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Τρίτη, 10 Σεπτεμβρίου 2013

THE REVELATIONS OF THE HOLY MONASTERY OF THE TRANSFIGURATION OF OUR SAVIOR IN PRASINADA, DRAMA, GREECE









A CONTEMPORARY MIRACLE OF THE
OF THE EASTERN ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHURCH

Dear People,

            One of the great blessings of my Greek Orthodox priesthood has been the opportunity to travel often to that ancient land of my ancestors, Greece. These travels not only involved visiting the many relatives of my wife Joann and myself but we also made it a point to visit the many religious shrines of Greece, for Greece is a land of miracles.  Through the Grace of God and His Divine Providence, one of the virtually unknown religious shrines of Greece was brought to the light of day through one of my parishioners in St. Sophia, New London, Connecticut.  George Longinides of blessed memory, hails from the City of Athens, Greece. George was diagnosed with cancer in his late fifties but prior to this he learned on one of his many trips to Drama that a dramatic revelation was unfolding before the inhabitants of Prasinada. Prasinda is about an hour’s ride from Drama in the mountains near the Bulgarian border.  George had been deeply impressed by this revelation and followed its development very closely.  When he was diagnosed with his illness, he requested that he be allowed to travel one more time to Prasinada, Greece in order to see the revelation come to life.  He made this trip and then was called home to his new life in eternity. 

            It was during the sickness of George that I, as a priest, learned of the revelations of Prasinada.  I was so taken with what I heard from George that during our last trip to Greece, Joann and I made arraignments through George’s widow Zoe to travel to Drama and then on to Prasinada.  Upon arriving in Drama, Zoe’s brother Demetrius Evmirides went out of his way to take time from his work and family to take us to the site of the revelation.  The experience at the site of the rebuilding of the Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration is one of the most dramatic religious experiences in my life.  What made it more unbelievable was that I was able to interview Sotirios Tsepides, the very same person who had received the revelations of the Monastery over many years. We videotaped the interview for posterity.  It is one thing to read about the revelations of this historic Monastery but it is quite another thing to hear it first hand from the man who lived it throughout a good part of his lifetime.  You will read that the Monastery was founded in the fifth century AD by two brothers and it flourished until 1204 when the soldiers of the Fourth Crusade burned it to the ground along with the eleven monks who were residents at the time.

            The tragedy of the destruction of the Monastery by the Crusader Army is a sad commentary on the relations between the Latin West and the Greek East. But we must remember that this attack took place less than two hundred years after 1054. After this date, Orthodox Christians were considered heretics and therefore we became fair game to the Latins.  The injustice of this tragedy has been vindicated by our loving God for He has never forsaken the Orthodox Church.  After seven hundred and seventy-five years, the Providence of God revealed His will to the world by directing faithful Orthodox Christians to rebuild the Monastery.  It is also important to remember that God used His martyred servants, the monks of that Monastery, to reveal to the world that it was God’s will that the Monastery be rebuilt.  Since our visit to the Monastery in 2004, Zoe Longinides, the widow of George, has kept us up to date on the completion of the Monastery.  We received through her the complete written historical events of the revelation and I have taken the opportunity to translate the article into English.  I pray that this unique story of God’s abiding presence in our lives will strengthen your faith in a living God and the reality of life after death. 


+Fr. Constantine (Charles) J. Simones, Waterford, CT, USA, August 28, 2013
+Πρεσβ. Κωνσταντίνος Δ. Σιμώνης, cjsimones300@gmail.com, 860-460-9089


THE REVELATIONS OF THE HOLY MONASTERY OF THE TRANSFIGURATION OF OUR SAVIOR IN PRASINADA, DRAMA, GREECE

INTRODUCTION


My Dear Fellow Inquirers,

            In this pamphlet we will attempt to describe a series of miraculous divine revelations which Sotirios Tsepides saw in visions about fifteen years ago concerning the area called “The Rock” in the village of Prasinada north of Drama of which he is a resident.  In that particular location based on the visions of Sotiri and other witnesses which are now coming to light, there existed in the Byzantine Empire the Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Savior which was destroyed completely by the Fourth Italian Crusade.

            With a great deal of joy and emotion, we will try to trace for you all that has been revealed in visions and which are verified by the eye-witness accounts of various individuals.  These revelations have been further corroborated by articles that have been unearthed in the area along with miracles that have taken place since the revelation of the Holy Monastery.  These happenings have made the people believe in the reality of the findings.  They believe that this particular area is sanctified and demands the attention of all of us.  We are called to rebuild the Monastery just the way it was in its glorious past as the “Lighthouse of Orthodoxy.”

            With faith in Christ and convinced about the existence of the Holy Monastery, we received the permission from the Metropolitan of Drama to proceed with our first efforts at the reconstruction of the Byzantine Monastery.  We will build the new Monastery on the  Martyric ruins of the old.  The president of Prasinada and its Parish Council have gifted to us the property on which stood the old Monastery. 

            We hope, with the help of God and the intercessions of the martyred Holy Abbot and his fellow monks, that we will find strong support for our ideas so that we can bring to completion the whole effort in creating a new Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Savior.

PRASINADA

            The community of Prasinada is located northeast of Northern Drama.  It is positioned at a triangle between Paranestiou which borders on an area that is situated at the foothills of Mt. Paggalou which is 713 meters high.  Its residents are descendants of the people from Pontos.  Upon leaving Pontos, during the ethnic cleansing from the village of Livadia, Galianon in Trapezounta, they arrived in Greece.  When they arrived in Thessaloniki, they were forced to break up into three groups.  This was done so that they could more effectively deal with the hardships of life.  The first group settled in Rodohori, Naousa.  The second group settled in the valley of Kavala and the third group went to Prasinada, Paranestiou, Drama in 1924.  The leaders of the Pontians in Prasinada were the teacher Iakovos Pantelides and the monk John Poikilides who belonged to the monastic brotherhood of the Monastery of The Holy Mother of Soumela in Pontos.  These two men along with the president of the village Constantine Pantelides and the midwife Sophia Kelesidou offered much help to the residents of Prasinada in order to ease their transition to  their new home..   In spite of the negative environment in Prasinada the Pontians that settled there managed through sheer hard work to acclimate themselves to the new situation and today the third generation is living well.

            At this point, we would like to speak about the politician from Northern Drama, Constantine Evmirides.  It was because of his efforts that a paved road was built between Paranestiou and Prasinada.  This removed the greatest obstacle that relatives and friends had to overcome in reaching this area.  Prior to that, the road had numerous dangerous curves.  The paved road was finished in a short time.  As a result of this many residents of Prasinada who had abandoned the town have returned either as pensioners or laborers in the different factories on the mountain or in lumbering.

            Finally, that which sets aside Prasinada Paranestiou is her priceless treasure, the Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Savior which has been uncovered on the Rock which predominates in the village.  And soon, after the restoration of the new Monastery which will be built on this location, it will become once again “The Lighthouse of Orthodoxy.”

THE REVELATION OF THE HOLY MONASTERY
OF THE TRANSFIGURATION OF THE SAVIOR

            The Monastery came to light after eight centuries in a miraculous way and according to Divine Providence.  It also was revealed because of the insistence of the worthy children of Prasinada, Constantine Evmirides, an attorney, and Sotirios Tsepides, a public servant.  They sacrificed their personal and family life and offered everything necessary for the creation of the new Monastery built on the foundations of the Old Byzantine Monastery.

