount of Olives with a body, heard Angels crying out to them, ‘Why do you stand gazing? He will come again in the flesh in the same way that you have seen him’.

Fresco of Christ's Ascension (Icon courtesy of used with permission)

Doxastikon of the Praises - Tone 2.
You were born, as you yourself willed; you appeared, as you yourself wished; you suffered in the flesh, O our God; you rose from the dead, having trampled on death; you were taken up in glory, who fill the universe, and you sent us the divine Spirit, that we might hymn and glorify your Godhead.
(taken from:
The Holy Ascension of Christ (
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

St. John the Russian, the New Confessor of Prokopion and Evia

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!

Icon of St. John the Russian, the New Confessor, whose incorrupt Relics are treasured in New Prokopi, Euboia, Greece - Commemorated on May 27 (Icon courtesy of used with permission)
"The Holy Confessor John the Russian was born in Little Russia around 1690, and was raised in piety and love for the Church of God. Upon attaining the age of maturity he was called to military service, and he served as a simple soldier in the army of Peter I and took part in the Russo-Turkish War. During the Prutsk Campaign of 1711 he and other soldiers were captured by the Tatars, who handed him over to the commander of the Turkish cavalry. He took his Russian captive home with him to Asia Minor, to the village of Prokopion.

The Turks tried to convert the Christian soldiers to the Moslem faith with threats and flattery, but those who resisted were beaten and tortured. Some, alas, denied Christ and became Moslems, hoping to improve their lot. St John was not swayed by the promise of earthly delights, and he bravely endured the humiliation and beatings.

His master tortured him often in the hope that his slave would accept Islam. St John resolutely resisted the will of his master saying, "You cannot turn me from my holy Faith by threats, nor with promises of riches and pleasures. I will obey your orders willingly, if you will leave me free to follow my religion. I would rather surrender my head to you than to change my faith. I was born a Christian, and I shall die a Christian."

St John's bold words and firm faith, as well as his humility and meekness, finally softened the fierce heart of his master. He left John in peace, and no longer tried to make him renounce Christianity. The saint lived in the stable and took care of his master's animals, rejoicing because his bed was a manger such as the one in which the Savior was born.

From morning until late evening the saint served his Turkish master, fulfilling all his commands. He performed his duties in the winter cold and summer heat, half naked and barefoot. Other slaves frequently mocked him, seeing his zeal. St John never became angry with them, but on the contrary, he helped them when he could, and comforted them in their misfortune.

The saint's kindness and gentle nature had its effect on the souls of both the master and the slaves. The Agha and his wife came to love him, and offered him a small room near the hayloft. St John did not accept it, preferring to remain in the stable with the animals. Here he slept on the hay, covered only by an old coat. So the stable became his hermitage, where he prayed and chanted Psalms.
St John brought a blessing to his master simply by living in his household. The cavalry officer became rich, and was soon one of the most powerful men in Prokopion. He knew very well why his home had been blessed, and he did not hesitate to tell others.

Sometimes St John left the stable at night and went to the church of the Great Martyr George, where he kept vigil in the narthex. On Saturdays and Feast days, he received the Holy Mysteries of Christ.

During this time St John continued to serve his master as before, and despite his own poverty, he always helped the needy and the sick, and shared his meager food with them.

One day, the officer left Prokopion and went to Mecca on pilgrimage. A few days later, his wife gave a banquet and invited her husband's friends and relatives, asking them to pray for her husband's safe return. St John served at the table, and he put down a dish of pilaf, his master's favorite food. The hostess said, "How much pleasure your master would have if he could be here to eat this pilaf with us." St John asked for a dish of pilaf, saying that he would send it to his master in Mecca. The guests laughed when they heard his words. The mistress, however, ordered the cook to give him a dish of pilaf, thinking he would eat it himself, or give it to some poor family.

Taking the dish, St John went into the stable and prayed that God would send it to his master. He had no doubt that God would send the pilaf to his master in a supernatual manner. The plate disappeared before his eyes, and he went into the house to tell his mistress that he had sent the pilaf to his master.

The copper plate which St. John miraculously sent to Mecca, still treasured by his church in Evia (source)
After some time, the master returned home with the copper plate which had held the pilaf. He told his household that on a certain day (the very day of the banquet), he returned from the mosque to the home where he was staying. Although the room was locked, he found a plate of steaming pilaf on the table. Unable to explain who had brought the food, or how anyone could enter the locked room, the officer examined the plate. To his amazement, he saw his own name engraved on the copper plate. In spite of his confusion, he ate the meal with great relish.

