Remembrance of the Miracle from an Icon of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Beirut:
Commemorated on October 11
Remembrance of the
Miracle from an Icon of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Beirut: At the fourth
session of the Seventh OEcumenical Council (year 787) Sainted Peter, Bishop of
Nicomedia, in evidence of the necessity of icon-veneration, presented an
account of Saint Athanasias and about a miracle, which occurred in the city of
Berit (now Beirut).
In this city lived a Christian near the Jewish synagogue. Having moved off to another place, he left behind at the house an icon of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Jew, who moved into the house, paid no attention to the icon. One time his friend took note of the image of Jesus Christ on the wall, and said to the home-owner: "Why dost thou, a Jew, have in thy house an icon?" He then went to the synagogue and reported about this transgression of Jewish law. The Jews cast out from the synagogue the owner of the house, and they took the icon from the wall and began to scoff over it: "As once our fathers mocked at Him, so we also mock at Him". They spit at the face of the Lord, lashed at the icon, hurling abuses, they thrust thorns about the head, and put a sponge with vinegar to the mouth. Finally, they took a spear, and one of the Jews thrust with it into the side of the Saviour. Suddenly from the opening, pierced by the spear in the icon, flowed blood and water. The Jewish rabbis, seeing the miracle, decided: "The followers of Jesus Christ affirm, that He could heal the sick. We shall take this blood and water into the synagogue and we shall anoint those afflicted with infirmities, and then we shall see, whether this be spoken truly of Him".
A vessel with the blood was put in the synagogue. Having learned about the miracle, the inhabitants of Beirut began to bring and to lead into the synagogue those suffering from various illnesses, and they all were healed, having been anointed with the blood from the icon of the Saviour. All the high-priests, priests and Jewish people believed in Christ and exclaimed: "Glory to Thee, O Christ, Whom our fathers crucified, Whom we also crucified in the guise of Thine icon. Glory to Thee, O Son of God, for having worked such a miracle! We believe in Thee, wherefore be Thou merciful to us and receive us!" The Jews went to the bishop of Berit and, having shown him the wonderworking icon, the blood and water having flowed from it, they told about their misdeed. The bishop, seeing their sincere repentance, accepted them, chatechised them for many days and then baptised them, and then consecrated the synagogue into the church of our Saviour Jesus Christ. At the request of the Jews, he consecrated also other synagogues into churches, dedicated to the holy martyrs. And "there became great joy in that city, not only that many people were healed and quickened, but that many souls passed from the kingdom of the dead unto life eternal".
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.