Monday, January 11, 2010

Selected Miracles and a Brief Biography of St. George of Ioannina


Selected Miracles of St. George the New Martyr of Ioannina (amateur translation of Greek text from: http://voutsinasilias.blogspot.com/2010/01/17_4775.html)

1. A woman named Stamato, from Lesinitza of Zagoriou, who had a paralyzed and fixed right hand for two months, hearing of the Saint, hastened with piety, having her father and father-in-law with her. It was a Saturday evening when she reached the tomb of the Saint, and having spent the night on the tomb, Sunday morning she was found healthy. And she received this, and her father and father-in-law left rejoicing.

2. An eight year old child, from that surrounding area, who was speechless and had paralyzed feet since birth, placed by the Saint’s tomb with many other sick people, was healed to the amazement of all, and began to speak, and to walk freely.

3. Also two young siblings, a boy and a girl four and eight years old, who were both paralyzed in their feet, were both healed.

4. Similarly another eight year old child from the town of Loggon of the Eparchy of Dryinoupolis, paralyzed since birth, came to the tomb and was healed.

5. A woman named Catherine from the town of Pramanta of Tzoumerkiou, who suffered from harsh pain in her insides, approached with reverence and was healed.

6. A twelve year old girl from Metsovo, suffering continuous and longstanding lunar problems*** [most likely epilepsy; see below for explanation] , came with piety to the tomb and was healed.

7. Furthermore, a four year old child named Nicholas from the town of Doliana, paralyzed for three years, was brought by his mother Despos to the tomb of the Saint, and after three days was healed.


8. Also the wife Stasine from the town of Kripovon, suffering from a dangerous wound over her whole body for about three years, the same experienced by her two year old son, who was born with the same condition as his mother, was told to go to doctors in Ioannina by many, replied: “I want to go to the true doctor, the Neomartyr George”, and she came with fervent faith, and was freed from her condition, along with her child.

9. The wife of Anagnostou Oikonomou from Bessane was paralyzed throughout her body, but anointed with the oil from the vigil lamp of the Saint, she was healed.

10. Another woman named Paraskevi from the town of Kotzanopoulo of Lamare, who was totally paralyzed, hearing of the Saint, embarked with piety to go to the Saint, and on the road on the horse she began to move again, and descending the horse, she began to walk until she reached the Saint and totally received her health.

11. Another, the wife named Chaedo from the town of Kastania of aspropotamou, suffered from a dangerous paralyzing sickness throughout her body, and prepared to go to Metzovo to visit a doctor, the Saint appeared to her as a young man dressed in his foustanella [a traditional Greek male garment of the time, as he is dressed in icons], and told her to go to Ioannina, for there is a good doctor. She replied that she didn’t have an animal or person to bring her there, and the Saint told her to wait for an animal. The next day a Christian came to her and gave her his animal which brought her to the Saint. And O the wonder! The same day she stood on her feet. Similarly her hands were also healed, which weren’t cleaned for six months, and then she took soap and cleaned them. This paradoxical miracle of the Saint, along with the above miracles, were related by the then Bishop of Ioannina Joachim, who later became Patriarch, before all the elders of the city.

12. John of Koliou, from the town of Romanon of Souliou, had a daughter named Catherine who suffered from [epilepsy] ceaselessly for eleven years. They came to the tomb of the Saint, took soil from it, and some wax from the candles which burned on the tomb, and returned to their home. The soil they placed in water and gave to her to drink, and the wax they burned, and O the wonder! She was freed from her condition. Her father related this miracle to the former aforementioned Bishop of Ioannina with his own lips.

12. An eight year old girl from the aforementioned town of Kastania suffered from [epilespy] and calling on the Saint, though she suffered from her condition for so long, she was healed, and did not have these problems again. She traveled from there to Ioannina to venerate the Saint, and related this truthfully.

14. The wife of Zavogiannou Kalarykiotou was troubled by a neurological problem, and paid much silver to the doctors, and not receiving any benefit, received oil from the vigil lamp of the Saint and drinking it was healed immediately. Her husband Zavogiannis, sent straightaway twenty five tallara to the commissioners of the Church of the Saint, and a letter of thanks towards the Saint.

The above miracles are engraved on the tomb of the Saint. We include, from the many miracles that occur in the sacred home of the Saint through his icon, the following:

Picture of the Chapel built within the house of St. George (taken from: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_UdyEzgklns8/Sc-hgCr292I/AAAAAAAAAKc/Bv3Wwa8bpxM/s1600-h/P1010425.JPG)

The Foustanella and pocket watch of the Saint, in his house (taken from: http://apantaortodoxias.blogspot.com/2009/03/blog-post_3271.html; more pictures from the home of the Saint available at the link)

15. George, the Son of the Steward of the Metropolis of Ioannina, in the 1853th year since the Birth of Christ, in the month of April, suffered [epilepsy] through the Devil, and coming to the house of the Saint, remained and fasted for forty days, the youth was healed fully and did not suffer from this problem anymore.