When the officer's family heard this story, they marveled. His wife told him of how John had asked for a plate of pilaf to send to his master in Mecca, and how they all laughed when John came back and said that it had been sent. Now they saw that what the saint had said was true (Compare the story of Habakkuk, who miraculously brought a dish of pottage to Daniel in the lions' den [Dan. 14:33-39], in the Septuagint).
St. John the Russian receiving Holy Communion hidden in an apple (
Toward the end of his difficult life St John fell ill, and sensed the nearness of his end. He summoned the priest so that he could receive Holy Communion. The priest, fearing to go to the residence of the Turkish commander openly with the Holy Gifts, enclosed the life-giving Mysteries in an apple and brought them to St John.

St John glorified the Lord, received the Body and Blood of Christ, and then reposed. The holy Confessor John the Russian went to the Lord Whom he loved on May 27, 1730. When they reported to the master that his servant John had died, he summoned the priests and gave them the body of St John for Christian burial. Almost all the Christian inhabitants of Prokopion came to the funeral, and they accompanied the body of the saint to the Christian cemetery.

Three and a half years later the priest was miraculously informed in a dream that the relics of St John had remained incorrupt. Soon the relics of the saint were transferred to the church of the holy Great Martyr George and placed in a special reliquary. The new saint of God began to be glorified by countless miracles of grace, accounts of which spread to the remote cities and villages. Christian believers from various places came to Prokopion to venerate the holy relics of St John the Russian and they received healing through his prayers. The new saint came to be venerated not only by Orthodox Christians, but also by Armenians, and even Turks, who prayed to the Russian saint, "Servant of God, in your mercy, do not disdain us."

Once, the Turks had sacked the church with St. John's body while it was in in Asia Minor. They then proceeded to throw the Saint's body into the fire to burn it. However, they soon saw the Saint appear as if he were alive and arise and walk amidst the flames; the Turks then fled in fear. This is the reason that the Saint's body is darkened to this day from the smoke of the flames. However, it nonetheless remained utterly incorrupt and wonderworking. (
[In 1878, Fr. Andrew, a monk from the Russian Monastery of St. Panteleimon on Mount Athos, made a pilgrimage to Prokopion to pray before the relics of St. John. When he arrived he venerated the Saint with great joy, and remained in the village for some time. On his way to Constantinople he travelled with six coaches of Turkish merchants from Anatolia, also on their way to the capital. As they reached a rutted and desolate part of the road, the monk's coach and one other slowed down to avoid mishap, while the rest went on ahead. Suddenly, a young man on a red horse appeared on a low hill near Fr. Andrew's coach, waving his hand and shouting, "Turn back! Robbers have captured your companions!" As soon as he sounded the warning, he vanished from in front of their eyes.

The two coaches immediately turned back, and although pursued by the robbers, they escaped unharmed. Fr. Andrew hastened to the nearest village, where he continued his journey in the company of Turkish soldiers. At a country inn where they spent the night, he met his former merchant-companions, who told him that the thieves had not only taken their money, but even their clothes, and they were amazed that the last two coaches had escaped unharmed. Fr. Andrew related the appearance of the youth, and they all glorified God, understanding that it was the Saint himself who had saved the monk after his pilgrimage to Prokopion. (]
In the year 1881 a portion of the relics of St John were transferred to the Russian monastery of the holy Great Martyr Panteleimon by the monks of Mount Athos, after they were miraculously saved by the saint during a dangerous journey.

[Another source mentions the that the Saint's "missing" right hand was transferred to the Monastery of St. Panteleimon on Mount Athos. One pious desire of St. John was to go to the Holy Mountain, but he was unable to do so in life. After his death he appeared to a priest from there, and told him to seek out his right hand, which was separated on its own, and to bring it to Mount Athos. Thus after death, a part of him could reside there. (amateur translation of text from:]
Construction of a new church was begun in 1886, through the contributions of the monastery and the inhabitants of Prokopion. This was necessary because the church of the holy Great Martyr George, where the relics of St John were enshrined, had fallen into disrepair.

On August 15, 1898 the new church dedicated to St John the Russian was consecrated by the Metropolitan John of Caesarea, with the blessing of the Ecumenical Patriarch Constantine V.

In 1924, an exchange of the populations of Greece and Turkey took place. Many Moslems moved out of Greece, and many Christians moved out of Turkey. The inhabitants of Prokopion, when they moved to the island of Euboia, took with them part of the relics of St John the Russian.

For several decades the relics were in the church of Sts Constantine and Helen at New Prokopion on Euboia, and in 1951 they were transferred into a new church dedicated to St John the Russian. Thousands of pilgrims flocked here from all the corners of Greece, particularly on his Feast, May 27. St John the Russian is widely venerated on Mount Athos, particularly in the Russian monastery of St Panteleimon.

