Today, on this 3rd of September, our Church commemorates the Miracle Working Icon of the Most Holy Lady of Pisidia. A great miracle associated with the Holy Mother of God occurred on this date, and it is for this reason that this celebration was established on the ecclesiastical calendar. More recently, on this day in 2014, another miracle of this icon took place, which brought about not only a revival of the feast, but a Church was also built in its honor. There are written testimonies of the existence of this icon and the miracles that Our Most Holy Lady worked through it, starting in the 6th century. She is called Pisidiotissa (of Pisidia) because she resided in the Church of the Most Holy Lady in the Byzantine city of Sozopol, located in the province of Pisidia of Asia Minor (the city is today called Uluborlu).
Let’s have a look at some of the past and present-day miracles that God has worked among the people who reverently venerate it, and with faith invoke the grace of the icon of the Most Holy Lady of Pisidia. The first known miracle is written in the life of St. Eutychios, Patriarch of Constantinople (552-565 & 577-582). An infant was born dead in Amasya, Pontus. The parents had problems having children and turned to Patriarch Eutychios for help. The Patriarch prayed fervently and anointed them with myrrh, which flowed from the right hand of the Most Holy Lady in the icon of the Mother of God of Pisidia. He then said: “You will have a strong child, and you will name him Peter.” And truly, a sweet little boy was born and baptized Peter. Later, they had even more children.
Another miracle is described in the life of St. Theodoros, Bishop of Anastasiopolis, known as Sykeotos (+ 613). Bishop Theodoros went to the church of the Most Holy Lady of Pisidia in Sozopol to pray for a man he had seen, who was possessed by demons, violent and screaming. The Saint felt compassion, and asked the Most Holy Lady to free him from the dominion of Satan. This occurred immediately, and as Bishop Theodoros stood in front of the icon to give thanks, myrrh streamed from the Most Holy Lady’s right hand in the icon, and not only that, but myrrh sprinkled onto the Bishop’s face and soaked him! Everyone who witnessed the event was amazed.
Later, when the Church was under attack by heretics who rejected veneration of the holy icons (the Iconoclast period), St. Germanos (715-730), the Patriarch of Constantinople, wrote a letter to Thomas, Bishop of Claudiopolis, which reads: “Through the holy icons many miracles occur, some of them witnessed by myself. It is noteworthy, that from the hand of the Most Holy Lady of an icon that resides in Sozopol of Pisidia, myrrh gushes that works many miracles.” However, the icon of the Most Holy Lady of Pisidia did not only work miracles during these early centuries, but as we have seen, continues to do so up to the present day.
In the beginning of August 2014, an ultrasound medical examination showed that the fetus of H.M., who was from Cholargos (a suburb of Athens), will have sever breathing problems. She was filled with great fear and despair. During that time, she happened to learn about the Most Holy Lady of Pisidia, and obtained a copy of her image. She was very moved by her story, and the fact that she protects children. She began praying to her for her unborn child. Later, the baby was immediately admitted to the Intensive Care Unit after birth, because the child could not breath. Medical examinations showed that there was a tumor that should be surgically removed, with no guarantee that the infant would survive such a difficult operation. The date of the surgery was set for the 3rd of September (the feast of the Most Holy Lady of Pisidia). The situation was tragic, and the parents spent the whole time in prayer and supplication before the icon of the Most Holy Lady of Pisidia, for the baby’s life. On Wednesday, the 3rd of September 2014, the feast day of the Most Holy Lady of Pisidia, the doctors did another examination, and found that the tumor had disappeared! They decided to disconnect the oxygen, and the baby was able to breath on her own, in stable condition. Instead of a surgery that day, the mother was able to hold her daughter for the first time. Since then, the little girl has grown up normally without any special difficulties.
Since 2015, when the church of the Most Holy Lady of Pisidia was built, and this miracle became widely known, we have witnessed eight other miracles that occurred in Alanya, Antalya, and Korea. Through the warm prayers of childless women to the Most Holy Lady of Pisidia, they also eventually had children. How Wonderful is God! Let us thank our loving Mother, our Most Holy Lady, for all the blessings that come through her intercession.
To add further to the history of this holy icon: The mother of the Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich Romanov, who became a nun with the name Martha, had an icon of the Most Holy Lady of Pisidia. After her death, the icon was preserved in the New Monastery of the Savior in Moscow (Novopassky), but with the destruction of the monastery by the Bolsheviks, it was lost. However, copies of it were saved, and the Russian Church has long celebrated the 3rd of September as the feast of the icon of the Most Holy Lady of Pisidia. Copies that were originally made in Russia exist in the Church of our Most Holy Lady of Pisidia, as well as in other churches.
May our Most Holy Lady intercede for all of us!