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February 16, 2023

The Sacred Icon of the Panagia in Plikati of Konitsa


By Saint Gerasimos Mikragiannanitis

On the 16th of February in Konitsa, an annual synaxis is held in honor of the Most Holy Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary, whose icon was found in the village of Plikati (of Konitsa).

Verses

The Divine Icon of the Pure Theotokos, located in Plikati,
Has been glorified with miracles.
On the 16th I honor the glory of the Icon of the Mother of God.


This miraculous icon of the Theotokos is located in the village of Plikati, which is near Konitsa in Epirus. It had been hidden for a long time, unknown when, somewhere in the forest, and it was revealed like this, as we will show below.

About two hundred years ago, residents of the village grazed their sheep in a wooded area, which they call Petsilepi and is located south of the village of Aetomilitsa, formerly Dentsiko.

The shepherds saw for consecutive nights a light shining in the opposite forest, which created a lot of fear for them and they suspected that there was a lair of criminals.

The light was constantly and steadily visible and the shepherds courageously approached to see what was happening, but they found no sign, even though they had been going to the spot for several days. Because they were missing the light, they thought of placing a shepherd's hut in the spot where they thought the light could be seen, so that they could see it from afar. So the next night they found the place where the incident happened.

In the morning they hastily arrived at the spot where they observed the phenomenon and searched with great care and found the holy Icon of the Theotokos standing upright in a cedar. Their hearts were filled with unspeakable joy; they venerated her with reverence, took her in their hands like a real precious treasure and carried her to their camp. From there, after placing it as a sacred object on a very thin mare, without delay, they took it to Plikati.

The inhabitants were informed of the event and started off holding candles, with the priests dressed in their priestly vestments. They met the holy Icon on the opposite mountain, which was called Palesi, and with hymns and psalms they led it to the village and placed it in the Church of Saint Athanasios.

Not many days passed, when the Priest, who went morning and afternoon to recite the morning and evening prayers, found the Icon at the door of the temple. He reverently placed it back in its place. And one Sunday, after the end of the Divine Liturgy, the Icon got up by itself and sat on the Priest's shoulder. With her grace and energy the Priest walked forward and all the people followed and they reached the middle of the village and there they stood. A temple was built on this spot, where the Icon is still today.

There were ruins of an ancient temple, a spring (which was called a large fountain), many cottonwoods and willows. When they arrived at this location, the Icon rose from the Priest's shoulder and stood on the cottonwood, revealing that a temple should be built at this spot for its residence. Again, the Icon rose from the blankets and sat on the priest's shoulder, as before, and he, together with all the people, proceeded to the small temple of the Nativity of the Theotokos, which was called Panagiopoula. There, after coming down from the priest's shoulder, she stood on a stone. From the stone again, in the same way, she sat on the Priest's shoulder and they returned together, the Priest with the Icon standing on his shoulder, to the Church of Saint Athanasios, from where they started the procession.


In 1775 the inhabitants of the village built a church in the name of the Dormition according to her desire with great zeal and reverence, in which the holy Icon is kept as a treasure. The small Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos was also built, as she pointed out in a paradoxical way.

In more recent days (1949-1951) a temple was raised from the foundations of a surrounding temple with the help and contribution of the officers and soldiers of the eighth Division, so that they would always remember the help of the Theotokos in the brilliant victory they won in the area of Grammos, when they faced the mobster rebels, who looted, robbed and bloodied the nearby villages and abducted many inhabitants captives to distant countries (the ones called "of the curtain"). The Division based in Ioannina helped in this sacred work (of erecting the beautiful holy church).

This miraculous icon performed many miracles in the past, but even to this day it has not stopped working. She heals the sick, saves those in danger, and satisfies everyone's requests for salvation, of those who reverently hasten to her. She stopped drought and gave children to barren women. Every day she helps those who invoke her holy name.

On the 16th of February, a festival and celebration is celebrated everywhere and she is glorified for her many miracles and help.

Entire families flock to Plikati from the nearby villages and with great gratitude they sing thanksgiving hymns and odes to the Theotokos the Queen of All.

Through the intercessions of your All-Holy Mother, Christ God, have mercy and save us. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.


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