St John's help is sought by travelers, and by those transporting things." (taken from:
Icon of St. John the Russian (Icon courtesy of used with permission)
"The Venerable Ivan shows a special love for children through the many miracles bestowed upon them by Christ. With visible intervention, many times he saved children from certain death during earthquakes when roofs fell on to children during school hours at Prokopi and in Athens at the Holy Umercenaries (Aghi Anargyri) some years ago. He also saved countless children from terrible diseases and other calamities.

Even his help and benefaction to adults is not limited! Whole streams of miracles have been bestowed upon them as well! Deaf and dumb are able to hear and speak! Paralysed are able to walk in good health! Blind see again! Cardiopathics return to their former strength! Cancer sufferers are healed! A certain woman from Cyprus bent over due to a spinal problem so that her head reached her knees, like the one in the Gospel, was healed a few years ago immediately she donned the belt of the Saint. This miracle was made known widely by the Press. A non-believer physician (who at one time, with great disrespect, had called the relics of the Saint a "mummy"), was healed from an incurable and terminal illness when the humble Saint appeared to him and said, "I am he whom you called the 'mummy', and I heal you by the Grace of my Lord Jesus Christ"! Demoniacs are freed from the demons that possess them! Saddened people are comforted! Disillusioned people find hope! Weakened people are supported! Disbelievers become believers! Pious people are strengthened in their piety! The name of God is constantly glorified because of the small-framed slave boy from Russia. This was the suffering stable-hand who lived as a slave without slavery, voluntarily poor, unimportant, dressed in ragged clothing, obedient, but firm though in his holy Orthodox Christian Faith, having the "Slava tebie Bozhie" (Glory to you God) constantly coming from his mouth!" (taken from:

The Saint performed many wonders even after his blessed repose. A descendent of the Agha told many of the following miracle: "My children would not live except for a short time, and would die while yet infants. Their unfortunate mother, after she had lost hope in the wisdom of medicine, fled without my knowledge to the relics of the slave John, so that be might grant her a little child which would not die while yet young, so that we also might rejoice to see it as a young man or even a young girl .... In truth the righteous John heard the supplication of my wife. God granted us a strong little boy whom we called, as you know, Kole Guvan Oglu (that is, "Son of the Slave John"), and he lives through the power of God and the prayers of John even until today."

Several times St. John has appeared in dreams and visions warning of impending dangers. Once he warned some Greek school children that the roof was about to fall; they had time enough to jump underneath their desks and when the roof fell, its beams came down upon the desks without striking even one of the children.

More recently we have heard about the miraculous healings of two severe cases of meningitis – one a 19 year old shepherd boy in southern Greece and the other a 3-year old boy in London.

Today a part of the right hand of St. John is enshrined in a special silver reliquary in the Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Boston [Old Calendar, HOCNA], where many people come to venerate it and to ask the prayers of this simple Confessor of the Christian faith, knowing that the Lord – Who resisteth the proud – hears speedily the prayers of the meek." (taken from:
Many faithful walk 40 kilometers in the grace of the Saint
Holding a bottle of water and a towel to wipe the sweat, hundreds are the faithful who go by foot to Prokopi [Evia] to celebrate St. John the Russian. Here for two days, the center road from Chalkida to Prokopi is filled with the faithful who walk to go to the Righteous Saint. The distance is about 40 kilometers, and many walk this every year. The power of faith is great, as are the miracles of the Saint.
For more miracles of St. John the Russian, see: and
For a video of the house and local church of the Saint in Prokopi, Asia Minor, see: and
Deisis with Christ, the Theotokos and St. John the Russian (
Elder Iakovos and St. John
"Elder Iakovos Tsalikis would regularly visit the Shrine of St. John the Russian in Evia.

He said: "Once, I saw the Saint alive inside of his reliquary. I asked him: "My Saint, how did you live in Asia Minor, what virtues and blessings did you have?

The Saint responded to me: "I slept in the cave in which was the stable and covered myself with straw to take cover in the winter so I wouldn't freeze. I had humility and faith."

In a short while he said to me: "Wait, Fr. Iakovos, because now two people have come to pray for a sick child. Wait until I go help him."

Immediately the reliquary appeared empty, because the Saint left. In a short while, he returned, though I didn't see how he did, but I saw him inside his reliquary like a [living] man!"
(amateur translation of text from:
Icon of St. John the Russian (Icon courtesy of used with permission)

Apolytikion of St. John the Russian
He that hath called thee from earth unto the heavenly abodes doth even after thy death keep thy body unharmed, O righteous one; for thou wast carried off as a prisoner into Asia wherein also, O John, thou didst win Christ as thy friend. Wherefore do thou beseech him that our souls be saved.

The holy memory, O righteous father, of thine illustrious contests hath come today gladdening the souls of those who venerate thee with reverence and faith, O John.
The full service to St. John the Russian (in Greek) is available here:, with the Akathist here: and the Engomia (Lamentations) here:
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!