            Everything began some years ago when Sotirios Tsepides, at the age of twelve, became deathly sick.  For three months he battled the angel of death and during this time his family lived in agony and grief.  The family watched their child day by day being removed further and further from their loving care. The child had reached a point in his sickness where he did not recognize anyone.  At this most critical time in his life, his sister Athena, in the depths of despair, begged the Virgin Mary to save her brother.  In doing this, she promised the Holy Mother that her brother Sotiri would offer Her an icon of Herself.  The Mother of All Graces performed a miracle.   After literally being absent from life for many months, Sotiri became well.  He went back to school in Paranesti where he had been a student.

            His teacher was Nicholas Akritides.  The years went by and Sotiri did not fulfill the pledge that his sister had made to the Holy Mother.  She would remind him constantly of this pledge that she had made on his behalf.  She asked him to take the icon to the Church of the Theotokos which was located in Mesohori of Paranestiou.  He was a God-fearing young man and he constantly thanked the Panagia for saving him from certain death in his prayers.  He never forgot about the pledge that his sister made to the Theotokos.  When he was seventeen years old, saving one drachma at a time, he saved enough money to buy the icon.  He finally purchased an icon of the Falling Asleep of the Theotokos and filled with divine inspiration he acted according to the will of God.  Instead of giving the icon to the Church of the Panagia in Mesohori, he thought it best to build a chapel on the main thoroughfare of the village.  He would place the icon in that chapel as an act of thanksgiving to the Mother of the Savior, the name of which only that Church had in Prasinada.  The thought he had to build the chapel persisted in his mind and even the location of the chapel was to be on the main thoroughfare on the way to the Rock.  He paid eighty drachmas to an inhabitant of the village Anthony Poilikides.  He gathered together the rocks that were needed for the building of the chapel.  But because of  economic distress that prevailed at that time, Sotiri’s dream could not be completed. He did not have enough money to finish the job.  So in this way Soriti remained with the dream that some day, when he was financially better off, he would continue his work on that particular location.  He temporarily placed the icon in the square opening of the stone spring 300 meters further north.   This was an ideal location because the shade of the stone spring in the summer allowed people and animals to stop and rest.     On June 16, 1957, Fr. Pericles Apostolides, his presbytera Sophia, the nephew of Sotiri, George Tsepides, the cousin of the presbytera George Pampouxides performed the dedication of the shrine.  George Pampouxides took a photograph of the occasion.

            One day three years later in 1960, the cantor of the village Abraham Evmirides told Sotiri about an unusual dream he had.  He saw himself and Sotiri digging the foundation for the stone spring. As they dug they found that the icon stand was anchored on the icon of the Transfiguration of the Savior.  This icon was revealed to them along with other ecclesiastical items.  The cantor’s dream was of great significance to us as we will see as the story unfolds.  Who could have imagined the miraculous happenings that were to follow?

            The years went by and Sotiri, like many others who were seeking to improve their lot in life, moved to Drama in 1965 and lived in the neighborhood of Ampelokipou.  But poverty forced him to leave for Germany along with his family as an immigrant.  At that time, many Greeks were doing this.  At the first opportunity that he had to take a vacation from his job in Germany, he went to Greece in 1972 and traveled with great emotion to Prasinada in order to light the votive light at the chapel of the stone spring.  He was dismayed to find that the icon stand was nowhere to be found at the stone spring.  The town of Prasinada found it necessary to divert the water from the stone spring and join it with a network of irrigation works.  The icons from the chapel were left in a closet along with four stone slabs.

            Sotiri who was now in a better financial situation immediately ordered a beautiful metal anodized icon stand for the icons.   He did this with the intention of placing it up above on the Rock.  It was there that he had originally gathered up the rocks and was not able to build the chapel that he dreamed about.

            His vacation time from work in Germany was up and he could not continue to fulfill his plan.  He sent a letter from Germany to the cantor of the village Abraham Evmirides.  He asked him to place the icon stand up on the Rock as soon as it is completed by the craftsman.  In that letter, Sotiri wrote to Abraham his inner most thoughts and how he felt about the hill.  In other words, he felt that some day great religious happenings would take place there for which he was not in a position to explain at this time.  Abraham Evmoirides, who is in our midst, can verify to all those who disbelieve the truth of this event.

            At that time, the cantor of Prasinada who was very busy, was not able to do any work on the chapel.  Two years later, in August of 1974, Sotiri, on vacation again from his job in Germany along with his family traveled to Greece.  His first effort upon his return was to go to set up the icon stand with his own hands on the location that he had dreamt about.  The dedication of the shrine took place on August 24.  It was done by Fr. Anthony Kazepides.  Many people were in attendance.  Before they returned to Germany, he and his family went to the icon stand for one last time.  They lit the votive light.  They prayed to the Holy Mother to watch over them in their life abroad.  They promised that if it is God’s will, upon their return to their homeland they would build a beautiful chapel which would measure four meters by four meters.  They planned to plant many flowers and trees around it.  In the shade of the trees there the spring’s cool waters will quench the thirst of travelers who travel on the main road which passes that way. 

            From the day that Sotiri made a promise to Panagia, he began to have strange and unexplainable dreams and thoughts in reference to the chapel.  He had many visions.  He would often see himself in his dreams climbing the hill of the Rock in order to reverence the icon and light a candle but he would not find the icon stand in its place.  He felt that it was buried under the ground and he was not able to pinpoint its location.  He was having this dream again and again and he could not explain it.  He would tell many people about the dreams and even to priests but no one could understand their meaning.                                                                                                                                                                                                   

THE RETURN

            Sotiri returned for good from Germany along with his family and finally settled in the town of Ambelokipou Drama.  He built a house there and he returned to his old job as a municipal employee.  The fulfillment of his promise bothered him constantly even though he lived in Drama.  His mind and his thoughts were constantly thinking about that Hill which is above the great Rock in Prasinada.

            In a visit he made to Fr. Isaac who lived in Ftelias, this holy man explained to him in a few words the meaning of his dream.   Fr. Isaac was the spiritual son of the Elder of the Archangels Monastery.  He told him that he was seeing this strange dream continuously because he had not yet found the proper place to build his chapel.  The location of the chapel, according to Fr. Isaac, was not the place where Sotiri wanted to place it. 

            Sotiri continued to see the same dream and he was waiting anxiously for God to reveal to him the place where he should build his chapel.  One night, he saw the same dream and he was searching to find the buried icon stand. He saw at about 100 meters high on the Rock, a dazzling icon of Christ holding the Book of the Gospels in His hand. The title of the icon was “I am the Light of the World.” He also saw a vigil light burning. When he woke up, he was troubled anew by the dream. He concluded that since the cantor Abraham Evmirides was having the same dream and since he saw the icon stand anchored resting upon the icon of the Transfiguration of the Savior, he thought he should have the icons of the Theotokos and the icon of the Transfiguration of the Savior side by side.   And this is what he did.

            He bought the icon and placed it on the icon stand so that travelers could reverence it.  Henceforth on that day every year this chapel celebrated the Transfiguration of the Savior.  Many people attended this service.  In fact there were more people at this service than at the Feast of the Theotokos.   The Church of the Theotokos was in Paggaio.  Six years after he had made his pledge his promise was bearing fruit.

THE FULFILLMENT OF THE PLEDGE


            Sotiri approached all those who were able to help him in fulfilling his promise.  He went to the Holy Metropolis, to the rich, to the mayors, to the civil servants, to the contractors and to the artisans.  In the meantime, he himself went to the location and laid out the dimensions of the chapel and placed stones in the four corners where he wanted the foundation to be laid.                                                           

            On August 6, 1990, on the Feast of the Holy Transfiguration of the Savior, Sotiri along with Fr. Chris Papadopoulos and the cantors Socrates Eliopoulos and Abraham Evmirides and the residents of the village climbed the Hill of the Rock and went to the chapel to perform a service of supplication as was done during the last two years.  That same night in his sleep, at last, miraculous are His ways, he dreamed the dream he had been waiting for.

