The Hellenic News Agency romfea.gr broadcast the other day the news that the miracle the Orthodox Christians wait for every year during the Fasting for the Dormition of the Holy Mother of God took place again: in the afternoon of the day of August 5th a day before the Transfiguration of the Lord two snakes came to `pay their worshipping dues` in the Church from Markopoulo, a locality from the Greek island of Kefalonia. At their apparition the bells were rung joyfully according to the tradition for announcing their arrival.
How is this miracle explained ? What is the reaction of the believers and why the miracle takes place only in this period? Discover the story in the following lines:
The snakes of the Holy Mother of God express a miracle of the Holy Virgin Mary which has been taking place every year for a long time starting from August the 6th near the Church of the Dormition of the Holy Mother of God – Langouvarda from Markopoulou, located at the south-eastern edge of Kefalonia Island.
The legend of the snakes of the Holy Mother of God from Kefalonia was written long time ago. According to some local legends in the 18th century during an attack of the pirates lead by Barbarossa, the most feared captain of the Mediteraneean Sea, the nuns living in a monastery from this place prayed to the Holy Mother of God to save them from that great danger. They say that the Holy Mother of God listened to their pure prayer and all of a sudden thousands of snakes surrounded the walls of the monastery making the pirates to go away and leave the island. Following this account, another legend says that the nuns prayed to the Holy Mother of God to turn them into snakes for not being taken prisoners or being raped and the miracle happened. Since then according to the locals as a sign of gratitude the snakes come to bring their honors to the Holy Mother of God.
In what regards the biological side of the miracle the veterinary Joanne Stefanatos of a Greek American descendance mentioned the fact that no one of the experts who examined the snakes could fit them in a already known species as they have certain peculiarities the scientific world have never met until now. More precisely they are grey and thin and their length is not more than one meter. Their skin is soft and they have on their heads and tongues a small white cross.
The climax of this miracle – if we can call it this way – takes place in the day of the Feast of Dormition of the Holy Mother of God when the snakes descend from the hills they sneak among the believers and head to the church. Once entered in the church they go up on the icons as if they wished to worship Christ, the Holy Mother of God and the Saints, or on the candlesticks or pews staying coiled
In oonline there are already many photo and video proofs where it can be noticed how the believers who attend this holy service in this period take the snakes in their hands or put them on their shoulders and the snakes show no aggressive reaction or resistance on the contrary they attend the services as if they were in a perfect communion with the people
The snakes remain in the church until sunset after that going out and hiding. Then nobody sees them again until the next year before August the 15th
There is an emotion among the locals from Markopoulou at the beginning of every August. Not because of a danger the snakes of the Holy Mother of God may cause but because of a tradition which says that if the snakes don`t show up in a certain year something bad would happen on the island as it happened in the 1940-es during the German occupation and in 1953 when the island was hit by a great earthquake.
In the last years because more and more believers have come to pay their homage at the Church from Markopoulou before the Feast the snake don`t go down from the hills in a great number as they fear not to be crushed by the crowds. That is why the sextons and the guardians of the church go in due time on the hills around the church and taking them in sacks or glass aquariums they put them near the icon of the Holy Mother of God Panagia Fidousa (The Holy Virgin of the snakes) to continue the tradition lasting for such a long time
As shocking is the image of these snakes which worship with the believers the holy icons as wondrous is the miracle many believers choose to live every year in Kefalonia. Some of them are surprised, others are curious but what is certain is that it strengthens their faith.