Monday, May 25, 2009

St. Alexander of Svir the Righteous, and his wondrous incorruption

Icon of St. Alexander the Righteous of Svir (taken from:

The Life of St. Alexander of Svir (St. Alexander Svirsky) (taken from:

Saint Alexander of Svir was born on July 15, 1448, on the feastday of the Prophet Amos, and was named for him in Baptism. St Alexander was a beacon of monasticism in the deep forests of the Russian North, living in asceticism, and he was granted the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit.

His parents, Stephen and Vassa (Vasilisa) were peasants of the near Lake Ladoga village of Mandera near Lake Ladoga, at the bank of the River Oyata, a tributary of the River Svira. They had sons and daughters who were already grown and lived away from their parents. Stephen and Vassa wanted to have another son. They prayed fervently and heard a voice from above: "Rejoice, good man and wife, you shall bear a son, in whose birth God will give comfort to His Church."

Amos grew up to be a special child. He was always obedient and gentle, he shunned games, jokes and foul talk, he wore poor clothes and so weakened himself with fasting, that it caused his mother anxiety. Upon coming of age, he once met some Valaam monks who had come to the Oyata to purchase necessities, and for other monastery business.

By this time Valaam was already known as a monastery of deep piety and strict ascetic life. After speaking with the monks, the young man was fascinated by their account of the skete life (with two or three monks together) and the solitary life of the hermit. Knowing that his parents had arranged a marriage for him, the youth went secretly to Valaam when he was nineteen. In the guise of a traveler, an angel of God appeared to him, showing him the way to the island.

Amos lived for seven years at the monastery as a novice, leading an austere life. He spent his days at work, and his nights in vigilance and prayer. Sometimes he prayed in the forest bare-chested, all covered by mosquitoes and gnats, to the morning song of the birds.

In the year 1474, Amos received monastic tonsure with the name Alexander. After several years, his parents eventually learned from Karelians arriving in Mandera where their son had gone. Following the example of their son, the parents also went to the monastery and were tonsured with the names Sergius and Barbara. After their death, St Alexander, with the blessing of the igumen of the monastery, settled on a solitary island, where he built a cell in the crevice of a cliff and continued his spiritual exploits.

The fame of his asceticism spread far. Then in 1485 St Alexander departed from Valaam and, upon a command from above, chose a place in the forest on the shore of a beautiful lake, which was afterwards named Holy. Here the monk built himself a hut and dwelt in solitude for seven years, eating only what he gathered in the forest (Later at this place, Holy Lake, 36 versts from the future city of Olonets and 6 versts from the River Svira, St Alexander founded the monastery of the Life-Creating Trinity, and 130 sazhen (i.e. 910 feet) off from it, at Lake Roschina, he built himself a hut on the future site of the St Alexander of Svir monastery).

During this time the saint experienced fierce sufferings from hunger, frost, sickness and demonic temptations. But the Lord continually sustained the spiritual and bodily strength of the righteous one. Once when suffering with terrible infirmities, he not only was unable to get up from the ground, but was unable to even lift his head. He just lay there and sang Psalms. Then a glorious man appeared to him. Placing his hand on the sore spot, he made the Sign of the Cross over the saint and healed him.

In 1493 while hunting for deer, the adjoining land-owner Andrew Zavalishin happened to come upon the saint's hut. Andrew spoke to him of a light he had seen at this place, and he entreated the monk to tell him about his life. From that point Andrew started to visit St Alexander often, and finally through the monk's guidance, he went to Valaam, where he was tonsured with the name Adrian. Later, he founded the Ondrusov monastery, and led a saintly life (August 26 and May 17).

Andrew Zavalishin was not able to keep silent about the ascetic, in spite of the promise he had given. News of the righteous one began to spread widely, and monks started to gather around him. Therefore, St Alexander withdrew from the brethren and built himself a dwelling place 130 sazhen from the monastery. There he encountered a multitude of temptations. The demons took on beastly shapes, they hissed like snakes, urging him to flee. However, the saint's prayer scorched and dispersed the devils like a fiery flame.

In 1508, twenty-three years after he came to this secluded spot, the Life-Creating Trinity appeared to St Alexander. One night he was praying in his hut. Suddenly, an intense light shone, and the monk saw Three Men, robed in radiant white garb, approaching him. Radiant with heavenly Glory, They shone in a pure brightness greater than the sun. Each of Them held a staff in His hand.

The monk fell down in terror, and coming to his senses, prostrated himself on the ground. Taking him up by the hand, the Men said: "Have trust, blessed one, and fear not." The saint was ordered to build a church and a monastery. He fell to his knees, protesting his own unworthiness, but the Lord raised him up and ordered him to fulfill the commands. St Alexander asked in whose name the church ought to be dedicated. The Lord said: "Beloved, as you see Those speaking with you in Three Persons, so also construct the church in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Trinity One-in-Essence. I leave you peace and My peace I give you." And immediately St Alexander beheld the Lord with out-stretched wings, going as though along the ground, and He became invisible.