16. It was May of 1853. An unmarried Christian named Soulto, from the town of Laesta of Zagoriou, came town with a most dangerous sickness of the eye, and couldn’t see the light of day, and losing all hope, was brought to the house of the Neomartyr asking for her healing with all her soul and a pure heart, but after two days, was healed totally of her sickness according to her faith, and glorified God and the Saint she left with joy and exultation.
(amateur translation of Greek text from: http://voutsinasilias.blogspot.com/2010/01/17_4775.html; for the Service of the Saint in Greek, see: http://voutsinasilias.blogspot.com/2010/01/17_11.html; for the Akathist and Polyeleos verses of the Saint in Greek, see: http://voutsinasilias.blogspot.com/2010/01/17_12.html; and for another short prayer service to the Saint in Greek, see: http://www.agiooros.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=7767)

***Note: these accounts mention numerous healings of a "lunar sickness" [σεληνιασμο πάθος] by the Saint. According to sources identified by readers of the blog, this most likely refers to epilepsy, which many of the ancients attributed to the moon. See the following link for an explanation: http://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/Σεληνιασμός.

Icon of St. George of Ioannina (Icon courtesy of www.eikonografos.com used with permission)

Brief Biography of St. George of Ioannina

"The memory of the New Martyr George “who was martyred in Ioannina” is honored every year with the appropriate dignity in his birthplace Aghios Georgios, Grevena (previously Tsourchli). A village which changed its name in honor of the saint in 1927.

On the 17th of January, a day our Church honors with the feast of St. Anthony, was also the day that the New Martyr George, at the age of 30 in 1838 came to a martyr’s death by hanging in the city of Ioannina. The gallows were set up in the busy Ioannina square of “Kormanio”, which is opposite the great Castle entrance. The square now bears the New Martyr’s name.

The New Martyr, George, was one of the last victims of the forced recruitment of Christian boys by the Ottomans. This happened when he was 12 years old. Nevertheless, he was able to preserve his Christian faith untainted; a faith for which he was martyred despite the Turkish environs of Ioannina considered him to be a Turk and employed him in the Turkish army as a horse groom, with the name “Infidel (Giaour) Hasan”.

The New Martyr, George, who was modest in his ways, always [wore] the traditional long foustanela of his village and an embroidered waistcoat, which he is depicted in, in icons.

Another icon of St. George of Ioannina. The following Greek inscription is on the icon below Christ: "The land that received the blood of your martyrdom, protect by your prayers, O Saint." (taken from: http://vatopaidi.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/ceacceb3ceb9cebfcf82-ceb3ceb5cf8ecf81ceb3ceb9cebfcf82-ceb9cf89ceb1cebdcebdceafcebdcf89cebd.jpg)

A new phase in his life started in October 1836, when he decided to get engaged and then marry on the feast of St. Demetrios, a Christian girl from Ioannina, Eleni. They had a son together, born in December 1837, who was baptized in keeping with Christian tradition on the 7th January 1838, giving him the name John.

All this, of course, provoked his persecution and eventually his death by martyrdom. This was because, despite Turks’ torture, to make him deny his Christian faith, the saint confessed with courage “I was never a Turk, I was always a Christian. He even said this at the gallows, which he faced with composure and bravery.

His last words are typical. When his Turkish tormentors asked him “What are you?” before pulling up the gallows, George asked that his hands be untied, he made the sign of the cross and said, “I am a Christian and I shall die a Christian, I bow before my Christ and my Lady Theotokos.” Then, turning to the Christians who stood there he said, “Forgive me brethren, and God will forgive you.”
 
The burial of St. George of Ioannina, the New Martyr (source)
   
The body of the Saint hung on the gallows for three days, without, however, decaying, an incident that made even the Turks believe in his holiness and allowed him to be buried with the greatest honor.

George, the New Martyr, was officially recognized as a saint on the 19th of September 1839 by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople under Patriarch Gregorios and eleven synodical bishops. However, he had already been accepted as a saint by the Christians of the area from the time of his death. Not only that, but according to some witnesses many Muslims who lived in the area of Ioannina also recognized his holiness.

Many biographies and services were written for the New Martyr." (taken from: http://thegreekadventure.wordpress.com/2008/01/10/st-george-of-ioannina/; for a more extended life of the Saint, see: Witness for Christ: Orthodox Christian neomartyrs of the Ottoman period 1437-1860 by Vaporis)

May St. George intercede for us all and help us!

St. George of Ioannina (Icon courtesy of www.eikonografos.com used with permission)

Troparion of St George of Ioannina Tone 5
Let us praise George, Christ's Martyr, Ioannina's boast and protector. For he contested steadfastly and conquered the enemy in power of the spirit. He now intercedes unceasingly that our souls may find mercy.

Kontakion of St George of Ioannina Tone 4 
O George, the city of Ioannina rejoices that through thy contest it possesses the treasure of thy relics.

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

3 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Regarding "Lunar Sickness", I would venture a guess that the phrase is a euphamism for mental illness of some sort. This is purely a guess, based on knowing that some cultures superstitiously believed that madness is caused by lunar influence, particularly by sleeping in the light of the moon. I'm told that this is the basis for the term "lunatic."

MikeandHelen said...

I am Greek-American and also "amateur translate" for my family. I was intrigued by the term σεληνιακού πάθος and found something in Greek Wikipedia. It appears the term "seliniasmos" refers to epilepsy, as the illness used to be thought of as being caused by the moon. The explanation, in Greek, is here:
http://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/Σεληνιασμός
Many thanks for your wonderful articles and translations!

Agioi_Anargyroi said...

Thank you very much for your responses! As always, I appreciate the help in improving this blog. Please keep posting any corrections, comments, questions, etc. that you have.