Τhis is a short extract from the English Edition of my book “Literary Journeys to the Holy Land” which will be on public release at the end of next month. Many thanks to the publishers and Dave from Winamop and Firestone from Verse-Virtual who were the first to believe in my poetry.
Miracles of the Holy Monastery of the Shepherds in East Jerusalem
Many miracles have occurred over time at the Monastery of the Shepherds. The residents of the village witnessed so many wonderful miracles and events that it didn’t struck them as strange to see Angels, Virgin Mary or Saint George advising them or correcting their mistakes. We will mention below some of the miraculous events that have occurred at the Holy Shrine of the Shepherds.
– The pious Khalil al-Kasis, a resident of the village, a devout Christian who regularly attended the Matins and Liturgies at the Church of the cave, once set out to go to Church very early, under the impression it was early dawn. Upon arrival, he saw that the door was open and the church was full of people, unknown to him, who were attending the Holy Liturgy. He also attended the Holy Liturgy and upon completion, he partook of the Holy bread. In the morning when Father Nicholas opened the door of the church,mind you he was the only one who had the key to the door,he found Khalil al-Kasis Allen in a pew, holding tightly in his hand the Holy bread. Unbeknownst to him, he had participated in the Divine Liturgy held by heavenly angels who had opened the church, conducted the Divine Liturgy and then locked the church, leaving him fast asleep in the pew.
– Khalil Abufarha, a pious Greek Orthodox Arab, had taken the key from the priest to the cave church in order to light the oil lamps for the Matins. Being under the impression that it was five o’clock and being fooled by the full moon light, he stepped into the church which was suffused with wonderful chants unknown to him. The time was two o’ clock after midnight when he decided to inch a step further despite his inhibitions. Wondering who could have opened the church at such an ungodly hour, he summoned up his courage only to find himself enveloped in a Divine Liturgy conducted by Angels. Stock-still, he listened with rapt attention completely riveted by the heavenly hymns before his eye was caught by the beautiful woman with the halo standing at the Holy Gate. He wondered who the woman could be but his thoughts were suddenly punctuated by the sound of the hooves of a galloping horse. It was a young rider entering in haste and approaching the woman. ” Where have you been Saint George, you who receive the most gifts from the faithful?” she asked. The hound rider responded” Mother of God, our Lady Theotokos, a boat was sinking and had to dash to deliver the people who invoked my name”. Upon saying this, he shook his cloak that was soaking wet and splashed the face of Khahil who was watching dumbfounded. When the Divine Liturgy was over, he received the Holy bread from the hands of Holy Mary. When the Virgin Mary, St George and the angels disappeared, he continued to sit there with the Holy bread in his hands, with his clothes drenched until everyone arrived for the Matins.
“Beit Sahour” by Sofia Kioroglou
East of Bethlehem of Judea
pastors kept watch over their flock
peacefully tending their sheep
when dazzled by a light
tidings of joy
( poetic form: nonet)