Icon depicting the Holy Trinity (with the appearance of Three Angels) appearing to St. Alexander of Svir (taken from:
In the history of the Russian Orthodox Church this appearance is acknowledged as unique. After this vision the monk began to think where to build the church. Once, while praying to God, he heard a voice from above. Gazing up to the heavens, he saw an angel of God in mantiya and klobuk, such as St Pachomius (May 15) had seen.
The angel, standing in the air with outstretched wings and upraised hands, proclaimed: "One is Holy, One is the Lord Jesus Christ, to the Glory of God the Father. Amen." Then he turned to St Alexander saying, "Build on this spot the church in the Name of the Lord Who has appeared to you in Three Persons, Father and Son and Holy Spirit, the Undivided Trinity." After making the Sign of the Cross over the place three times, the angel became invisible.
In that same year a wooden church of the Life-Creating Trinity was built (in 1526 a stone church was built here). And at the same time as the building of the church, the brethren began to urge St Alexander to accept the priesthood. For a long time he refused, considering himself unworthy. Then the brethren began to implore St Serapion, Archbishop of Novgorod (March 16), to convince him to accept the office. And so in that very year St Alexander journeyed to Novgorod and received ordination from the holy archbishop. Soon afterwards, the brethren also asked the saint to be their igumen.
As igumen, the monk became even more humble than before. His clothes were all in tatters, and he slept on the bare ground. He himself prepared food, kneaded dough and baked bread. One time there was not enough firewood and the steward asked the igumen to send any idle monks for firewood. "I am idle," said the saint, and he began to chop firewood. Another time, he carried water.
When all were asleep, the saint was often busy grinding wheat with hand-stones to make more bread. At night he made the round of the cells, and if he heard vain conversations, he lightly tapped on the door and departed, but in the morning he admonished the brother, imposing a penance on him.
Towards the end of his life, St Alexander decided to build a stone church of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos. One evening, after singing an Akathist to the Most Holy Theotokos, he settled down to rest in the cell and suddenly said to his cell-attendant Athanasius, "Child, be sober and alert, because at this hour we will have a wondrous and astounding visit."

The Theotokos appearing to St. Alexander of Svir (
Then came a voice like thunder, "Behold the Lord and His Mother are coming." The monk hastened to the entrance to the cell, and a great light illumined it, shining over all the monastery brighter than the rays of the sun. The saint beheld the All-Pure Mother of God over the foundation of the Protection church sitting at the site of the altar, like an empress upon a throne. She held the Infant Christ in Her arms, and a multitude of angels stood before Her shining with indescribable brightness.
He fell down, unable to bear the great light. The Mother of God said, "Arise, chosen one of My Son and God. I have come here to visit you, My dear one, and to look upon the foundation of My church. I have made entreaty for your disciples and monastery. From this time on there will be an abundance; not only during your life, but also after your death. Everything your monastery requires will be granted in abundance. Behold and watch carefully how many monks are gathered into your flock. You must guide them on the way of salvation in the Name of the Holy Trinity."
The saint arose and saw a multitude of monks. Again the Mother of God said: "My dear one, if someone carries even one brick for the building of My church, in the Name of Jesus Christ, My Son and God, his treasure will not perish." Then She became invisible.
The Monasteries built by St. Alexander of Svir (taken from:

Before his death the saint displayed wondrous humility. He summoned the brethren and told them: "Bind my sinful body by the legs and drag it to a swampy thicket and, after covering it with skins, throw it in." The brethren answered: "No, Father, it is not possible to do this." Then the holy ascetic ordered that his body not be kept at the monastery, but in a place of seclusion, the church of the Transfiguration of the Lord. St Alexander departed to the heavenly Kingdom on August 30, 1533 at the age of 85.

St Alexander of Svir was glorified by wondrous miracles during his life and upon his death. In 1545, his disciple and successor, Igumen Herodion, compiled his Life. In 1547 the local celebration of the saint began and a service was composed for him. On April 17,1641, during the rebuilding of the Transfiguration church, the incorrupt relics of St Alexander of Svir were uncovered and his universal Church celebration was established on two dates: the day of his repose, August 30, and the day of glorification (and the uncovering of his relics), April 17.

St Alexander of Svir instructed and raised up a whole multitude of disciples, as the Mother of God had promised him. They are the Holy Monks: Ignatius of Ostrov, Leonid of Ostrov, Cornelius of Ostrov, Dionysius of Ostrov, Athanasius of Ostrov, Theodore of Ostrov, and Therapon of Ostrov.

