The miracle of Emperor Leon the Wise’s healing while on his deathbed

During the time of his reign, Emperor Leon the Very Wise had a wife who was greatly improved and holy, named Theophano, who later became sanctified for her good deeds, as seen in the Synaxarion on the 16th day of December.

So, before Holy Theophano’s death, a serious illness befell the emperor, an incurable pain known as a stone, as certain stones formed inside his hidden organ, blocking the passage of urine, which caused many deaths. Therefore, as Leon suffered, all the doctors gathered, but they could not heal him. In the week known as the “week of cheese,” his pains intensified to the point where the doctors concluded that he was dying, and they prepared for the expenses of his death.

Then, the blessed empress, seeing that no earthly doctor could heal him, hastened to the Heavenly One. She entered the imperial chamber and, falling before the Holy Icon of the Mother of God, with faith and fervent tears, she prayed for her husband to be granted a little more life until their son, Constantine, would come of age, so that the empire would not be endangered. While offering her prayers, the empress of the city, beseeching the Mistress of Heaven and all the earth, heard an unseen voice saying, “Do not be saddened, Theophano, for today the healing herb arrives to heal your husband.”

Upon hearing this, the Holy Empress rejoiced greatly and hurried to the sick emperor. She saw him in his final hour, ready to give up his soul, and the doctors advised to perform an autopsy on him. But she told them that another doctor would come quickly to heal him. After many hours, when they thought he had already died, they suddenly saw a nun named Agatha, who was in the Church, carrying a vessel of water from that healing source, the Most Holy Mother of God from Hrisopighia. She spoke these words to the empress: “Today, when I rose early in the morning and adorned the Church of the Most Holy Mother of God, I heard a voice telling me, ‘Agatha, quickly take some water from my spring and bring it to the emperor to drink, so that he may be healed, and the beloved Theophano’s pain may cease, for she cries out to me with tears.'” The empress gave the water to the sick emperor, and immediately, oh miraculous deliverance! As he drank it, he was completely healed and gained such strength that he rose from his bed healthy, as if he had never been sick at all.

This miracle frightened everyone, and the emperor commanded that a joyful feast be held to commemorate this act of goodness and gratitude to our Glorious Lady and to Him who unspeakable was born of Her, to Whom be glory forever. Amen.

Excerpt from Miracles of the Mother of God, Doxologia Publishing House, Iași, 2013, via

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