            A priest appeared before him dressed in gold vestments.  He did not have a kalimafhi (a monastic hat). His face glowed with the brilliance of his goodness.  He blessed Sotiri and said to him: “Sotiri do not be troubled and do not be afraid, I have come to help you.  I have been directing you for many years and I feel your anxiety in your desire to find the buried Church which you wish to rebuild.  Now is the right time to show you its location.”  He turned towards the East and he showed him the huge Rock which was about one hundred meters from where he was standing. 

            “On that Rock there was a Byzantine Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Savior.  It was established by two brother ascetics Peter and Paul in 485 A.D.  For centuries it stood as The Lighthouse of Orthodoxy.  This Monastery became a center of attraction for many ascetic monks.  As a result of this it became known throughout the world.  With the help of God, it managed to withstand the assaults of many disbelievers throughout the centuries.  It was attacked often because of its remote location.  In spite of this, in 1204 A. D. it could not withstand the criminal assault of the Fourth Crusade.  It was destroyed completely and the ten monks along with the abbot were burned to deathThe abbot and the monks had locked themselves inside the Monastery and were burned to death. On this holy ground you will find the buried relics of these monks. This will confirm their martyrdom.  This is a true story.  Many years passed by and it was providential for you to come here with your desire to build the chapel and to bring life back to this Holy Place.   There high on the Rock you will begin to build the chapel that you dreamed about.  And your inspiration will become known to everyone in the area and it will take on great dimensions.  Many faithful and powerful people from all walks of life will follow your lead.  They will help to beautify this place to which God will send His people to live.”

            At this point, Sotiri with reverence, asked the Holy One:  “But Pappouli the area of the Rock is so big, how will I be able to find where the old Monastery was built?  Besides this, there is no sign of where the old Monastery stood.”  “I will point it out to you,” said the Holy One and he suddenly disappeared.  Sotiri woke up from his sleep very startled and he made the sign of the Cross many times while his eyes filled with tears.  At the first light of day, without forgetting anything about what he saw and heard in the dream he ran off toward the Rock.
               
            In order to climb the Rock, one must take an old broken down footpath.  He managed with difficulty to climb up to that Holy Place.  He was astonished to find almost immediately broken ceramic tiles that were large and thick unlike those that are used today.  He took some of them with him to the director of the archeological office in Drama.  The expert assured him that the ceramic tiles were from the Byzantine era. 

            The history of the Monastery and its destruction was verified by another event which is connected to a dream of Sotiri.  All his thoughts and soul were now directed toward the Rock.  He had a dream one night in which he saw St. Irene and St. Nectarios.  They told him that someone from Thessaloniki would bring him a book in which would be revealed something about the Monastery.  He was directed to an event which happened about a week later.  His son came from Thessaloniki and brought him a book about the Antichrist 666.  He wanted him to read it in the hope of finding something from the prophecies of the Saints that he saw in his dream.  He concentrated his attention on certain events that the book wrote about in reference to the plan of the Masons and the Popes of Rome.  They always had a plan to destroy Orthodoxy and its faithful.  In the events that were written in the book was a section about the destruction, the crimes and the humbling of the Monasteries and the Churches that was perpetrated by the expedition of the Fourth Crusade of the Roman Catholic Church.  Sotiri remembered immediately the response the Holy One gave when he asked him in his dream if the Turkish army burned the Monastery.  He said: “no, my son, it was the Italian army.”

            With great emotion he thought of the Greatness of God, the Wisdom of God and His power.  St. Irene Chrysovalantou revealed to him under which circumstances the Monastery was destroyed and how the monks were martyred.   Great art our thou o Lord and marvelous are Your works!  May our Savior Christ always protect us from the Pope and his illegal schemes.

            The first thing that Sotiri did after receiving all the revelations was to go to the president of Prasinada and to the village council.  He presented to them a complete report on what had happened in reference to the Holy Rock and to ask of them that he be granted the right to build a chapel on that location.  He again climbed up upon the Rock.  But since he could not yet locate the buried foundations of the old Monastery, he thought it would be best to build on the surface of the Rock which was clear of grass and other things.  The next thing he did was to determine how he would transport the building materials he needed up to the Rock.  His wife became very concerned about him because he was getting very tired in his constant concern about the Monastery and the difficulties he was facing in doing this.  But he himself felt strong and prepared to continue his struggle as directed by the messages he had received from God.

            Easter 1991 had arrived and on the eve of Pentecost, he saw in a dream that on the northeastern section of the Rock is where the old Byzantine Monastery had been built.  In the area of the Church where the Pantocrator (The Sovereign Christ) was located were a group of monks.  One of them was tall. He turned and looked upon Christ, the Pantocrator.  Although he was dressed just like the other monks, his appearance was that of the Life-giving Christ.  This dream was significant for Sotiri who believed it was a sign from the Holy One in reference to where the chapel should be built. 

 At the very first opportunity he had when he was in Prasinada, he climbed to the top of the Rock and started digging in the area that had been shown to him in the dream.  He found the old foundation, burned tiles, the building blocks from the old Monastery and the Holy Relics of the monks.  Deeply moved, he knelt down and with great respect and awe, he reverenced the Holy Place.  All of his dreams had come true.  The place of the martyrdom of the Holy Monks was revealed to him.  They gave their lives for their faith in Christ, the Savior of Humanity. Waves of chills passed through his body. His faith prompted him to continuously seek new discoveries. The history of the Monastery in relation to his dreams was clearly set out before him. The dreams became blurred with the visions and Sotiri was then making them known to many of the faithful.  They finally became a defense for his great plan and helped him in his struggle.

The compassionate Holy One appeared to him again in his sleep.  He appeared to him with that very friendly face and he spoke to him.  The dream was as follows: He saw that on a particular day his fellow villagers from Prasinada gathered together in the courtyard of the Church in which were four Monks, two on the left and two on the right.  They were kneeling in a prayerful manner.  Their hands were lifted up. They were kneeling around the Holy One with the golden vestments.  Sotiri then asked him.  “Father, where will we find the icon of the Monastery on the Holy Rock?”  The Holy One nodded to him to be quiet.  His answer was that he should not be in a hurry because there is a danger that we will lose it.  He directed him to dig on the east side of the Rock and there he would find the Holy Relics which were like treasures of the Byzantine Monastery.   “The relics belong to the Apostle who was martyred on the Cross dying for the faith and they must be given to the Bishop of Dramas.  He knows and when the time comes he will place them in the Church that will be built.  In the meantime, they should be kept in wine for three days and then they should be covered with pulverized incense so that they may be fragrant.  From the wine in which the Holy relics will be placed the first mixture of cement will be made so that the Altar Table can be anchored in the Church.  The Monastery had Holy Water which you will find after searching for it with others on the side of the Rock where the deep ravine is located.   You will find a lot of water there.  It comes out a little at a time and it is from God and nobody up to this day has discovered it.  You will collect it in a container and on top of this you will place the icon stand with the icon of the Transfiguration of the Savior.  That Holy Water will be the salvation of the body and soul of every faithful child of the Church.  At that location you will plant three olive trees, two wild ones and one cultivated one.  That is what God desires.”

Upon finishing his directives, the Holy One reminded Sotiri that because of the prayers and supplications of the monks who had been martyred on that Holy Place, Prasinada was saved from many evil things when the area was going through difficult times.

