May 15, 2023

The Mother of Elder Philotheos Zervakos and Her Miraculous Healing by the Panagia the Giatrissa

In his autobiography, Elder Philotheos Zervakos writes about a miraculous healing that took place on behalf of his mother by the Panagia the Giatrissa (a miraculous icon of the Mother of God which is often translated as the Panagia the Healer, though more accurately as the Panagia the Physician). His mother fell seriously ill and was on the verge of death shortly before he departed his homeland of Pakia in Laconia to follow the path of monasticism. This is what he records about the miracle:

Seeing her in danger of dying, I thought that if my mother remains ill, I will not be able to follow Christ, because my father would be left alone, with my little sister, and therefore I would not be able to abandon them.

The day before my mother's illness, a fellow villager gave me and I read a book, which contained miracles of the Most Holy Theotokos called "Panagia the Giatrissa".

Her temple is located on the slopes of Mount Taygetus, as is her miraculous icon. At the beginning of the book, on the first page, there was a copy of the sacred icon of the Panagia.

When I saw that mother was in danger of dying and all hope was lost, I took the book and after opening it where the icon of the Panagia was, I quietly left the house, without anyone noticing me, and after kneeling down, keeping the book open and looking at the icon, as if I were seeing the Theotokos herself, I begged her with faith and warm tears to grant healing and health to my mother.

"My Panagia," I said, "Queen of heaven and earth, I believe that if you wiill and it is in your interest, you can heal my mother. Because you are really and truly the Mother of God and whatever you ask of Him you receive. Please give my mother health, and I promise you that, when she is completely cured, I will immediately leave to become your servant."

For an hour I prayed on my knees, and after I went up to the house I found my mother in the same and worse condition, so I went out again and remained praying more fervently for two hours.

When I returned home I found them all asleep and I heard my mother say to me from her bed in a low voice:

"My child, calm down, I have nothing, I'm fine, the Panagia helped me."

My emotion and joy were indescribable.

Throughout the night I remained as if in an ecstasy, praising and blessing God and thanking the much-praised Theotokos Mary, who heard my prayer, me, the lowly and sinful.

The paradox was that my mother got up very early and prepared food for me because I was going to go to a village called Foiniki where I was a teacher.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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