Saturday, June 27, 2009

I have brought these from paradise

"eat these in fulfillment of the desire of her soul" St Irene Chrysovalantou June 28th
A teenager. Wealthy. Beautiful. St Irene - denied herself, took up her cross and followed Christ. And since she became abbess of the convent of Chrysovalantou in the 9th century she has performed many miracles. A many only known to those whom she has blessed. When visiting a church dedicated to St Irene Of Chrysovalantou, it is common that apples are blessed and distributed among the faithful on her feast day. She is usually easily identifiable in icons by the holding of her three apples, the bowing of the cypress trees or by the monastery she so loved in the background. These are the most well known accounts from St Irene's life, but only an element of her works to the glory of God.
"...during the watch guard of the night, our holy mother heard a mystical voice say to her, "Receive the sailor who will bring you fruit today and eat this fruit rejoicing in your soul." During the Orthros, St. Irene called two nuns to her and said to them, "Go to the convent's gate and you will find a sailor waiting outside. Bring him into the convent. On meeting, the sailor our venerable mother exchanged greetings and asked him from where he was and how it was that he happened to come to the convent. He replied in this manner: "My lady, I am a sailor from the island of Patmos. I had embarked on a voyage with my crew to come here to Constantinople for a certain service I had to perform. When we were passing by the far end of my island we saw on the land a most pious and handsome looking old man. This old man yelled out to us to wait for him. However we were close to the land and there were many rocks there. We had a good wind behind us and we continued to speed along farther and farther away. The old man yelled again louder and at that moment the ship came to a complete stop and this old man began to come towards us while walking on the waves. At that point, he took out of his shirt three apples and gave them to me saying, "When you arrive in the capitol, give these apples to the patriarch and tell him that God sent them to him from paradise by way of His servant John." Taking out three other apples he said to me, "Give these three to the abbess of Chrysovalantou whose name is Irene. Tell her to eat these in fulfillment of the desire of her soul because now I have brought these from paradise." The old man then gave thanks to God and blessed us and immediately the ship began to move and the old man disappeared. I gave the three apples to the patriarch and now 1 am bringing you the other three." Our venerable mother hearing this began to cry from joy and gave thanks to the beloved Disciple and Apostle of Christ. Then the sailor took the apples out of a silk and gold embroidered handkerchief in which he had kept them as divine possessions and he gave them to St. Irene with much reverence. These three worldly and incorruptible apples were so large and so beautiful in their shape and so fragrant that in their physical nature alone they were an amazing sight. The only explanation for the beauty of these apples is that they were from paradise.

Whenever St. Irene would eat a piece of this apple a fragrance would exude from her mouth so strong that all the nuns of the convent could smell it. The entire convent smelled as if it had been washed with a most costly perfume and it truly smelled like paradise."

She died at her convent at the age of 103 saying the following words:

"Master, Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Good Shepherd, who saved us with Your all-holy and precious blood, into Your hands do I give over Your small flock. Protect it in the shelter of Your wings and guard it against the snares of the devil, for You are our Sanctification and our Salvation and to You do we send up thanks and glory to all ages."
The Holy Monastery of The Holy Cross (Gosford, NSW) has a chapel dedicated to St. Irene the Righteous of Chrysovalantou. To read more about St Irene - her gift of foreknowledge, her strength under the physical attacks of demons and her life in dedication to Jesus Christ, visit this site. (Excerpts above have been taken from The Monastery Of St Irene Chrysovalantou, ..........................................................................................................................................................................

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