Rev. James Rousakis, with the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, distributes incense while blessing loaves of bread at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy at Saint Michael's Shrine during the feast day celebration on Tuesday, Nov 8, 2022, in Tarpon Springs. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Since the 1940s, people have reported experiencing profound moments after praying at St. Michael’s Shrine.
TARPON SPRINGS — The believers say the miracles have been profound: a blind girl able to see, a woman unable to conceive suddenly pregnant, a deaf woman able to hear, a young boy’s cancerous tumor gone, a pair of disabled women walking.
These stories are part of what brought the faithful to Tuesday’s annual feast day of St. Michael in Tarpon Springs. The celebration is popular throughout the Greek Orthodox community.
St. Michael is one of the faith’s most celebrated angels, considered a defender and healer.
Tuesday’s feast day began at daybreak with an Orthros, when followers read the Old Testament, a resurrection gospel and psalms. The Rev. James Rousakis chanted prayers and Archie Russo of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral sang hymns.
At the liturgy’s conclusion, Rousakis offered Holy Communion and carried out the blessing of the loaves, distributing sweet bread to remind the faithful of the biblical “miracle of the loaves and fishes.”
In the Communion line, Eleni Delmadoros of Tarpon Springs lifted her 2-year-old son, Georgios Delmadoros, into Rousakis’ arms. Later, she spoke of her miracle.
“I tried to get pregnant for years,” Delmadoros said. “I did medical procedures, I tried everything.”
Then she stayed overnight at the shrine, she said, and she swallowed a blessed wick. Weeks later, she recalled, she experienced a vision while praying.
“I saw St. Michael’s wings light up, and I knew it was good news,” Delmadoros said. “At that moment, I knew I was pregnant.”