Saturday, August 3, 2013
A wondrous appearance of St. Philoumenos
The vigil service for St. Philoumenos the Hieromartyr (source)
A wondrous appearance of St. Philoumenos (amateur translation)
Georgios R...a graduate of the School of Physical Education of Greece (Gymnastics), was around 25 years old, when he came to know Christ and the Church more deeply, and began to live a perceptibly spiritual life. He especially came to love the ascesis of prayer, being present throughout the holy Services, Vigils and Divine Liturgies, and regularly partaking of the Spotless Mysteries.
He was married to Stella K., the daughter of Fr. Konstantinos K...from a village of our Metropolis, with whom he had four children, and they furthermore struggle to make their home a church through their life in Christ. Georgios frequently went on pilgrimage with prayer to the various monasteries on Cyprus, in addition to the Holy Mountain. The Monastery of St. Nicholas Orountes, where St. Philoumenos is especially honored, became a favorite place of prayer.
As is known, from the year 2000, according to the wishes of our holy Metropolitan of Morphou Neophytos, it was ordered that every year, on the day of the memory of St. Philoumenos (the evening of November 28 towards the 29th), a vigil should be served in his honor in the church of the Apostle Luke in his home village of Orounta. Last year (2012), Georgios was present at the vigil, who since 2010 was tried by the affliction of cancer, which he faced with much patience and faith. In the center of the church is placed a great icon of St. Philoumenos, along with a portion of his holy relic and one of his stoles, which was given from the Patriarchate of Jerusalem to the Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas Orounes, with the goal being to build a church in his honor at the Monastery. When they were chanting the Praises during the Orthros, together with the typikon of the vigil service, all of the clergy and the faithful began to venerate the icon and the relic of the Saint, being anointed by the priest with holy oil from his vigil lamp that was lit there.
Then, a wondrous appearance of the Saint occurred. A simple, humble, and faithful person was made worthy to see this supernatural event that occurred during the vigil, and he himself was moved, and related it with faith and fervency to the Metropolitan after the vigil, who was celebrating during this festal vigil service. What occurred? When Georgios went to venerate the icon of the Saint, this pious Christian saw St. Philoumenos come out from his holy icon alive, and embrace the suffering Georgios, and them stand behind him with his hands on his shoulders as he was anointed with holy oil, and holding him, he led him back to his seat, at which point he disappeared! What a wondrous intervention of the Saint was communicated to the Metropolitan, and then to the suffering Georgios, and Fr. Konstantinos, who was also present at the vigil, along with numerous other clergymen. This appearance of the Saint was perceived as a sign, that through his intercessions, the sick Georgios would be healed. However, the path of his health did continue to worsen, and having born terrible, martyrical pains, he departed in the Lord on July 8, 2013.
The martyrical end of this man of God, along with his wondrous faith, endurance and patience, was ultimately perceived as the deep spiritual message of the wondrous appearance of the Hieromartyr Philoumenos. With this was confirmed the favor of the Saint, along with the Lord, towards a pious member of our Church, who bore his cross in Christ until the end, showing a witness to Christ with his virtuous life, and being numbered a martyr of Christ. Because martyrdom is not just the shedding of blood by someone for the love and faith in Christ, but for a Christian to accept with his whole soul, with thanksgiving and the offering of a mindset that gives glory, whatever trial the Lord allows, as he passes through the valley of trials, worries, illnesses, being orphaned, the death of one's beloved, etc. In other words, whatever makes one dead to this world, becomes a Cross, if he accepts it, and it is thus a visitation and a gift of God for the salvation of his immortal soul, making him to be a partaker of the Passion of Christ, but also His Resurrection.
Therefore, St. Philoumenos did not heal the body of Georgios, but he showed something much greater: he strengthened this man, with the martyrical boldness of his prayer, to endure until the end of this passing life, the painful martyrdom of his sickness (the greatly-suffering body of Georgios was truly filled with tumors, internally and externally), and taking him with him into eternity as his fellow martyr, before the throne of God.
Archimandrite Photios Joakim.
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!