Besides these saints, there are disciples and conversers with St Alexander of Svir, who have separate days of commemortation: St Athanasius of Syandem (January 18), St Gennadius of Vasheozersk (February 9), St Macarius of Orodezh (August 9), St Adrian of Ondrosov (May 17), St Nicephorus of Vasheozersk (February 9), St Gennadius of Kostroma and Liubimograd (January 23).

All these saints (except St Gennadius of Kostroma) are depicted on the Icon of the Monastic Fathers who shone forth in the land of Karelia (icon from the church at the Seminary in Kuopio, Finland). The festal celebration of the Synaxis of the Saints who shone forth in Karelia is celebrated by the Finnish Orthodox Church on the Saturday falling between October 31 and November 6.

The incorrupt relics of the saint were removed from the Svir Monastery by the Bolsheviks on December 20, 1918 after several unsuccessful attempts to confiscate them. There was an infamous campaign to liquidate the relics of the saints which continued from 1919 to 1922. Many relics of Russsian saints were stolen and subjected to "scientific examination" or displayed in antireligious museums. Some were completely destroyed.

Hoping to prove that the relics were fakes, the Soviets conducted many tests. However, the tests only confirmed that the relics were genuine. Finally, the holy relics were sent to Petrograd's Military Medical Academy. There they remained for nearly eighty years.

A second uncovering of St Alexander's relics took place in December 1997.

The relics were found to be incorrupt, just as they were when they were confiscated. The saint's appearance matched the description in the records from 1641. Once it was determined that these were in fact the relics of St Alexander, Metropolitan Vladimir of St Petersburg permitted them to be taken to the church of St Sophia and her three daughters Faith, Hope, and Love (September 17) for four months before their return to the Svir Monastery. As people venerated St Alexander's relics they noticed a fragrant myrrh flowing from them." (taken from:

For another account of the Saint's life, along with the finding of his Holy Relics (with a few miracles of the Saint and the beginning of the Saint's Akathist), see: and

A picture of the Holy Trinity Monastery of St. Alexander (taken from:
A short account of the Monastic Martyrs of St. Alexander of Svir Monastery (taken from:
"In this sanctified place, the Abbot Evgeny and five other monks received a martyric death in 1918.
The third day of Pascha, a group of Red Army soldiers entered the Monastery with blasphemies and curses. They peremptorily demanded that Abbot Evgeny, the sacristan, and the guestmaster hand over the keys to the Monastery sacristy, with the obvious intention of plundering whatever valuables they could find. The Fathers tried their best to reason with them, so as to dissuade them from their intention and to protect the Monastery property. Not only were the soldiers not persuaded, but they instead became even more enraged. Without any delay, and with summary procedures—something very typical of the time—they condemned them to death. First, they ordered the six Fathers to dig their own grave: a large pit in the middle of the Monastery courtyard, towards the right. When the Fathers had finished digging, the soldiers stood them next to the pit. The firing squad took position. At this tragic moment, the condemned Fathers asked for a favor: that they be allowed to chant "Christ is Risen." Possessing no such sentiments in their hearts, the "Red" soldiers refused. The Fathers then quickly began to chant "Christ is Risen," but the firing squad did not allow them to finish. Successive shots were heard and the Fathers fell dead into the pit. And something strange happened. The guestmaster had a long black beard, which instantly turned white when he was standing in front of the pit!
The soldiers did not stop there. They entered the Church where the Relics of St. Alexander, the founder of the Monastery, lay. Seizing them, they threw them into the fire. The fire, however, preserved the Relics and did not consume them. In this way, St. Alexander suffered martyrdom after his death, as if he, also, wished to share in the martyrdom of the modern-day New Martyrs of his Monastery.
A certain Karelian Novice, John, who was hiding in the attic, saw and related all of these things. The Monastery of St. Alexander shared the same fate as the rest of the Monasteries in Russia. It was closed and used for other purposes. At first, it was turned into a "pedagogical technical institution," in order to justify the seizure of its extensive library and other valuables, and then into a concentration camp. A rock crushing facility was also created, where the unfortunate prisoners were worked ruthlessly." (taken from:
Another account of the uncovering of the Relics of St. Alexander of Svir, with pictures of his wondrously incorrupt Holy Relics (translated and summarized from:
A picture of the wondrously incorrupt remains of St. Alexander of Svir (taken from:
"The holy relics were taken to the St Alexander of Svir Monastery in November 1998, and miraculous healings continue to take place before them."

It is believed that God preserved the Relic of St. Alexander in such a wondrous condition because he was the only Saint after the Patriarch Abraham who was made worthy to be visited by the Holy Trinity in the form of three Angels. During this visit, the Holy Trinity touched him, and this contact obviously was that which made his body incorrupt. [Κατά την διάρκεια αυτής της επισκέψεως, ή Αγία Τριάς μέχρι που άγγιξε τον Άγιο, και αυτό το άγγιγμα προφανώς ήταν που έκανε το σώμα του απρόσβλητο στην φθορά.] Wondrous is the Triune God, Who is glorified in His Saints! St. Alexander left for the Heavenly Kingdom on the 30th of August 1533, at 85 years of age.

