• on July 28, 2019

Feast Day of Saint Irene Chrysovalandou

Today we celebrated the feast day of Saint Irene Chrysovalandou. It concluded with a special service of the Blessing of the Loaves, and a blessing of the apples. We also had a special memorial service for those killed by the Turks during the 1974 invasion of Cyprus.

To say a few words of Saint Irene whom we celebrated…
Chrysovalandou was the name of the monastery that she, in time, became abbess of. She cast off the cares of the world and committed herself to the ascetic practices, knowing that in as much as the body is weakened, the inner man is renewed and draws nearer to God. She also forbade the sisters to pray for their health, since she would say that nothing is more useful to the soul than illness accepted with gratitude. Bestowed with many gifts and sustained by divine grace she progressed in ascesis and pure prayer.

Much more can be said of this blessed Saint, and is worth reading but for now, we shall say one last thing.
In the icon of her, she is depicted with three apples, and additionally in other icons, beside two trees with their tops inclined to the ground.
The apples are from on one occasion when a sailor from Patmos had been charged by Saint John the Apostle to deliver these three delicious apples to her. The first fed her for forty days, the second she kept and gave to the community on Great and Holy Thursday, and the third she kept as a guarantee of the incorruptible blessings of Paradise.
As for the story behind the trees, one of the nuns saw her once in the courtyard, deep in prayer, miraculously elevated off the ground, and two cypress trees inclining their tops to the ground. Only after the saint marked them with the sign of the cross did they return to normal form.

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