With these words, the Holy One disappeared and Sotiri woke up and again was very emotional.  He had fresh memories about the things that took place in that area of Greece when Bulgaria attempted to enslave them.  This attempt of the Bulgarians had brought many tragic consequences to the area.   For example, in Polygefyrou twenty-six women and children were locked in a school and were burned to death.  In Trahoniou they caught twenty-five men and killed them.  They torched Dipotamon.  Macedonia suffered much during this time.  During all these terrible happenings, Prasinada remained unscathed.  One would think that a divine hand was protecting it.  According to the accounts of certain people, the Bulgarian armed forces had set up their artillery pieces in front of the Church of the village in their attempt to kill all the inhabitants.   At the last minute they changed their minds and got up and left the area without hurting anyone.  The father of Sotiri, Apostolos Tsepides, was accused of concealing a gun.  This was cause enough to have him executed.  Divine Providence kept the evil away and he was spared.

Sotiri climbed the Rock again and with faith began digging in the location where he was directed by the Holy One.  In truth, he found buried at a depth of one meter the Holy Relics of the martyred monks and four large nails.  Each nail was shaped in the form of a Γ.   These were definitely from another time.  With reverence, he kissed them and took them with him.  The place where they were found had light colored sand but the sand around them was black from the fire set by the Crusaders.  This verifies that the Holy Relics were in a wooden reliquary which disintegrated with the passing of the centuries and the sand around it took the color of the wood.

The Metropolitan of Drama Dionysios, to whom Sotiri had given the Holy Relics, thanked Sotiri and accepted them with joy.  They informed him that the Apostle Andrew who died a martyr’s death in Patras was nailed to the cross with four nails like those that were found by Sotiri along with the Holy Relics.

The Metropolitan expressed his desire to climb up to the Rock.  Sotiri learned about this a few days after Pascha in 1991 and he went there to welcome the Bishop.  Before this, Sotiri had dreamed that the Metropolitan would visit the icon stand as it actually happened in a miraculous way and once again his dream came true.

The Metropolitan wanted to climb up onto the Rock but the pathway had been destroyed and he could not climb up.  He made it known that he would always be at the side of those who were attempting to rebuild the Monastery on the Rock. He would help them in any way he could in this very difficult undertaking.  He wanted this because the building of the Monastery on the foundations of the old Byzantine Monastery would give splendor to the area and it would become a place of pilgrimage to Orthodox faithful.

Sotiri and other faithful began digging up on the Rock.  They were preparing the foundations of the Monastery.  On the feast day of St. Lazarus, 1992, they found the Holy Lance of the Monastery (the lance is used in preparing the Holy Eucharist).  It performed miracles that are referred to further on in this article.  This indicates to us how Divine Power works through liturgical items of the Church.

In addition to all these things, there is another event which fortifies even more so the history of the Monastery.  A hunter one day from Thessaloniki was hunting in the mountains in that area.  He was looking for his dog in Prasinada when it suddenly started raining.  He took refuge in a shack belonging to the forest rangers.  It was in a gorge and it was ranger station No. 14. He found other people in the shack who were working on the mountain.  Amongst them was Bobby Kalepides, a resident of Prasinada.  The hunter was having a conversation about the Holy Rock.  He said that he knew about a very old book which tells  about the history of the old Monastery which had been built in the Byzantine era. The Monastery had a prominent view of the area and the road passed right next to the Rock where the Monastery had been built.  It was the only main road that led to Bulgaria upon which many caravans passed by.

He had read this book and it gave details about the fact that there existed a spring on the Rock.  The waters of this spring trickled down the side of the Rock so that the gardens of the monks could be irrigated.  It also writes that when the monks heard that the Crusaders were approaching from Prasinada, the abbot took the miracle working icon and the Church items and buried them in a hidden hole which was sealed.  When the marauders arrived they burned, destroyed and devastated the Monastery while burning the monks inside. 

The Holy Water that Sotiri was trying to find as pointed out by the Holy One was located at the base of the Rock.    This also was written in a book as it was told by the hunter.  When Sotiri heard this from Bobby Kalepides, he felt bad that he did not have the address of the hunter who lived in Thessaloniki.  He wanted to see the book because he had a great desire to learn more details about the Monastery.


MIRACLES THAT HAPPENED BEFORE THE REVELATION OF THE MONASTERY

Before Sotiri had shown interest in the Holy Rock, the residents of Prasinada were not aware of the existence of the old Monastery and its history.  Strange things, though, would happen on the Rock and the residents of the village could not explain them.  As a result of this they had the expression “God has placed His hand there!”  They did not know that Christ was so close to them and His Divine power was resident upon the Rock and they were under His care.

After all these things that Sotiri had heard and lived in his dreams and visions about the Monastery, he tried to gather as much information as possible from the inhabitants about the Rock.  They did not know about its existence but they did know about various phenomena surrounding the Rock that had been handed down from generation to generation.  These were connected with the Monastery and that Holy Place as we will now reveal to you.

They would often see a light like a bright vigil light on the Rock and since they could not explain it, they said that the place was demon possessed.  In order to banish the demons  they would pass by the Rock without a light and they would irrigate their fields with Holy Water. In fact when it snowed, they would make snowballs immersed in Holy Water and throw them up onto the Rock so that the Holy Water would banish the demons.  The people did not realize that the area was already blessed and that the light that they saw on the Rock was a sign from God that this was a Holy Place.   They were being directed by this supernatural phenomenon to learn about the history of that area and that in learning they would build up their faith in God and in His Only Begotten Son.

Sotiri’s father related the following event that happened to him on a summer night as he passed by the spring on horseback.  He heard hymns and chanting coming from up upon the Rock. He related these events along with the stories that circulated at that time about the presence of demons on the Rock.  As a result of this, he was overcome with fear and he would flee away from the area.  The same thing happened to the cousin of Sotiri, Panagiotis Tsepides.

A resident of Prasinada, George Kyriakides, related what happened to an aunt of his who has since died.  Her name was Helen Evmiridou.  One night she was working in her fields in an area called Mantres which is directly opposite the Holy Rock, about four hundred meters away.  She was keeping vigil in her cornfields trying to save her crops from wild boars.  She heard chanting and hymns coming from the Rock.  She called her husband so that he might hear the beautiful chanting but he unfortunately did not believe her dismissing it simply as something that she thought she heard.  But this same woman witnessed on another night a Heavenly Light descend on the Rock like a huge umbrella and envelope the entire Holy Rock.

Some forty-six years ago in the same area Panagiotes Papadopoulos, the brother of the present day priest of Prasinada, had also seen the same Heavenly Light descending upon the Rock.  This happened at midnight when he was near the animal pen of John Kelsidou who was a fellow villager.  He had great doubts about this incident that he experienced when he was sixteen years old. He had great doubts about what happened to him until the present time when the many revelations showed that the Rock proved to the world the greatness of this Holy Place.

            Helen Siamidou, the wife of the former president of Prasinada, Iakovos Siamidis, remembers an incident that she experienced in 1975.  It was similar to those that we have already mentioned.  On an August night in 1975, she set off with a flashlight to go to the animal pen of Jordan, where her pen was also located.  When she reached the garden of John Kelsidis, she turned her head to take a look at her house where she had left her two daughters who were watching her from the window.  At that moment she saw the Rock bathed in Light which was coming down from Heaven.  She became so frightened that she turned and ran away from the area.  The Holy Light was also seen by her daughters and to this day, verifies the incident.  Many people from Prasinada have much to say about the miraculous phenomena which are written down every now and then.  This verifies the greatness of this Holy Place and of its Holiness.

  Mary Siamidou is from Prasinada.  When her husband died in 1972, she saw the following dream.  She found herself in a place close to the animal pen of Constantine Lazaridis.  She was at the bend in the road.  This leads to the animal pen of John Kelsidis. She was crying because of the death of her husband when there suddenly appeared before her in the road a man on horseback.  He was a military officer and he said to her: “Don’t cry for your husband because he is amongst us up there in a palace amongst the rocks,” as he pointed toward the Holy Rock.

