July 7, 2023

The Wondrous Appearances of Saint Vlasios of Akarnania to a Humble Woman Named Euphrosyne

 By Spyros Symeon

Saint Vlasios for almost a millennium was unknown to all of us. But God often keeps such saints in the dark and when He sees fit He reveals them so that people can be strengthened.

The miraculous apparitions of Saint Vlasios has several similarities with that of Saint Raphael.

It is unknown why, perhaps because of her fervent faith, her purity of heart and her innocence, he chose to appear quite often to a humble woman in the region where the Saint was martyred. Her name is Euphrosyne.

The area got the name Sklavaina because after raids most of its population were taken as slaves from there and Saint Vlasios thus took the nickname of Sklavainois. He is a Saint who frees us from the slavery of our passions.

The Saint's relationship with Euphrosyne was paradoxical. He appeared to her so regularly that it was now a daily and integral part of her life.

Of course, this in itself shows us the boldness this humble woman Euphrosyne had before him but also before God, which perhaps to a point should "trouble" us spiritually since we should research more about this holy soul of the last century.

Once the humble Euphrosyne, in the poverty she lived in, set out from Sklavaina (an insignificant village now near Palairos) for Monastiraki Vonitsa to get some flour for her children.

Flour then for many was not one of the goods they could have easily but it was as necessary as almost anything else. How much more so for the venerable and poor Euphrosyne.

At some point, Saint Vlasios suddenly appeared as she was on her way.

She was used to this and Ephrosyne saw it as normal. Sometimes he kept her company while she walked.

After all, in the night he was standing next to her, bright in an abundant and uncreated light and illuminating her path.

But she, in her good soul, did not realize that these things were not common for all people.

Although the Saint lived nine centuries before Euphrosyne, they had a bond between them that was attracted by their humble souls which were full of Christ.

So as he appeared and accompanied her, he initially asked her where she was going.

Euphrosyne replied that she was going to get some flour for her family, even though she didn't even have any money. But for some strange reason, even though she had no money, she was not daunted.

Saint Vlasios then, as he was standing next to her, asked her: "Do you have a big sack with you? This is enough. You will go to the miller and he will give you flour without asking you for money."

Euphrosyne was not bewildered about anything. If you read about Saint Vlasios you will see that in this book it talks about how a holy martyr who lived a thousand years ago met a holy soul who lived about a hundred years ago in Sklavaina.

Indeed, when Euphrosyne arrived at the mill, seeing her, the miller said to her: "Take as much flour as you want, I don't want money for it."

And this is what the humble Euphrosyne did, who was under the protection of a newly-appeared saint who for a hundred years was honored by the faithful people of Aitoloakarnania and not only, and a few years ago the Ecumenical Patriarchate validated the will of the people by officially placing him in the list of the saints of our Church to be commemorated on July 7th.

The above incident with the wondrous appearance of Saint Vlasios is one of the hundreds experienced by Euphrosyne herself, but also one of the many miracles experienced by believers that the all-good God wanted to reveal to them Saint Vlasios the Sklavainois.

He is the same Saint who appeared in 1980 to the then elder of Panagouda, Elder Paisios, one night in his cell. When he first encountered him, he could not recognize him since he had never seen him in any iconography, so he asked him to receive the answer and from the chapel of Panagouda the Panagia herself told him that he is Saint Vlasios from Sklavaina.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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