From then, the incorrupt holy Relic of St. Alexander has become a fountain of blessing, veneration and healing: the blind receive their sight, paralytics receive strength in their legs, and all those suffering from any disease receive their complete healing. The demons fled from the demon-possessed and barren women conceived…
Wondrous is the All-good God in His Saints, Who glorified His servant in this ephemeral life with miracles and signs which came about through his hands. And after his death, he was still made worthy to have his all-precious and holy Body in His Church, to shine from there, as a great lighthouse, with his all-glorious Miracles!...

The Second Uncovering of the Holy Relics of St. Alexander of SvirJuly 30th 1998. The faithful of Russia gathered by the thousands to venerate the newly revealed holy Relic of St. Alexander of Svir in the Church of Sts. Sohpia, Faith, Hope and Love in St. Petersburg. After an unspeakable 80 years, one of the most beloved Saints of the Thebaid of the North was returned to the place of his monastic struggles. Eight decades earlier, on January 5th 1918, the Bolsheviks took the greatest portion of the Russian Thebaid of the North: in the area between Olonetz and Lonteinogie Polie. Immediately the following day the Bolsheviks appeared at the Monastery of Svir and the reliquary of St. Alexander. Such a treasury of holiness obviously created a hindrance to the devil and his servants, who had taken the Russian land. However, during that period were inexplicable peddlers who ordered the Saint's Relics to be damaged or to be brought to them. [Όμως, στην περίπτωση εκείνη ήταν ανεξήγητα ανίκανοι να προκαλέσουν κάποια βλάβη στο Λείψανο του Αγίου ή να το μετακινήσουν.] The Communists made additional attempts, and only on ther sixth try, on December 20th 1918, did they manage to remove the incorrupt Relic of St. Alexander. Thus began the terrible “campaign to seize the relics” [«εκστρατεία κατασχέσεως των λειψάνων»], in which they continued, from 1919 to 1922 to submit 63 Relics of Saints who shown forth in Russia to “scientific tests”, characterizing them as “mummies”, and also as "fakes", and placed them in anti-religious museums or destroyed them.

During this period, the whole northern region of Russia experienced an unprecedented military presence. The Thebaid of the North was desecrated and suffered, but at the same time was sanctified, becoming a Golgotha from many in Russia. The Monastery of St. Alexander of Svir was tried in the same ways as many of the other Monasteries in the area: it became a military barracks, known as Svirlag (“Barracks of Svir”). Later, it became a temporary house for those disabled in the war, a children’s home, a technical school and a military training center. Finally, the Monastery of the Holy Trinity became a psychiatric asylum, one portion of which remains to this day.
The Monastery suffered horrible desecrations with the passage of time. However, God did not allow the Relic of St. Alexander to be lost. After the downfall of the Bolsheviks, first it was brought to Lonteinogie Polie. The local return of the Tsekiston sought research into the authenticity of the Relic. Soviet scientists tested it in the hopes of proving it counterfeit - a fake of the Church for the bewilderment of the faithful. However, the Bolsheviks were unsettled by the results confirming that which was recorded at the first uncovering of the Saint’s Relic in 1641, that St. Alexander’s body was a inexplicably, greatly incorrupt. His skin was white and elastic. The features of his face were cleanly discerned and bore a resemblance to the icons of the Saint, which were pained between the 16th and 18th centuries. An academic, Peter Petrovitch Pokryskin, who did not fear that time of persecution, wrote a bold reply to the request of the Tsekiston. “Knowing that the Relic of St. Alexander of Svir fulfills the historical account unquestionably, its place should be in a church, we request to take measures to preserve It, this historical treasure of our nation.”

From Lonteinogie Polie the Relic was brought to St. Petersburg (then Petrokrant). In that time an order from the Commisary of Justice to place all the Relics in museums. The Relic of St. Alexander was brought to an anatomical museum of the city, which was centered in the Military Medical Academy. There the Relic was shown as an exhibit, but without a description—one attempt by those at the museum to keep it hidden. At the same time, attempts were made to prove the relics of the Saint false in public, which did not resemble its historical epigraph, as part of the Communists’ plan to strike the Church, but these attempts fell through. However, thanks to one of the scientists, B. N. Tonkov, who was not a “militant atheist” like his fellow brethren, they remained in the Military Medical Academy of St. Petersburg, exiled in forgetfulness. There they remained for around eight decades, awaiting the time at which Divine Providence returned them to the faithful.

