Serres, Central Macedonia, Greece, November 9, 2023
The Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the Other Bodiless Powers was celebrated throughout Greece and the Orthodox Churches that serve according to the New Calendar yesterday.
The day was especially festively celebrated in the city of Serres, Greece, which counts the Archangels Michael and Gabriel as its patrons.
Orthodox faithful filled the Metropolitan Church of the Archangels for the feast celebrated by the local hierarch Metropolitan Theologos of Serres and four visiting hierarchs. Orthros was led by Metropolitan Makarios of Sidirokastro, and the Divine Liturgy by Metropolitan Panteleimon of Veria, reports Vima Orthodoxias.
The splendor of the celebration was also enhanced by the presence of the wonderworking Eikosiphoinissa Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos, which was carried in procession together with an icon of the Archangels. Many local and military leaders, as well as pious faithful participated in the procession.
“If every liturgical gathering is a gathering of Heaven and Earth,” said Met. Panteleimon, “in which, apart from the faithful who participate, ‘mystically representing the cherubim, and singing the thrice-holy hymn to the life-creating Trinity,’ there are also thousands of archangels and myriads of angels, then this applies even more so during today’s Divine Liturgy for the Synaxis of the Heavenly Powers.”
“Not only do the holy angels assist us noetically as they sing with us the triumphant hymn, but they also convey our humble hymns to their Lord and our Lord, the Creator God, as well as to their Lady and Mistress, the Most Holy Theotokos, multiplying the value of our feeble chants with their own boldness towards God,” the hierarch continued.
Let us stand humbly before God, like the holy angels and archangels, whom God rewarded by giving them incorruptibility towards evil, as they were not led astray by the pride of Lucifer, who had the delusion to think he was superior to his Creator, in order to overshadow us with the grace of God and protect us from delusion and downfall, which are easily led by arrogance and selfishness…
Let us imitate the obedience of the holy angels and archangels, who are sent as ministering spirits to serve those who will inherit salvation that is, us humans. They faithfully carry out the Divine will daily without placing anything above it, even if we deviate from it.
Let us imitate the purity of the holy angels and archangels, which is the result of their humble disposition and their continuous response to the exhortation of the archangel: “Let us stand aright, let us stand with fear,” so that they may not only see the face of God, beyond all purity, but also spiritually connect with the “purest rays of the sun,” the Most Holy Theotokos…
Let us praise and honor the holy angels and archangels and ask them to accompany us “all the days of our lives” and to protect us lest we stumble, to protect us together with the Most Holy Theotokos, whose holy and grace-filled icon we honor today.
The Eikosiphoinissa Icon comes from the monastery of the same name, which, having been founded in the year 400, is among the oldest monasteries in Europe.
When its founder St. Germanos completed the construction of the church, he began looking for a suitable board to make an icon of the Theotokos. At the location that has since been known as “The Board of the Panagia,” he found a tree with a thick trunk, and from it, the craftsmen processed a beautiful board for the image. However, while they were smoothing it, it split and became useless.
St. Germanos felt great sorrow and moved away to pray in solitude. Suddenly, a glorious light shone, and amazed, St. Germanos saw Theotokos herself, who said to him, “Germanos, faithful servant of my only begotten Son, I have seen your faith and true devotion to me, and because you were so saddened by the board splitting that was being prepared for me, behold, I am giving you my image, exactly as I am, skillfully crafted on this strewn board, without the touch of a craftsman.”
At the same time, a deaf-mute child, an assistant to the craftsmen, saw with surprise an unknown, beautiful woman with a baby, who, after standing in front of the useless board, said, “This board is quite suitable for my image, and the craftsmen are requesting another one in vain.”
The deaf-mute child not only heard what the unknown woman said but also ran frightened to St. Germanos and the craftsmen, and his speech was restored as he recounted the events. Then St. Germanos and the craftsmen hurried and witnessed with sacred awe the image, which had been imprinted miraculously on the board, shining brightly and spreading a reddish light around it.
Therefore, the name of the holy monastery is connected to the miracle of the icon, as it shone and emitted a reddish light like the porphyry of the Phoenicians.
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