   The widow at that time could not explain the meaning of the dream.  But today she is connecting all those things that God has revealed to the world at different times.  He has done this to reveal that His home is found up on the Rock.  She bows her head and she always says a prayer when she remembers her dream.

            We will list for you some miracles that took place before the revelations of the Monastery were made to the world.  We will do this in a chronological order so that the faithful can read and have their souls rejoice and be filled with Holiness.  May they come and dedicate themselves to Christ like pious pilgrims up on the Holy Rock where the old Monastery has been revealed.

THE FIRST MIRACLE


            Before 1940, the inhabitants of Prasinada, during the summer season, would take their flocks of animals at night up onto the Rock in order to protect them from the wolves.  One particular morning when they were milking the goats, a billy goat went out of control and chased, hit and pushed Nicholas Theodosiades over a big drop off.  The child, as by a miracle, managed to hold onto the edge of the cliff and was saved eliciting the amazement and joy of all.  At that time they did not know that Divine Help was given to the child and it emanated from the Holy Rock.  It was on this Rock that the Holy Monks of the old Byzantine Monastery were martyred.

THE FOLLOWING ARE MIRACLES THAT HAVE BEEN DOCUMENTED SINCE THE ORIGINAL STORY OF THE REVELATIONS OF THE HOLY MONESTARY WAS WRITTEN.  THEY HAVE BEEN WRITTEN BY SOTIRIOS TSEPIDES, THE MAN WHO FIRST RECEIVED THE DIVINE MESSAGES ABOUT GOD’S DESIRE TO REBUILD THE MONASTERY THAT WAS DESTROYED BY THE FOURTH CRUSADE.  

THE HEALING OF A BROKEN HIP OF AN ELDERLY LADY

            In the neighborhood of Ambelokipous, Drama, lived a laday who was a member of the committee that  raised funds for the rebuilding of the Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Savior. She cared for her terribly sick mother.  She was suffering from a neurological hemorrhage and a broken hip.  The doctors at the hospital determined that she had a broken hip but they could not put in a cast because of her advanced age.  They simply bandaged her up and sent her home saying that it would not be possible for her to ever get well.  She was bed-ridden, in a coma and was not aware of her surroundings.  The daughter remembered about the liturgical lance that was unearthed at the ruins of the burned out Monastery.  Ever since its discovery, this lance emitted divine Grace that healed whoever came into contact with it.  When the daughter touched her mother with the Holy Lance, she immediately opened her eyes and reverenced the Holy Lance.  From that very moment, her health improved dramatically.  She began to speak, eat, and recognized all the members of her family while prior to being blessed with the Holy Lance, she could not do any of these things.  In fact, the daughter brought a specialist to the house to attend to her broken hip and he found that there was no broken hip. 

THE FIRST DIVINE LITURGY IS CELEBRATED AFTER 800 YEARS

            On the Feast Day of the Holy Transfiguration, August 6, 1993, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the Chapel of the Rock. All present were very emotional and joyful that God had allowed us to experience  that historical moment.  The temporary Church bell that was hung on a tall tree rang for the first time in all those centuries.  Hundreds of faithful Christians received Holy Communion on that day.  The people present also witnessed two miracles that happened at that first Divine Liturgy.  At the end of the Divine Liturgy, Father Chris Papadopoulos blessed the people present with the Holy Lance.  Amongst those who were blessed that day was Alexandra Macris who was from the City of Kavala.  She had a mother who was bed-ridden for ten years. Because of all the personal care that she gave to her mother during those years her hands suffered from nerve damage.  This was so bad that she did not have the strength to hold a glass in her hand.  All the household chores were being done by her young daughter for she had lost the feeling of touch.

            Within three days of being blessed with the Holy Lance, Alexandra Macris recovered completely.  In fact, on a pilgrimage that she made the following week to Saint John the Russian, she easily carried her suitcase surprising all those who knew what she had been suffering from.  It was also very emotional when at another time, on a visit to the Rock, Alexandra Macris made the sign of the Cross with her healed hands bringing tears to the eyes of other pilgrims who knew of the miracle that happened to her.     

            On August 6, 1993 another lady from Kavala was blessed by the Holy Lance.  Menia Papadopoulos had a huge fat tumor that stretched from the back of her shoulders down to the small of her back. She suffered a great deal from the tumor and she took medicine to relieve the pain and the pulling sensation of the tumor.  The priest blessed her first with the Holy Lance on the lower part of her back.  She was again urged to go back again and the priest blessed her further up on her back.  She was embarrassed to go a third time to be blessed.  In three days, the huge fat tumor where she was blessed completely disappeared.  There was only a small raised part that remained.  She was not required to take any more medicine.  She thanked and glorified God with many tears for the healing she received.

A LIGHT ABOVE THE HOLY ROCK AND THE APPEARANCE OF A TALL MONK

            On August 18, 1993, a pilgrimage was organized in the cities of Drama and Kavala to travel to the Holy Rock in order to hold a prayer service to the Holy Mother at that holy loction.  We arrived at the Rock at about 6 pm. in the evening.  We all climbed up to the top of the Rock where the foundation of the old Byzantine Monastery was discovered and we lit our candles.  We then walked down again to the base of the Rock, to the Chapel where we performed the service to the Holy Mother.  During the service some of those present, who do not wish their names to be revealed, saw heavenly light appear over the heads of the priests as well as above the heads of the women who were chanting.  The pilgrims from Kavala were uneasy and wanted to leave before it got dark because the area was remote and they feared the return trip. 

            So the three busses started their return traveling down the twisting mountain road.  In the meantime, the bus from Drama had problems with its door and was delayed until it really got dark. They suddenly saw a white light appear above the area where the Holy Relics of the monks were found.  Everyone got very emotional seeing this miracle that appeared before all of them.  That light suddenly moved lower to the ground and then stayed stationary.  That light illuminated the whole Holy Rock the whole night.  The residents of the nearby village verified this fact.  Many of those pilgrims who climbed up upon the Holy Rock felt the presence of the Holy Monks.  We will mention a few examples.  Chris Haralambides told us that at the moment that he was at the very top of the Rock a tall thin monk was standing next to him while bowing his head.  Irene Makedou told us that at the old wooden gate that opens to the footpath that leads to the Monastery, a monk passed by her.  He had the appearance of a Mount Athos monk.  He was very tall and moving along hurriedly.  She even moved aside so that he could pass by.  He suddenly disappeared and she never saw him again. 

            Bessie Moustakidou told us that when she exited the bus and she walked toward the cave of the Rock, she saw in the newly built two story monks’ residence, a priest in beige vestments.  He was standing next to the workmen and she thought it was one of the priests who was helping the workers.  She looked for him later and did not find him because the priests who performed the service later were only two.  These priests were Fr. Chris from Prasinada and Fr. Pericles, the priest from Parenesti who during this whole time remained below and did not climb up onto the Rock for they had health problems. 

A BRILLIANTLY LIT CROSS APPEARED AT THE VERY TOP OF THE HOLY ROCK

            My nephew, Anthony Tsepides, who was raised in Prasinada told me the following story.  “In 1962, I was seven years old; I was with my grandparents at the animal enclosures during the summer.  These enclosures are on the west side of the Monastery on the top of Mount Paggalou.  One night my grandmother Helen Tsepides walked outside of the cabin we were staying in so that she could go to the animals in the enclosure.   Suddenly she saw at the very top of the Holy Rock a brilliantly lit Cross.  She called out to her husband Apostle, ‘come and see the bright Cross on the top of the Rock.’  He started yelling at her: ‘What are those things you are seeing, a Cross, in the darkness of the night?  My grandmother did not move from the place she was standing until the vision was lost from her sight.  Today, at that very location there is a brilliantly lit Cross that stays lit all night.  It is most likely that Helen Tsepides saw with the eyes of her soul twenty eight years ago, before the revelation of the Monastery, the brilliantly light Cross at the top of the Holy Rock, which enlightens the whole area with light, The Lighthouse of Orthodoxy.

