Archive for the ‘Miracle’ Category

Welcome to a fresh installment of “T’is a miracle! Greek-Orthodox style”: Bogus miracles and exposès from our Greek-Orthodox side of the fence. This time we have an interesting debunking of sorts of the orthodox (and catholic) tradition of saintly remains veneration via a personal anecdote told by the Archbishop of Cyrpus, Chrysostom II, of all people!

A shout-out to the friends over at the “Cyprus Atheists” facebook group for alerting me to this interesting anecdote. (Για την ιστορία στα Ελληνικά, διαβάστε το άρθρο της εφημερίδας παρακάτω).

Holy Chicken! or
Why the Archbishop of Cyprus doesn’t believe in relics

The newspaper clipping on the left comes from the greek cypriot newspaper “Politis” and according to my sources it was published some 5 years ago (it was certainly written after Chrysostom ascended to the archbishopric throne of Cyprus in 2006, as is apparent from the text). The author, Gabriel Michael from Nicosia, claims to have been a first-hand witness to the current Archbishop narrating the story. The story goes something like this:

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UPDATE: The whole thing really blew up as the person behind the “Elder Pasitsios” nickname was arrested… on blasphemy charges! For more details, read this article.

Welcome to another installment of “T’is a miracle! Greek-Orthodox style”: Bogus and exposed miracles from our Greek-Orthodox side of the fence. Οι Έλληνες αναγνώστες μπορείτε να ενημερωθείτε απ’ευθείας για αυτό το φρέσκο μιράκολο από αυτή τη σελίδα στο Φατσοβιβλίο, όπου μπορείτε και να αφήνετε σχόλια. Το άρθρο απευθύνεται στους αγγλόφωνους αναγνώστες και τα σχόλια στα Ελληνικά θα διαγράφονται.

The troll-o-miracle of Elder Pastitsios

Unlike the previous installment, this article is quite different. Last time we had a miracle exposed as fraud. This time we have the case of a miracle that never happened (and it’s pretty fresh news as well).

The perpetrator is “Elder Pastitsios”, a parody facebook persona meant to poke fun at the hundreds (if not hundred thousands) of people that have elevated a now deceased monk (Elder Paisios) from the Mouth Athos monastic community to near sainthood and prophet-hood [think “Mother Teresa” only even more (in)famous]. The names obviously rhyme, but the first one is based on a classic greek pasta dish (and is a reference to the Flying Spaghetti Monster). Right wing and conservative publications often write about the monk’s alleged miracles and prophecies, much to the delight of their readership (and the economic crisis has only made things worse; with his “prophecies” a daily occurrence).

So this guy had the idea to create a fake account of a miracle by mixing up 5-6 other supposed miracles by the same monk and pass it along to a christian magazine and see if they would ever bother to double check its source and claims (needless to say I wouldn’t be writing this article if they had) and how fast the story would spread. That was a week ago.

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This article is an extra resource for the article “The “Holy Light” of Jerusalem debunked”. The commenter “Jamds Haidos” admonished Costas, the author of the article, that the translation of the patriarchal prayer (that is offered in the Sepulchre when the Light is supposedly received) is slanted and misleading and that he should have presented the entire text of the prayer. For that reason I did a little research and here I present the prayer in its entirety (and not just the juicy parts) as it appears on the website of the Jerusalem Patriarchate in Greek and translated by them in English (And a legal loose end: The Patriarchate page states that both texts are free to be used for non-commercial purposes as long as the source is mentioned, i.e. jerusalem-patriarchate.info. I think this sentence settles that.)

Anyone with a decent knowledge of ancient Greek can decide for themselves which one is the inaccurate translation (not to jump the gun, but it’s not mine).

I would also ask of Jamds Haidos to point out any parts of the text that parallel James’ writings, so I can add the references (I’ve already spotted two similarities to other New Testament passages, as you can see).

A final note: I would’ve made different stylistic choices for my own translation, but kept it in tune with the translation of the Patriarchate, so you can make comparisons more easily. Plain green text indicates translation errors, bold green text indicates parts missing from the Patriarchate’s translation and red bold text indicates parts of the translation that don’t exist in the original.

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It’s been a long time since I’ve posted an article in English and one of Mr. Frangopoulos’ latest articles gave me a good idea for a series; bogus and exposed miracles from our Greek-Orthodox side of the fence. And here’s the first installment:

St. Fanourios bleeds sour cherry juice

The issue of crying icons in the Greek-Orthodox Church is an old one, but it’s a rare occasion when scientists are allowed access to the “miraculous” occurrence. This was the case of St. George’s Church in the city of Argyroupolis in Attica, Greece (in the Athens Metropolitan Area).

In 2001 the icon of St. Fanourios in that church started bleeding. As usual in these cases, the church was flooded with faithful, ecstatic about the opportunity to see a miracle first-hand… and of course to leave some sort of offering, typically in the form of cash.

In the words of the greek newspaper “Eleftherotypia” (June 18th, 2001):

And now people are trying to find out if a miracle actually took place at St. George’s in Argyroupolis. A week ago the icon of St. Fanourios was “bleeding”. The faithful flooded the church in order to pay their respects to the icon and in the mean time filled the churche’s coffers. Finally, after a chemical analysis of the “blood” on the icon, it became evident that it was sour cherry juice. Yesterday it was announced by the Athens Archdiocese that Archbishop Christodoulos has ordered an official inquiry to verify the information that “several parishioners claimed that this appearance was a miracle”.

As written in the orthodox newspaper “Orthodox Press” on July 13th, 2001, the inquiry “ascertained” that the phenomena “resulted from a congruence of natural occurrences inside the church; high temperature, humidity and other known and unknown natural factors”. Of course the question remains how the… condensed humidity turned into sour cherry juice. And of course the faithful were never refunded (who would’ve imagined!) Later on, the church’s vicar was reprimanded because he allowed scientists to examine the saint’s blood, allowing them to recognize it as sour cherry juice.

This miracle was exposed rather quickly; others were not and the faithful were fleeced for considerably longer. But more on that in another article.

Since you’ve ended up here, you might also like to take a look at the crème de la crème of orthodox miracles: “The ‘holy light’ of Jerusalem”. And with Easter approaching, what better way to start the Lent!

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The following article (entitled “The “Holy Light” of Jerusalem debunked'”) was originally written in Greek by Kostas and posted on his What is truth? (Τι εστίν αλήθεια;) blog. I translated the article in English with Kostas helping me with the adaptation and proof-reading. As was the case with the previous article, this article as well was prepared for the English version of the “Atheia” Collective Blog and Kostas was supposed to host the comments, but since he’s currently taking a break from blogging, I’ll be accomodating him by hosting the article for him. Feel free to leave your comments here.

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