My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
DIVINE INTERVENTION AT TIMES OF WORLD
The Plague in 1630 on the island of Corfu (Kerkyra), Greece
How the plague in 1630 on Corfu was stopped, through the mediations
of its Patron and Protector Saint Spyridon.
Corfu, Greece 1630: Contrary to the recommendations of their doctors to avoid crowding, the faithful population dared to hasten to the holy church of their patron Saint Spyridon in tears, and in fact overcrowding it… and salvation wasn’t long in arriving!
Let us see how Saint Spyridon saved the people of the island of Corfu from the plague… Could it be about time we did the same?
Around 1629-30 a new tribulation struck the blessed island of Kerkyra (Corfu). It was a contagious and deadly disease, which had now struck without discerning or mercy. It was the plague.
Men and women, young and old, rich and poor were infected daily by this accursed pestilence and were dying both in the city as well as the countryside in the villanges. With the onset of the first cases, the island’s administration hastened to vote on assigning a huge sum of money in an attempt to contain the spread of the disease. But their struggle was in vain.
Not long after, the beautiful island of Corfu was on the brink of becoming totally deserted. Shops both in the city as well as the other major centers were closed. The only things moving on the streets every now and then were a few horse-drawn carts loaded with corpses, which took their macabre loads outside the city for mass burials. The island was an overall tragic picture to behold…
One day, amid this earth-shattering tragedy, and contrary to the recommendations of their doctors to avoid crowding, the faithful Orthodox Christians albeit suffering people dared to hasten to the holy church of their Patron and Protector Saint Spyridon (an in fact overcrowding it), where, with crushed souls and burning tears they begged for his intercession. And salvation wasn’t long in arriving. It was offered swiftly and bounteously.
Corfu’s historian Andreas Marmoras who was alive at the time tells us that despite the shortage of necessary medicines – the fearsome epidemic very soon was confined to a minimum and that by Palm Sunday, it had vanished altogether.
During all of the nights that the city was being tormented by the disease, above the roof of the Saint’s church, one could see something that glowed like an otherworldly lamp. It was understood as a sign that the Saint was keeping vigil and guarding his people. This was the explanation given by all the faithful. The glow was constantly visible by the night watchmen standing guard atop their watchtowers.
This terrible epidemic – the plague – reappeared a second time in Corfu, after about 40 years, in 1673. Once again, the epidemic spread swiftly throughout towns and villages. Again, the cases were more than many. The Grim Reaper’s scythe was again harvesting a very large number of the island’s citizens.
Upon the supplications of his people, the Wonder-Working Saint Spyridon hastened to again present their contrition and tears – along with his own – before the Throne of Divine Majesty, beseeching Him and finally receiving heavenly mercy to save them.
The words of the Spirit of God: “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me” (Psalm 50:15) were truly realized in this case. To the supplications of the Divine Hierarch, and the repentant people, God’s response did not delay. Day by day, the spread of the disease decreased to a minimum, and in the last days of October, it abruptly ended. And again, above the church belfry for three nights the people could see a steady glow, and in that otherworldly light, the hovering form of the Saint holding a Crucifix in his hand and fending off a pitch-black ghostly form (the disease) that was trying to avoid the Saint and escape.
The gratitude and the thanks of the faithful were once again immense. With an Enactment by the Venetian Administration at the time, it was appointed that from then on, every Sunday of November there would be A CELEBRATORY LITANY OF THE SAINT’S SACRED RELICS THROUGHOUT THE LAND, SO THAT PEOPLE – AN ESPECIALLY THE YOUNGER GENERATIONS – may remember the island’s true and ever-vigilant Protector and savior.
AUGUST 1st – The Procession of the Precious and Life-giving Cross.
Because of the many diseases that occur in the month of August, the tradition prevailed of old in Constantinople to carry the Precious Wood of the Cross (a holy relic of the Holy Cross) in procession throughout the Queen City FOR ITS SANCTIFICATION AND ITS DELIVERANCE FROM ILLNESSES. IT AS BROUGHT FORTH FROM THE IMPERIAL TREASURY ON THE LAST DAY OF July and placed upon the Holy Table of the Great Church of Saint Sophia (Holy Wisdom); and beginning today, until the Feast of the Holy Dormition (Koimisis) of the Theotokos (August 15th), IT WAS CARRIED IN PROCESSION THROUGHOUT THE CITY OF CONSTANTINOPLE AND WAS SET FORTH FOR VENERATION BEFORE THE PEOPLE.
As we can see clearly our Holy Orthodox Church and the faithful at times of danger, illnesses, and plagues turned always to our Lord and Saints, holy relics, for healing and protection. Orthodox hierarchs, priests, and Christians truly believed in the compassion and mercy of God and they had absolutely no doubt of God’s love for His children.
It is contrary to our Orthodox Christian Faith to instead of turning to the Almighty God and Savior Jesus Christ and the Saints at times of peril turn to the so-called man-made science. Is science greater than the power of Almighty God? or is science now man’s contemporary god? The most objective and wise people see today that ‘science’ is far from perfect and does not have all the answers to man’s needs. Everything that man invents and discovers is imperfect.
We all need to turn to our Creator with faith not only at times of danger and death but to always invite Him to protect, inspire, heal, and guide us. The Orthodox Christian trusts in the Lord wholly and totally especially at times of danger, illnesses, calamity, pandemics, plagues, or even death. It is at times of these great threats that our faith in God Almighty is tested! We must not allow fear to either control us or overtake us. “…And they came to Him and awoke Him saying, ‘Master, Master, we are perishing!’ Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. But He said to them, ‘WHERE IS YOUR FAITH?’ (Luke 8:24-25). Have we become what the Lord calls a “FAITHLESS GENERATION?” (Luke 9:41).
Churches are locked-down, the faithful are prevented to attend the holy services, receiving the Mysteries, are blocked from venerating sacred icons, holy relics, the cross, etc. there is fear by a few clergy and people from receiving Holy Communion, extraordinary means are used while congregated to worship in church from ‘preventing infecting each other. What happened? How can there be such fear in the House of God? How can there be such fear of things which are believed to be sacred? Why would a Christian ever fear death when our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ defeated Death? Have we stopped believing in Christ’s Resurrection? Don’t you remember the hymn “Christ has risen from the dead, by death TRAMPLING UPON DEATH, and has bestowed LIFE TO THOSE IN THE TOMBS”?
What Orthodox Christians need are Litanies, prayers, worship, Paraklesies to the Theotokos, veneration of holy relics, and steadfast faith in our Savior, Great Physician of our souls and bodies. There should be no fear but always trust and hope in God’s unconditional love for all of mankind. Our Savior proved His Divine Love for us through His Crucifixion, death, and Resurrection. What more proof does anyone need? “But He said to them, ‘Why are you so fearful? How is it that YOU HAVE NO FAITH?” (Mark 4:40).
“Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George