THE HEALING OF BREAST TUMORS

            Mrs. M.V. from Kavala believed from the first moment about the holiness of the Holy Rock in Prasinada.  She tells us about the health problems that had plagued her for a long time.  She had lumps on her breast which would be removed by her physician and they would appear again and again.  She suffered through the procedure five different times. The doctor finally told her that if the lumps appeared again he would have to remove the whole breast.  Surely enough, after the fifth operation, the lumps appeared again and she made arrangements for an operation on August 23, 1993.   She packed her suitcase and made all the other preparations before entering the hospital.  In the meantime, a pilgrimage was being planned by the faithful in Kavala to visit the Holy Rock in Prasinada.  One of her relatives suggested that she join the pilgrimage so that she can be blessed by the Holy Lance before she went in for surgery.  With a great deal of faith and reverence she reverenced the Holy Lance and was blessed by it for the first time.  Following the blessing, she realized that the lumps on her breast had disappeared and she felt much better.  But on Monday, the 23 of August, she went to the hospital for her scheduled operation. She took her suitcase and went to see her doctor. The doctor checked her out again and saw that the lumps had completely disappeared.  The doctor turned to Mrs. M.V and said to her: “That is a miracle since the lumps were clearly visible in the previous x rays”  “Yes, doctor it is a miracle and I know where it took place,” she answered.  From that time and until today the tumors never returned.  And every year, on the eve of the Feast of the Transfiguration, she travels to the Monastery in Prasinada with her husband and they join in an all-night vigil with lit candles.

THE HOLY RELICS OF THE MONKS EXUDE MYRRH

            On August 18, 1994, Fr. Anthony Pavlides, the priest of the Saints Constantine and Helen Church, along with other pilgrims were at the Holy Rock.  The vesper service and the service to the Holy Mother of God were held in the presence of the Holy relics of the monks that were on a table.  During the course of the service, the relics began to exude a sweet fragrance and others emitted oily myrrh.  When the service was over, it had already become dark.  The priest was holding the relics in his hands and suddenly the pilgrims saw on the Holy Rock, at the location of the Cross, a monk who made three genuflections to the Cross and then disappeared.  On the eve of the Feast of the Transfiguration, a fountain of white light poured forth from the foundations of the original Byzantine Church.  All the people in the bus from Drama were witnesses to this phenomenon.  We later learned from the residents of the village nearby that the light vanished at midnight. 

A LARGE GLOBE OF LIGHT APPEARS ON THE FRONT STEPS OF THE NEW CHURCH

            At another time on the 5th of August, the eve of the Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus five buses of faithful from Drama and Kavala were on their way to the Monastery site.  This trip was planned in the hope that the people would be witnesses to the Holy Light that was appearing there.  Having prayed, they set off for the return trip as darkness fell.  The three buses from Kavala and the one from Drama left quickly so that they could reach Prasinada where the asphalt road begins.  The last bus from Drama waited for me since I was responsible for gathering up the generator and the other items we had used.  After locking up the storage building, we departed having with us ten people from Kavala since the other buses were full.  All the people on our bus were fortunate to see the light appear a second time.  As we were traveling down the road toward Prasinada, we would get a chance to see the Monastery one more time before moving behind the mountains.  As we approached this last vantage point, we saw this huge globe of white light lighting up the entrance to the old and the new Church.  I yelled out, the light, the light.  The bus stopped and all the passengers were looking out the windows while making the sign of the Cross.  At that moment, the light opened up and became like a volcano which lit up the whole Monastery that is built on the Holy Rock.  It appeared like it was mid day and in a split second it disappeared.  The driver then said in response to this phenomenon: “Who can now deny the existence of God after that which we saw with our own eyes?  I say this because back then and even today there are people who want put their hands in the print of the nails before they believe.”         

TWO BEAMS OF LIGHT ARE EMITTED FROM THE GRAVE OF THE ELDER JOSEPH

            The eyes of many pilgrims who have visited that holy place have seen and verified hundreds of miracles, healings of souls and bodies.  There are few that did not see two beams of light coming from the grave of the Elder Joseph.  This phenomenon happened after holding prayer services.  The holiness of the Abbot have been verified by Father Chris of Prasinada and Father Angelo of the Annunciation Church in Drama.  We have said that many of the faithful have seen two beams of light coming from the grave of the Elder. One of the shafts of light looked like an electric wire with flickering lit candles pointing toward the west toward where the Cross is located today.  And that is the place where the Holy Lance was unearthed on Lazarus Saturday 1992.  The other shaft of light pointed toward the east in the location where the Byzantine Church of the Holy Transfiguration had stood and in which the eleven monks were burned to death.   It is also on this spot where the relics of the monks were found.  These two shafts of light then came together and created a halo in the air above the grave of the Elder Joseph.  Among the many people who witnessed this miracle were two ladies who are natives to the village of Prasinada.  These ladies are Evdoxia N. Theodosiadou who now lives in Thessaloniki and Evdoxia Evmiridou who now lives in Drama.  These two ladies speak with great admiration and faith when they are asked about this phenomenon.

THE MIRACLE OF LIGHT

            On another night for the fourth time, on the eve of the Feast of the Holy Transfiguration of the Savior, many people gathered on the Holy Rock and participated in an open air prayer service.  Each person fervently prayed throughout the night hoping that they would be made worthy to see the appearance of the miraculous light.  I had with me my eight year old grandson Panagioti who also wanted very much to see the light.  Midnight arrived and nothing happened. My grandson fell asleep next to me and so I took him into one of the monastic cells were we both slept.  The room in which we slept had a door that leads to a balcony and one can see from that room the top of the Rock where the Greek and Byzantine flags are located.  I woke up at the brake of dawn and saw the horizon lightening up a little.  Suddenly I saw at the very top of the Rock, exactly at the location where the Holy Lance was found, a white light appeared in the sky and then disappeared in a split second.   

THE DISCOVERY OF THE GRAVE AND THE HOLY SKULL

            Fr. Chris Papadopoulos is the priest of the Church of Saint George the Great in Prasinada.  He himself told me the following story.  “On February 2, 1995, I saw in a dream that I found myself on the Holy Rock.  I met a man and a woman there, unknown to me.  They asked me to tell them the story of the Monastery.  I proceeded to tell them the story.  I showed them around the whole rock formation and I wanted to show them the seat of the Elder.  There is a place in the Rock which has been chiseled out that looks like a seat.  My thinking is that is where the Elder would sit and watch the rising of the sun.  A little higher than that location is a rock slab and I suspected that there was something under the slab.  I spoke to them about this thought of mine and the man proceeded to start digging.  As soon as he started digging the dream ended.

            On Sunday, February 19, 1995, at the end of the Divine Liturgy, a couple arrived from Drama in order to reverence the Holy Relics, to be blessed with the Holy Lance and reverence the Holy Rock.  Once they reverenced the Holy Relics that are kept in the Church of Saint George, we made arrangements to climb up onto the Rock formation.  They went first and then I followed.  After I showed them around, they wanted to leave.  At one point I asked them if they had seen the seat of the Elder.  Although they had prepared to leave they wanted to see the location of the seat.  I showed them the seat and then I took them a little higher and I showed them the rock slab which protruded a little above the surface of the ground.  The rock slab was different than those found in the area and it appeared to me that it was covering something.  My husband Gabriel offered to dig. Because of my heart condition, I could not help much.  While digging the rock slab came loose and we saw that there were other slabs and it appeared like it was a grave.  At this point Gabriel continued digging very carefully with his hands. A skull suddenly was found which was under a hollow rock.  An unearthly fragrance permeated the area.  Our knees buckled and great emotion and awe overwhelmed us.  Under the skull was found another rock slab.  On the outside of the grave was found a hand mill that was used for the grinding of wheat.  As soon as we discovered the skull, a heavy downpour began and it was impossible for us to continue.  We went back on February 21, 1995 in the presence of two priests from Drama along with a few faithful.”  This is what Fr. Chris, the priest of the Church of St. George in Prasinada said concerning the finding of the grave of the Elder Joseph.