On June 14th 1997, around six years after the collapse of Communism throughout all of Russia, the portion of the Monastery of the Divine Transfiguration of St. Alexander of Svir was returned whole to the church. [το τμήμα της θείας Μεταμορφώ­σεως της Μονής του Αγίου Αλεξάνδρου του Σβίρ επεστράφη ολόκληρο στην Εκκλη­σία.] The portion of the Holy Trinity, which had to forbear another third mile, was returned partly to the Church on September 22nd 1998 [Το τμήμα της Αγίας Τριά­δος, το όποιο απέχει ένα τρίτο μιλίου από το έτερο τμήμα, επεστράφη μερικώς στην Εκ­κλησία στις 22 Σεπτεμβρίου 1998.]

The research into St. Alexander began in 1997 with the blessing of Metropolitan Vladimir of St. Petersburg. The remaining documents from the Soviet period were either lost or destroyed, however the prayerful research endeavors of the Nuns of the Convent of the Holy Protection, Tervinitski, under the guidance of their spiritual father, Abbot Loukianos (Koutsenko), the current head priest of the Monastery of St. Alexander Svir, in the end bore fruit [ανταμεί­φθηκαν τελικά]. The December of that year (1997), the Relic of the Saint had been found! When it was examined, it was roughly equivalent to the ancient description of the first uncovering of the Relic in 1641. It had the same incorruption as it had before it was confiscated. In agreement with anthropologists and ethnologists, the Relic was ascribed to a man of the tribe of Vebas - a small group of Finland descent, who inhabited the area where St. Alexander was born and where he later built his Monastery.
A picture of the wondrously incorrupt hand of St. Alexander of Svir (taken from:
In the end, without any doubt of the Saint’s identity, the Metropolitan Vladimir gave his blessing for the Relic, full of divine Grace, to be transferred to the Church of the Holy Martyrs Sophia, Faith, Hope, and Love for four months, rather than overwhelm the Monastery with the great mass of pilgrims before its return to the Monastery [προκειμένου να τεθεί σε δημόσια προσκύνηση προ της επιστροφής του στην Μονή του Αγίου.] Before the transfer of the Relic to the Church, a supplication [δέηση] was performed in the testing hall of the Medical Academy. To the astonishment and spiritual exultation of those present, the hands and the feet of the Saint began to pour forth trickles [σταγόνες] of fragrant myrrh, as if the Saint were saying “Yes, I hear you, it is me!” This outpouring of Grace continued when the Relic was transferred to the Church. The fountain of fragrant myrrh was so strong that bees were attracted close to the feet of the Saint.

The cleric Alexios Yiangk (now Hieromonk Ambrosios) was in St. Petersburg when the Relic was found. He recorded his experiences as an American pilgrim:
“With astonishment I saw that the Saint was not only incorrupt, but his skin did not have any change [σκουρύνει] after the passage of around five centuries, but it was as white as someone who is living today. Embracing his uncovered feet, I could see the formation [σχηματισμό] of the miraculous myrrh, rivers rich in [μέλιτος] between his fingers.
A picture of the wondrously incorrupt feet of St. Alexander of Svir (taken from:
Icons of the Saint, which blessed his reliquary, began also to put forth myrrh which was fragrant. Alexander, a novice from the Monastery of St. Alexander of Svir, stood continuously at the reliquary, keeping watch over not only the so much flowing myrrh, but the miraculous healings which took place at that place. People were healed with many illnesses: paralytics, cancer patients, those suffering from dermatologic illnesses and diseases of the bones, and demoniacs. After the transfer of the Relic to the Monastery of St. Alexander of Svir in November 1998, the healings continued to take place before him. The flow of myrrh also continued unstoppably[απαραμείωτα]. It was observed that this miracle occurs in instances when not only believing groups of people arrive at the Monastery, but those with doubts. [Παρατηρήθηκε, ότι αυτό το θαύμα αυξάνει σε ένταση όταν καταφθάνουν στην Μονή ομάδες ανθρώπων, στις όποιες δεν συμπεριλαμβάνονται μόνον πιστοί, άλλα και αμφισβητίες επίσης] Until today the Monastery records the miracles which take place at the Relic of this Saint of God."
(Αναρτήθηκε από PROSKINITIS στις 10:03 μμ Ετικέτες Βιβλία,

Icon of St. Alexander the Righteous of Svir, shown with the Three Angels representing the Holy Trinity Who visited him (taken from:
Troparion of St. Alexander the Righteous of Svir - Tone 4
Thou didst settle in the wilderness from thy youth eager to follow Christ's footsteps, O Alexander. The Angels were amazed when they beheld thee struggling in the flesh and conquering onslaughts of passions. Dwelling on earth thou wast equal to the Angels. Pray to Christ our God to save our souls.
St. Alexander of Svir, with many scenes from his life (
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!