September 6 - The Miracle in Colssae of Phryrgia by the Archangel Michael

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My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.

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ON THE 6TH OF SEPTEMBER, THE HOLY CHURCH COMMEMORATES THE MIRACLE IN COLOSSAE OF PHRYGIA BY THE ARCHANGEL MICHAEL.

Archangel Michael, the Great Commander of God's bodiless Hosts, both before the Incarnation and after, showed compassion and solicitude toward the race of man (Josh. 5:13-15; Dan. 10:13, 12:1; Jude 1:9; Rev. 12:7). He bestowed many benefits on earth before the coming of Christ, and afterward, he showed even greater care and love toward the Christians.

Colossae was an ancient city of Southern Phrygia, the extensive Western part of Anatolia, overhanging the Lykos (a tributary of the Meander) and on the upper part of its course. The city was ten miles from Laodikeia and thirteen fro Hierapolis (Col. 2:1, 4:13, 15, 16; Rev. 1:11). The three cities formed a single sphere of missionary labor for Epaphras, an inhabitant of Colossae (Col. 1:7, 4:12, 13). The city originally lay on the main trade route from Ephesus to the Euphrates and the East, at the junction of the highways to Sardis and Pergamon. Colossae was catastrophically weakened in the 7th and 8th centuries with the gradual breakdown of Byzantine power in Asia Minor, leaving the Colossians exposed to Saracen raiders. The remaining population moved to Chonae (the modern Chonas), a fortress about three miles further south, with an impregnable castle upon the steep slope of Mount Cadmus (summit 8,013). Final destruction came in the 12th century with the Turkish invasion. The site is presently unoccupied.

There was a certain rich Greek pagan in the city of Laodikeia. He had an only daughter who suffered from speechlessness and was dumb from her mother's womb. The father experienced great sorrow concerning this, and would gladly have given her his soul just to behold her speak. One day, he beheld a favorable vision. In his sleep he observed a certain man telling him to go the holy waters (Agiasma) of the Archangel Michael; for he would not return embittered. Indeed, he was told that his daughter would receive healing and that he himself would gain the salvation of his soul. Now he beheld this vision not because he was found worthy (since he was benighted utterly with the impiety of idolatry), but rather because God, Who wishes to save all men and have them come to a full knowledge of the Truth, dispensed in His economy this vision, so that through the working of the miracle the Greek pagan would be converted and others, too, would be strengthened in godliness. When the Greek pagan awoke, with fear and trembling, he took along his daughter and went to the holy waters of the Archangel. Having arrived, he found many people had gathered who were afflicted with various illnesses. Straightway, only by drinking the water or pouring it over their afflicted bodies, they were delivered from whatever ailment possessed them.

The Greek father, observing all these wonders (miracles), asked certain of the people what name they were invoking while drinking or pouring the water over themselves that they should find healing. They said to him, "We utter the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one in essence, and the Chief Commander Michael, the slave of the Trinity." As he heard this, without hesitation, he believed with all his heart. Thus, entreating the God Who is praised in the Holy Trinity and His Archangel Michael, he took up that holy water with faith and gave it to his daughter to drink. Immediately--O the wonder!--not only was the girl delivered from the bond of speechlessness, but both father and daughter were loosed from the bond of disbelief. They began in uplifted voices to offer thanksgiving and praise to the True God and to magnify His servant Michael. What happened after this? The Greek nobleman and his daughter, and all those with them, were baptized and became Christians; in addition, the nobleman built a costly church. He also erected at the site of the sanctified waters a beautiful building with vaulted roof, so that he might say with the Prophet David, "O Lord, I have loved the beauty of Thy house" (Psalm 25:7). Hence, after showing much faith and gratitude for the benefaction he received from the Archangel, he returned to his own house, glorifying God not only for the wonderworking which he beheld in his daughter but more so for his own conversion.

After the passage of ninety years, a certain child of Hierapolis, the offshoot of good Orthodox parentage, at ten years old, left for the church of the Archangel, so as to be directed by divine providence from above. His name was Archippos, after the Apostle (Col. 4:17; Phile. 1:2). He became to church's sexton. Possessed of much self-mastery and other virtues, he was vouchsafed divine gifts.

Archippos, now ecclesiarch, with such a mode of life, never-ceased to have before his eyes the working out of his salvation, having a heart that is broken and humbled (Psalm 550:17). He ever strove that God might create in him a clean heart and that the meditation of his heart might be pleasing before the Lord, for the Lord is nigh unto them that are of a contrite heart. He entreated God, "May my eyes never behold the dainties of this world, nor may mind be confounded with temporal vanities. Only do Thou, O Lord, most compassionate, fill my eyes with spiritual tears; make humble my heart and make straight my steps in Thy law. For what gain have I from this clay body which, on the one hand, today is, but, on the other hand, tomorrow perishes, even as the grass withers with the coming evening? O Lord Almighty, grant me to be striving for the everlasting good and the salvation of the soul."

Such was the daily thoughts and meditations of Archippos, and God hearkened readily to his entreaty. Living at that time in the neighborhood of these holy waters was a multitude of unbelievers who daily witnessed the wonderworking (miracles). Envy and malice mounted in them on account of the miracles and the virtuous manner of life of righteous Archippos. Maddened by the holy man's asceticism and struggles, they were speaking evilly of him. Then, one day, those pagans, of one accord, gathered and, in a maniacal rage, charged against the righteous man. They intended to put him to death and utterly destroy the holy waters. While some were dragging Archippos by force, by the hairs of his head and beard, and beating him with rods and pieces of wood, others were attempting to cover up and choke the course of the holy waters. But, O Thine indescribable judgments, O Christ! A flame emitted there from and frightened all of them so that they left running; thus, they departed unsuccessful. (Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Greek Orthodox Church)

(To be continued)

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"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostomos

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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George