Family Miracles

by Christina Holland

Hearing of recent and modern day miracles has always been very encouraging to me; it brings home the fact that God really is present in the world, even in today's immoral society. In the past several decades, there have been some miracles in my own family. Here is one having to do with St. Nicholas.

St Nicholas on ship with three sailors
Icon: St. Nicholas Saves Ship
St. Nicholas Center Collection

My great-great-grandfather, John Grazes, lived in Patmos, Greece, near the Aegean Sea. He was the captain of his own boat, a kaeke, and he ferried merchandise between Patmos and the other islands in Dodecanese. Being a man of the sea, he honored St. Nicholas the Wonderworker.

Once, my great-great-grandfather was returning to Patmos when a fierce storm arose. He could see it swiftly blowing toward him, so he quickly drew in his nets and turned toward land, though he was a far way out and it would be impossible to reach land in time.

The storm grew wilder, and the boat was tossed back and forth by the waves. All the while, he prayed to St. Nicholas, who was not only his own family's patron, but also the protector of seafarers.

The men with him were terrified, and were prepared to die. As my great-grandfather continued to manage the boat the best he could while still praying, he noticed something shining floating towards the boat.

When it reached the boat, he bent over, and saw that it was the icon of St. Nicholas he had in his home. He picked the icon up and placed it in his boat, and immediately the waters directly surrounding him were stilled, while the storm still raged outside that small circle.

They went all the rest of the way into shore without a bit of trouble and with not so much as a single drop of rain touching them. All around, there was a terrible storm raging, but around his boat, with St. Nicholas' icon in it, the seas were completely calm.

He came all the rest of the way into land in this "calm haven," under the protection of the saint of God, Nicholas. He then picked up his icon and returned home, completely unharmed by the terrible storm.

Some time years later, the family noticed that the icon of St. Nicholas was missing from the family altar. They searched high and low, to no avail.

One day, a friend of his, was on the other side of the island. He was walking along, and he stopped to rest. As he was resting in the shadow of a tree, something caught his attention a few yards away. He got up and went near it to investigate, and found an icon of St. Nicholas. He recognized it as that of my great grandfather. He returned it to my great grandfather's home.

A few days later, the family noticed that the icon was missing. Being wise, my grandfather went to the place where his friend had found the icon, and it was there. He returned home with the icon, and he and his family prayed.

He announced that it was St. Nicholas' desire to build a church at that place, and that he would honor the Saint's wishes. The icon remained at the family altar, until the chapel of St. Nicholas was build. The morning that it was to be consecrated, the icon was missing once again. It was however, found in its rightful place of honor at the St. Nicholas Chapel.

Glory to God in His Saints!

"Family Miracles" by Christina Holland, from Children of the Church: A Traditional Orthodox Youth's Newsletter, Volume II, Issue I, Winter - 1999.

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