The Miracle in Colossae
Our Church reminds us of a miracle performed by the Holy Archangel Michael to save the Church in Colossae. Specifically, tradition tells us that the Holy Apostles John and Philip preached the Gospel in Heretop, near the city of Colossae (modern-day Turkey). In that place, there was a Church dedicated to the Holy Archangel Michael, and the two Holy Apostles, while proclaiming the Gospel of Christ, prophesied that the grace of the Holy Archangel Michael would shine throughout that place, and many miracles would occur there. And indeed, it came to pass. While Saint John went to preach in other places, and Saint Philip suffered in pagan cities, miraculous water sprang forth from that location, drawing a large crowd of believers and even those who had not yet received Baptism. All who came were healed, as we read in the Synaxarion: “So, many began to come to that spring, not only the faithful but also the non-believers, for the miracles that were happening there called them like loud trumpets. And all those who drank from that spring and washed themselves were healed of their infirmities, and receiving healing, many were baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity.”
Among those who came to pray and seek healing at that miraculous spring was a pagan from Laodicea, whose daughter had been mute from birth. He had received a command in a dream from the Holy Archangel Michael to bring his child to this spring for healing. Obedient to the command of the Holy Archangel, his daughter received healing, and he himself received Christian baptism. He built a beautiful Church above the spring, dedicated to “Saint Archangel Michael.” Ninety years later, a 10-year-old boy named Arhip from Hierapolis came to this place. He remained in the Church, fasting and praying like the great hermits of the monastic life. In due time, with God’s grace, the hermit Arhip became a monk, and he was blessed with the gift of priesthood. He taught the faithful about the mysteries of faith and served in the Church of Saint Archangel Michael until old age. However, as expected, the pagans of the city of Hierapolis did not approve of this. Several of them conspired and decided to cover the water of the miraculous spring and to kill Arhip, blaming the crime on robbers.
However, God never forgets those who are close to Him. In the moment when the pagans approached the hermit Arhip, their hands simply became paralyzed, unable to lift them. As we read in the words of Synaxarion, a flame of fire emerged and rushed towards them, driving them far away. Thus, the pagans retreated in great shame from that miraculous spring and from the venerable Arhip, but they gnashed their teeth and boasted to everyone that one day they would block the spring, demolish the Church, and kill the venerable Arhip. Another plan came to their minds: since there were two large rivers in the area, Licocaper and Kufos, the pagans thought to divert them towards the place of miracles so that their flow would destroy the Church of Saint Archangel Michael and cover the holy spring with water, drowning the venerable Arhip. And when the venerable Arhip saw their plan, he fell to the ground in the Church, praying to God with tears and calling upon the help of Saint Archangel Michael to protect the water’s place, saying, “I will not flee from this holy place, nor will I leave the Church. Here, I will die if it is the will of the Lord, but this sanctuary shall not be drowned.”
While he was praying, he heard a voice commanding him to leave the Church. So, the venerable Arhip stepped out of the Church and saw Saint Archangel Michael in human form, saying to him, “Dare and do not fear! Rise up and come to me here, and you will see the power of God in those waters.” Truly, in the moment when the waters were nearing the Church, a pillar of fire rose from the ground to the sky, and the Holy Archangel marked the waters with the Sign of the Cross, commanding them, “Stay there!” And immediately, the waters stopped. Then, the Archangel turned towards a large stone near the Altar and struck it with his staff. The stone split in two, creating a large chasm in which he commanded the waters to enter, to the astonishment of the pagans. Thus, accomplishing the miracle, the Holy Archangel ascended back to the heavens, and the venerable Arhip praised and thanked God for what had transpired.
Since then, that place has been called “Hones,” which means “devouring,” because since the miracle of Saint Archangel Michael, the waters enter into the stone and disappear into the ground in an inexplicable manner.
On the eve of this special day, September 6th, at the beginning of the Church Year, we pray to God to grant us all health and prosperity in all good works, under the protection and care of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel.