The Miracles of Panaghia Kardiotissa
Fr. Hector Firoglanis
"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior" (Luke 1:46).
These sentiments of the Most Holy Theotokos, upon hearing the good tidings of the Archangel Gabriel, reflect the joy of our campers and staff last month when the Panaghia herself visited us at Camp Nazareth through the “Panaghia Kardiotissa” icon. The Kardiotissa icon began seeping fragrant myrrh on October 13th, 2011, at the St. George Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church in Taylor, PA (near Scranton). The "weeping" icon is a replica of the original produced by the sisters of the Holy Protection Monastery, just a half hour south of Taylor.
According to Fr. Mark Leasure, the priest at St. George's, the icon exudes myrrh more heavily around the major feast days of the church, particularly at Pascha. The parish has a "Moleben" Service to the Mother of God every Wednesday evening at 6:00pm, at which the faithful may pray, venerate, and be anointed by the myrrh flowing from the icon.
Many healings of cancers and other illnesses — both physical and spiritual — have been made through the in- tercessions of Kardiotissa and the anointing of her myrrh. After praying a Paraklesis Service together with all the campers, staff, clergy, and Bishop Gregory of the Carpatho-Russian Diocese, Fr. Mark shared some of the many miracles being worked through the Kardiotissa.
- A five year old boy received a kidney transplant from his mother and later developed extreme abdominal pain requiring sedation to control. The abdominal pain turned out to be from transplant related cancers, which spread throughout the bowels, stomach, and lungs. The little boy was anointed with the myrrh by a family friend, and two weeks later CT scans showed his lungs to be clear and no signs of the cancer.
- A Muslim man walks into the church during a service and declares to everyone: "I am a Muslim" and that the icons are a denial of Allah. As the man approaches Kardiotissa, everyone is nervous and the “bodyguards” move closer to protect the icon from harm. The Muslim man pauses before the icon and freezes as he enters into a trance-like state, before the tears begin to fall from his eyes. Experiencing a conversion before the Kardiotissa he confesses to all: "Jesus Christ is Lord and honors the Mother of God." After his baptism he describes how a warm and soothing force entered his heart and healed him spiritually and physically. The man had heart problems which disappeared after his encounter with the Kardiotissa.
- During a Wednesday evening service, a man collapsed in the back of the church with a massive heart attack. A doctor and a nurse in attendance began CPR but there was no pulse and no respiration. One drop of the myrrh and the man began to breath and his heart began to beat again. He was brought back from the dead.
We don't know why such miracles as a myrrh-streaming icon take place, but we do know that they are for the faithful. During this special time of the first 15 days of August (Δεκαπενταύγουστος) as we prepare and celebrate the Dormition of the Mother of God, we pray for the intercessions and protection of the Most Holy Theotokos. Consider planning a trip with your family to St. George's Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church on a Wednesday evening to receive a blessing from the Kardiotissa — the "Tender-Hearted" Mother of God.