When a faithful old woman teaches you to have faith

Let me tell you for honoring humbleness a happening seen and felt with my own eyes and soul about Saint Spyridon the Great Miracle Maker.

What happened?

On a pilgrimage to Hellada and Corfu Island, Kerkira as the Greeks call it, we went to pay reverence to the relics of Saint Spyridon.

You know very well that in Greece there is a very strict schedule for doing that. We arrived in time, we all paid our reverence disciplined and some of us were waiting quietly in the Church, others were buying souvenirs very near or were talking with the Romanian priest`s wife from the shop near the cathedral.

But in our group there was a pious faithful old lady who had a health disability and was walking very slowly. She got near me and told me respectfully:

`Father, can I pay my reverence to Saint Spyridon ? I told you that this time I came on pilgrimage for Saint Spyridon.

I stood to think what to tell her. I knew the schedule for visitors and I was sure it was not possible. To tell her in our group she was always late? Or to keep quiet? However a thought didn`t give me peace. This was telling me: `If he is a Great Miracle Maker he will open the coffin, if not, he won`t.`

I answered respectfully but curious:

`Yes, go, he will open!`

Someone who was near me told me: `Father, why are you saying this? He won`t open for her. The poor woman goes on the stairs in vain.

I stayed silent. I wanted to see live the faith of the old lady and the miracle!`

The old woman was walking with her raffia bag holding it at her chest, she put her scarf, she made a big sign of the cross and went very slowly ahead and looking at me.

I was looking down because of my shame. God help our old lady!

But all of a sudden there was a great bustle in the Church. The hierodeacons and deacons from the Metropolitan of Kerkira showed up, then the crowd and two Russian hierarchs, an archimandrite and the hieromonk of the ecclesia.

Our old lady was in the middle, I got on my feet and went to help her come back, I was afraid she might have fallen.

But what to see? The terribly amiable Greeks thought she was a relative of the hierarchs who had come purposefully to make a baptism at Saint Spyridon.

Our pilgrim was walking slowly and after her the hierarchs were quietly preparing to pay their reverence.

The coffin was opened completely, not only at the feet and i twas made the prayer…

Our faithful old lady kissed piously the feet and hand of the saint then she took out of her raffia bag handkerchiefs, cloths and touched them of the saint.

Nobody said a word. Nothing. Perfect silence. Only a censer was heard discreetly…

We were not allowed not even to touch the feet…

I got up I looked at the icon of the Saint and said in my mind fearfully: `Great Miracle Maker is Saint Spyridon indeed!`

The old lady came to me and said :

`You were right, he opened and I paid my reverence. A real joy!`

These words came like a slap from the saint, I will remember all my life these words.

I had piety for Saint Spyridon but since then my piety increased. I mention his name at every holy liturgy together with Saint Nicholas.

The other day I met this pious old woman and talked with her.

`How is your health?`

`Well, father. I pray to Saint Spyridon and Pious Paraskevi since I was in Iasi, hospitalized there and underwent a surgery for cancer then as you know I went on pilgrimage in Greece, to Corfu with you.

`And was it nice ?`

`Yes, very nice. I have handkerchiefs I touched of the Saint`s relics. Shall I bring you a handkerchief? Now you can`t go there anymore, right?

`Thank you. You`re right. Thank you.

I left and said in my soul: `I know you are a great Saint and you pray for us, Saint Spyridon, if it is God`s will, save us of this Covid virus then after I`ll go to Iasi to pious Paraskevi I`ll come to thank you.`

Priest Ioan Bârgăoanu 

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