            We cleaned the skull with wine and then we covered it with incense.  The skull had a yellow color and was very fragrant.  The joy, the honor and blessing for all of us was very great in finding the grave.  I would like to interject a side note that happened before finding the grave.  I wanted to plant onions on that spot so that the construction workers would have fresh onions to eat.  I looked everywhere in that area of the Rock and I ended up planting the onion seeds on top of the grave of the Elder that up to that time was unknown to us.  It was Divine Providence for me to plant them there so that people would not walk upon the grave.  In fact, many times I thought that the area there was a good place for me to be buried when I die never knowing that many centuries before the Holy Abbot of the Monastery was buried there. 




THE NAME OF THE ELDER

            Fr. Chris continues his account.  At about 2 a.m. on Sunday morning, February 26, 1995, I was very uneasy and I woke up.  I feel like and I see that I am holding the Holy Skull of the Elder in my hands and I am talking to it and it says to me: ‘Remember the date and the day when you found me. You may have brought me to the Holy Church of Saint George in Prasinada but I am leaving and am going to the Rock.  Night and day I live there and I want you to build up that area so that you can come and see me and reverence me.’ “I asked him:” ‘Holy Elder, we have been conversing for a long time and all the things that you are asking of me, I will do.  There is one thing that you have not told me.  What is your name?’  My father’s name was Seph and I the son of Seph, am called Joseph.’  “After this, he disappeared from before me.  From that moment I feel elated, filled with joy, and peace.  All my concerns in life were lifted from me. We spoke to Fathers Angelo and Chris and told them the name of the Abbot.  I said: “Fr. Angelo, we have found out the name of the Elder.  His name is Joseph.”  He queried, ‘Joseph?’  Father Angelo goes on to tell me the following story.  “As soon as he finished telling me the name, a real life monk appeared before me.  He was tall, thin, and with a long brown beard.  He expression was very severe.  He had bushy eyebrows and he wore a monastic cap.  His eyes were blue and piercing.  He did not talk to me.  He then lifted me up to the height of the ceiling, threw me down and then kicked me.  I closed my eyes since I was afraid to look at him but yet I wanted to see him.  I opened my eyes a little and I could see him clearly.  I tried to yell out for help but my tongue would not respond.  I could only make a guttural sound.  At that moment, my wife, who could not see what was happening, could only see me on the floor. She picked up the phone because Father Anthony had called. He asks, “Father Angelo what is going on?”  “Then there was silence on the phone until my wife said “Father Angelo has fallen on the floor and something has happened to him.”  Father Angelo sees the Elder again lifting him up to the ceiling by his shoulders and then throwing him down on the sofa.  When presbytera turned around to look at me she saw that instead of the floor I was now unconscious on the sofa.”

            “According to my humble opinion I believe that the following happened.  Following the discovery of the grave and the Holy Skull of the Elder, while Father Anthony was cleaning the dirt off the skull, a few pieces of bone broke off on the back part of the skull.  Upon leaving, we thought it would be a good idea to take a piece of the relics.  While going to my home, I felt a sense of fear for taking a piece of the relic.  I have other relics of saints in my home which give off a sweet fragrance that often fill my home. That particular relic that I took, I would approach it every day and see if it gave off a fragrance.  Upon smelling the relic, it appeared to me that it had a foul smell.  I then had the thought that maybe these are not the relics of the Elder but of a common man and it is dishonorable for me to reverence them.   I believe that the Elder thought that this was blasphemy, that what I had thought was disbelief.  For prior to this moment in the discovery of the relics I had seen many miraculous things happening and in addition to this I had seen on four different occasions the appearance of the monks and the Elder. Following this encounter with the Elder in the living room of my house, my presbytera (priest;s wife) dragged me with great difficulty to my bed so that I could sleep.  The appearance of the Elder happened at 10:45 at night.  I could not speak a word. My eyes had such a frightful look that my presbytera was afraid to look at me.  In the meantime I could not explain to her what I had seen and she wanted to take me to the hospital.  She thought that I had suffered a hemorrhage or something else. I made a sign to her with my hand that she should not do anything.  I was in this condition until three in morning when my tongue was finally loosened.  The only thing I could say to her was don’t do anything, don’t be afraid of those things that I am going to tell you.  I saw the Elder and he thrashed me.  After saying this, I fell asleep.  I found myself in a dream as a visitor to the Monastery as a pilgrim with my son and I saw him as a fifteen year old boy along with his friends.  This is strange because he is now a small boy.”

            “On February 28, 1995 Father Angelo, two days after the events that happened to me, went to Prasinada to reverence the Holy Skull.  The skull is temporality kept in the Church of St. George.  Father Chris blessed him with the Holy Lance, specifically on the neck because it had swollen from the beating he received from the Elder and it hurt him a lot.  While he was being blessed by the Holy Lance, he felt the area become warm and complained that it was burning him.  He requested a damp cloth to apply to his neck.  He left the Church and while walking to the spring, in a little while the swelling and pain had completely disappeared.  He then went up to the Holy Rock and with contrition of soul reverenced the Holy Grave of the Elder.  Father Angelo is blessed for having been thrashed by the hands of the Holy one for we deserve such punishment to wake us up and seek repentance.”

A FEELING OF THE STRONG PRESENCE OF THE ELDER

            “A real life miracle happened to me.  In 1995 when we were building the guest quarters along with the monastic cells something strange happened bove us.  We would work at the Monastery on Saturdays and Sundays.  On Sunday night when we had finished working and we were preparing to leave, suddenly in the two story building and specifically in the guest quarters we heard a loud banging.  There were no doors or windows in the building that would cause such a sound.  This same sound would happen every time we were preparing to the leave work.  We eventually understood that the noise was done by the Elder informing us of his joy and satisfaction at the progress we were making in rebuilding his historic Byzantine Monastery.  This was proven to us when one Saturday evening in February of 1996 when I was with three other workmen and my wife Maria.  We all went to bed.  I could not sleep and I was feeding wood to the wood stove.  All the tired workers fell asleep.  My wife Maria also fell asleep next to me.  I not being able to sleep was reliving the whole history of discovering the destroyed Monastery like it was a moving picture.  While I was singing the praises and thanking the Lord for helping us to make such progress in the midst of the desolation of rock formations without any injury, I thought the following:  It has been a long time since we heard the Elder making load noises.  It was 11 p.m. and a miracle happens. A load noise is heard and the whole ceiling is shaking.  I jumped up and as soon as I realized what was happening, I crossed myself and whispered: “Great and marvelous are your works oh Lord” for the Elder heard the things I said within myself. Isn’t that a miracle?”

COME AND SEE HOW THEY BURNED US TO DEATH

            Anatolia Nikiforou was informed about the happenings on the Holy Rock.  Since she hails from Prasinada, she had gone to the Holy Rock two or three times as a pilgrim.  In spite of this, she did not believe in the miracles associated with the Rock or the appearance of the light.  Early in the morning of May 21, 1996 she saw in a dream that she was in the courtyard of the Monastery amongst the many rocks and the debris.  She saw a monk walking down from the Rock.  He was dark and of average height and he said to her: ‘Maria,’ who is a relative of hers, ‘offers us great service but you, what have you offered to us here?  You come from this area.  Even though you are a native to this area you also do not believe.  Come and see how they burned us to death.  He took her to the place where they were martyred and she saw the hair raising blackened debris that looked like the village ovens.  The frightened woman woke up and promised that from now on she would visit the Holy Place with faith.”

