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.

Tarpon Springs celebrates St. Michael’s feast day, hoping for miracles

Since the 1940s, people have reported experiencing profound moments after praying at St. Michael’s Shrine.
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.
Published Nov. 12|Updated Nov. 17

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.”

Rev. James Rousakis, with the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, distributes incense while delivering the Divine Liturgy at St. Michael's Shrine during the feast day celebration. In the Orthodox Christian practice, incense symbolizes prayers rising heavenward toward God.
Rev. James Rousakis, with the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, distributes incense while delivering the Divine Liturgy at St. Michael's Shrine during the feast day celebration. In the Orthodox Christian practice, incense symbolizes prayers rising heavenward toward God.
Women participate in prayers while attending the Divine Liturgy service at St. Michael's Shrine.
Women participate in prayers while attending the Divine Liturgy service at St. Michael's Shrine.
Dan Tagarelli, who has taken over caring for St. Michael's Shrine, left, offers blessed bread to Nicholas Conkel, center, who holds his son, Nicholas Conkel, 3, of Tampa, moments after receiving the Holy Eucharist.
Dan Tagarelli, who has taken over caring for St. Michael's Shrine, left, offers blessed bread to Nicholas Conkel, center, who holds his son, Nicholas Conkel, 3, of Tampa, moments after receiving the Holy Eucharist.
Rev. James Rousakis, with the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, delivers the Holy Eucharist to Angeliki Pantelis, 2, of Tarpon Springs.
Rev. James Rousakis, with the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, delivers the Holy Eucharist to Angeliki Pantelis, 2, of Tarpon Springs.
Rev. James Rousakis, with the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, displays the Book of Gospels, known to believers as the book of the four gospels, while delivering the Divine Liturgy.
Rev. James Rousakis, with the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, displays the Book of Gospels, known to believers as the book of the four gospels, while delivering the Divine Liturgy.
Two-month-old Yiannis Tziourtziotis, center, leans into his mother, Nicoletta Tziourtziotis, right, while attending the Divine Liturgy.
Two-month-old Yiannis Tziourtziotis, center, leans into his mother, Nicoletta Tziourtziotis, right, while attending the Divine Liturgy.
Teta Chionos, of Clearwater, venerates an icon of St. Michael.
Teta Chionos, of Clearwater, venerates an icon of St. Michael.
The icon of St. Michael from the Holy Abbey of Taxiarchis of Panormitis is displayed within St. Michael's Shrine. The icon was brought to Tarpon Springs from the island of Symi in Greece’s Dodecanese by the shrine’s founder, Mary Tsalichis, who built the shrine on Hope Street in Tarpon Springs in the early 1940s.
The icon of St. Michael from the Holy Abbey of Taxiarchis of Panormitis is displayed within St. Michael's Shrine. The icon was brought to Tarpon Springs from the island of Symi in Greece’s Dodecanese by the shrine’s founder, Mary Tsalichis, who built the shrine on Hope Street in Tarpon Springs in the early 1940s.
Rev. James Rousakis, with the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, blesses loaves of bread at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy.
Rev. James Rousakis, with the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, blesses loaves of bread at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy.
Rev. James Rousakis, with the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, distributes incense before the faithful while blessing loaves of bread.
Rev. James Rousakis, with the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, distributes incense before the faithful while blessing loaves of bread.
Artoklasia, or the blessing of the loaves, is a brief service at the end of vespers where loaves of bread are blessed as a faithful expression of gratitude and thankfulness for the blessings of life.
Artoklasia, or the blessing of the loaves, is a brief service at the end of vespers where loaves of bread are blessed as a faithful expression of gratitude and thankfulness for the blessings of life.
Michael Faklis, of Tarpon Springs, observes a reading of the Synaxis of the archangel Michael and the other "bodiless powers."
Michael Faklis, of Tarpon Springs, observes a reading of the Synaxis of the archangel Michael and the other "bodiless powers."
Rev. James Rousakis gives a loaf of blessed bread to Michael Danzig, 12, of St. Petersburg, on Danzig’s name day — the saint day Danzig was named, St. Michael, which is celebrated by the church.
Rev. James Rousakis gives a loaf of blessed bread to Michael Danzig, 12, of St. Petersburg, on Danzig’s name day — the saint day Danzig was named, St. Michael, which is celebrated by the church.
Eleni Delmadoros, of Tarpon Springs, holds her 2-year-old son, Georgios Delmadoros, center, while waiting for the Eucharist.
Eleni Delmadoros, of Tarpon Springs, holds her 2-year-old son, Georgios Delmadoros, center, while waiting for the Eucharist.
Candles burn at St. Michael's Shrine during the feast day celebration. Candles are lit before icons as a witness to one's faith and in the hope for God's help.
Candles burn at St. Michael's Shrine during the feast day celebration. Candles are lit before icons as a witness to one's faith and in the hope for God's help.
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