Χριστός ανέστη! Αληθώς ανέστη!
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
Христос Воскрес! Воистину Воскрес!
St. Ephraim the Great Martyr of Nea Makri
Commemorated on May 5th (martyrdom) and January 3rd (finding of his relics)
St. Ephraim the Great Martyr of Nea Makri said: “I will do many miracles, I will help many people, before the sufferings come!…before the misfortunes (calamities) come”
Gerontissa Makaria saw a tall monk with small, round eyes, whose beard reached his chest. In his left hand was a bright light, and he gave a blessing with his right hand.
The prototype icon of St. Ephraim of Nea Makri, painted by the famed iconographer of the 20th century Photios Kontoglou (+1965). He was asked to paint the Saint’s icon, and thus prayed to the Saint to enlighten him to depict his form. The Saint appeared to him, and Kontoglou’s icon later became the inspiration for all other icons of St. Ephraim.
St. Ephraim was born on 14 September 1384 in Trikala, Thessalia. In 14 September 1425 he was captured in Turkish raid. They locked him in a small cell without food or water, and they beat him every day, hoping to convince him to become a MoslemThey turned him upside down and tied him to a mulberry tree, then they beat him and mocked him. “Where is your God,” they asked, “and why doesn’t he help you?” The saint did not lose courage, but prayed, “O God, do not listen to the words of these men, but may Thy will be done as Thou hast ordained.” One of them took a flaming stick and plunged it violently into the saint’s navel. . He was held captive and tormented for more than eight months, until he was finally tortured to death on 5 May 1426.
I saw the martyrdom of Saint…
A vision of the martyrdom of St. Ephraim of Nea Makri
“I saw that I was dressed as an altar boy in the Monastery, and was helping the Saint in the Church. Straightaway, I saw that wild men with turbans on their heads, entered, holding clubs, sticks and swords. And from my fear I trembled, and I hid, gazing with agony on what was occurring…
All of them, screaming loudly, seized the Saint, and having tied him to the tree*, began to beat him, and to pierce him with their swords, and his blood ran onto the ground…
They martyred him unspeakably, cutting his body into little pieces, while the Saint in return, looked to heaven with his eyes and prayed. Furthermore, next to him was a small puppy who was barking, and tried to free him, while the tyrants chased him…
From my fear and my agony,” Mr. Spyropoulos continued, “as I was watching this life-like retelling of the martyrdom of St. Ephraim, I awoke, but when I fell asleep a short time later, the dream continued…
I did not see the tyrants anymore, but only the Saint, bound on the tree (which exists to this day), drenched with his blood, gnarled everywhere, but he was not living anymore, he had died…
And I, having hid behind a fountain, was praying to God to give me strength, for I was afraid to come out, not knowing what to do.
And straightaway I saw that some violent men entered to hang the Saint, and to bring him to a pit further down, to place him in it. I saw further that the little puppy had a piece of flesh in his mouth that he placed in the pit, and he threw it in, screaming in pain. It was the exact same puppy that, in another vision, the Saint mentioned was “the only creature which stood beside me at that moment, licking my wounds…”
By Mr. Panagiotis Spyropoulos, Kandrinou 76, Athens, from within a special vision which he saw and is recorded in the 3rd volume of publications of the Holy Monastery.
*A mulberry tree, believed to be that on which the saint was hanged, is today shown as an object of veneration inside the re-erected monastery.
Apolytikion of St. Ephraim the Great-martyr of Nea Makri in the First Tone
From the mountain of Amomon, thou didst shine forth like the sun. Having endured the savagery of the barbarians, thou didst suffer for the love of Christ. Wherefore, O holy martyr Ephraim, thou dost pour forth grace for all those who piously cry out: glory to God Who hath given thee strength, glory to Him Who hath made thee wondrous, glory to Him Who worketh healing for all through thee.
May the intercessions of Saint Ephraim bless all of us who come to him seeking his miraculous help in our human sufferings. May we all experience the divine and inexplicable miracles that he gives to those of us who come to him with faith in Jesus Christ. “God is glorified in His Holy Saints.”