THE OIL AND THE VOTIVE LIGHTS OF THE MONASTERY PERFORM MIRACLES

            Tasos Kasounis from Thessaloniki served in the army in Prasinada and today he is a pensioner. When the Monastery was discovered and the miracles were made known through the use of the olive oil from the votive lights and the Holy Lance, his wife said to Taso:  “You have friends in Prasinada. Call one of them to send us some oil from the votive lights of the Monastery.  Taso’s wife had an ugly looking black mold which was hanging from one of her eyes.  Taso called Nick Siamidi and he sent him some oil from the three votive lamps; one from the grave of the Elder Joseph, another from the Chapel of Saints Constantine and Helen, and another from the icon of the Holy Mother of Prassinada. This was the icon that miraculously led to the discovery of the Byzantine Monastery which had been buried for 800 years in rubble.  Taso’s wife took the oil one night before going to bed and she anointed the mold with it and then fell asleep.  The next morning when she got up she went to wash up and in the process the mold that she had for many years fell off into her hands.  She then gave some of the oil to another friend of hers who had the very same problem and the same miracle happened to her.  One Sunday morning we saw a taxi arrive from Thessaloniki at the Monastery with two couples.  They explained those two miracles to us and they had come to reverence the Holy and Miracle working place.

THE ELDER CONCELEBRATES THE DIVINE LITURGY WITH A PRIEST IN THE VILLAGE OF OLVIO NEAR XANTHI.

                        Mr. Constantine Kourtides and his wife Chrysoula, residents of Kavala, were frequent visitors to the Monastery of the Holy Rock in Prasinada. Since they were a very pious couple and I had great love for them, I could not deny their request that I give a piece of the relics that were uncovered in the debris of the burned out Monastery.  They took the relic to their home in Kavala and they placed it before their icons and honored it with great respect and reverence.  But it was not long after this that they felt the presence of an Elder in their home.  Once, twice, three times they thought that maybe it was not right for them to have the relic in their home.  It was at this point that Constantine Kourtides decided to travel to the village of Olvio near Xanthi and they gave the relic to the priest of the village.  The priest took the relic to his Church with a feeling of some trepidation.  Then miracle of miracles; every time he entered the Church to perform the Divine Liturgy he felt the presence of a monk next to him concelebrating the Divine Liturgy.  Constantine Kourtides told this to me since he is my spiritual brother.  This is one more miracle of the many miracles that take place at the Holy Rock of Prasinada in Drama where the monks appear to the pilgrims. 

A MONK OF THE BYZANTINE MONASTERY APPEARS TO A WOMAN IN DRIMIA, GREECE

Another very vivid miracle happened to Helen in Drimia which is near Xanthi, Greece.  A lady named Theodora from the town of Drimia visited the Monastery on a pilgrimage with a group of people.  The digging at the site at the Holy Rock had recently taken place and when Helen was leaving she bent over and took up a handful of dirt as a blessing.  When she returned to her village she took the dirt to a Mrs Helen who took care of the Monastery of Saint George the New in Drimia.  She asked Helen to take the dirt and make it into a religious charm.  Mrs. Helen took the dirt and then realized that amongst the dirt were pieces of relics and she decided to melt a little wax and place the tiny pieces of relics so that they would not get lost.  As soon as the wax hardened she formed it into a particular shape.   That night when Mrs. Helen was going to her bedroom to sleep, a monk appeared before her while she was wide awake and he said to her: “Do not burn us again like you did today because we were martyred and we have had a bad experience with fire.”  Shaking with fear Mrs. Helen said to him:  ‘Who are you?’  He answered her: ‘I am Nicholas a priest monk of the Monastery in Prasinada, Many of us were burned and buried there in the rubble of the Monastery.  That place is very blessed.  Come and receive the blessing and pray for us.’ Mrs. Helen as flustered as she was said to him: “Elder Nicholas I am an uneducated woman and those things that you have told me I cannot comprehend.  It would be better if you would tell Theodora the same thing.”  That same night Monk Nicholas appeared before Theodora and told her the same story.  Mrs. Helen told this story to a priest and we print this conversation in another edition of these stories. 
  
ABOVE THE NEWLY REBUILT CHURCH OF THE HOLY TRANSFIGURATION OF THE SAVIOR ON AUGUST 6TH APPEARS A CLOUD OF LIGHT APPEARS

            As is well known we have seen upon the Holy Rock many times a light that appears.  This       always happens on the eve of the Feast of the Holy Transfiguration of the Savior.  The Holy Light equally appears on the date of the Old Calendar and on the New Calendar. (The dates of the Old and New Calendars are separated by thirteen days.)  During the last two years of 2002 and 2003 where the vesper service is celebrated within the newly constructed but unfinished Church the following happens. While the Holy Light two years ago would be seen on the top of the Holy Rock, today on the eve of the Holy Transfiguration during the Old and New Calendar celebrations the area is visited by hundreds of pilgrims.  These pilgrims remain at the scene until the very early hours of August 6th, from 11 p.m. They would stay for the vesper service and the chanting of the service of supplication to the Lord.  A great miraculous scene would appear over the newly constructed Church of the Savior.  A heavenly rainbow would appear like a cloud of light.  It was very wide and accompanied by thousands of stars one next to the other.  This took place with the background of the natural starry sky. The blessing of seeing this miracle was witnessed by many priests and pilgrims from the cities of Drama and Kavala.  In fact a good and respected priest from Kavala who does not want his name revealed saw the following miracle.  He along with a young man from Kavala was driving by Prasinada at midnight headed toward the Monastery.  At a distance of about a thousand meters, they saw opening above the Church something like a window with white light was coming out of it.  On the same night at four o’clock in the morning upon their return trip to Kavala after having a prayer service in the Church of the Savior, at about the same place where the priest had seen the light before, other pilgrims saw a light in the form of a mosaic appearing very low around the walls of the Monastery.  They called me the next day from Kavala to inform me of what they had seen while glorifying the majesty of the Lord who made them worthy to see the miracle.

            In 1990, when the old Monastery was revealed, Nicholas Theodosiades, then president of the village of Prasinada, responding to the request of Sotiri Tsepides granted him permisiion to build the New Monastery on the Holy Rock.  This act of his was an expression of thanksgiving to God for the miracle that took place so many years ago on the Holy Rock when he was saved from        certain death when he was a small boy.

            We beseech you most holy Lord, to free us from selfishness, from egotism and haughtiness, from fear and hatred, from criticism and condemnation, from love of money and from greed, from lack of sympathy and cruelty, from laziness and negligence, from vanity and from the love of the world, from anger and wrath, from lying and injustice, and cunningness and cleanse our souls and our bodies from every blight.  We beseech Thee even more Lord to give us Your grace that we may live the rest of our lives in peace, repentance and with total commitment and obedience to Your holy will.  Amen.


THE HYMN OF THE HOLY MARTYRS OF THE MONASTERY OF THE
HOLY TRANSFIGURATION OF PRASINADA
IN THE FOURTH TONE

 

You struggled in Prasinada on behalf of Christ God

You blessed the area. We found your blessed relics.

We honor you Holy Martyrs. You all gather in the Holy Monastery.

We constantly lift up hymns so that you will intercede for our souls.

The Greek text of the history and miracles associated with the Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Savior was translated by:

+Fr. Constantine (Charles) J. Simones, Waterford, CT. USA. August 21, 2013
cjsimones300@gmail.com, 860-460-9089


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