Corfu, Greece, August 13, 2019
A great annual tradition was again honored on the Greek island of Corfu on Sunday, in celebration of a miracle worked by the island’s patron saint more than 300 years ago.
The Divine Liturgy in honor of St. Spyridon was celebrated in the morning, followed by a procession throughout the old city of Kerkyra with his holy relics. The holy march was led by His Eminence Metropolitan Nektarios of Corfu, Paxos, and the Diapontian Islands, together with five other metropolitans from the Church of Greece, reports Romfea.
The government was represented by Minister of Culture Lina Mendoni.
During the procession, the festive ringing of the bells in all churches of the island never ceased. According to famous tradition, the residents scattered the street with laurel branches and hung carpets from their balconies.
Following the prayers, Met. Nektarios noted that the sacred relics of St. Spyridon are being carried along the streets of the island in great heat—not only from the weather, but also spiritual—where the human person is increasingly alienated and faith in Christ is being persecuted. He also noted that St. Spyridon continues to work miracles daily, as did 300 years ago, for those who ask with sincere faith.
In 1716 the island was besieged and blocked by a large Turkish army. The 40-day confrontation wore down the strength of the local inhabitants. Hoping for Divine intercession, the helpless people gathered in the Church of St. Spyridon and tearfully lifted up prayers to the saint. Suddenly, on the night of August 10 there erupted a terrible storm on the sea. Preparing themselves for the decisive battle, the island inhabitants learned of the great miracle that occurred in the night: eyewitnesses said that St. Sypridon, with an innumerable host of angels and a flaming sword, banished the multitudinous Turkish army from the island.
During Sunday’s celebration, His Eminence also called on the faithful to remain firmly anchored in the tradition of the Holy Fathers, who preserved the holy treasure of Orthodoxy for future generations.
In conclusion, the bishop wished that St. Spyridon would overshadow the entire Orthodox world with the grace of his prayers.
The procession on August 11 is one of four annual processions with the relics of St. Spyridon. The first is on Palm Sunday, in remembrance of when St. Spyridon saved Corfu from a plague in 1630; the second is on Holy Saturday morning, in remembrance of when St. Spyridon saved Corfu from famine in 1550; the third is on the first Sunday of November, in remembrance of when St. Spyridon saved Corfu from the plague in 1673; and the fourth is on August 11.
Below is a video of the 2016 procession: