The Sixth Day
of the Month of September
The Commemoration of the Most Glorious Miracle of the
Holy Chief Commander Michael the Archangel,
Which Took Place at Chonae
From The Great Collection of the Lives of the Saints, Volume 1: September,
compiled by St. Demetrius of Rostov
In Colossae of Phrygia, near Hierapolis, there was a church dedicated to the holy Chief Commander Michael the Archangel. This church was built over a spring of miracle-working water, and the infirm who entered it received healing with greater frequency than those who formerly drank from the pool of Bethesda. An angel went down to the pool of Bethesda once a year and troubled the water; however, at this church the grace of the chief of the angelic hosts worked healings at all times. At the pool of Bethesda, the first person to step into the pool after the troubling of the water was cured, but at the Church of Saint Michael, all who drew near with faith, the first and the last alike, received healing. At Bethesda it was necessary for the infirm to remain waiting on the porches because of the infrequency with which healing was granted, so much so that one man who was ill remained at the pool waiting to be healed for thirty-eight years, yet at this church’s spring all the ailing were made whole in a single day or at times even in a single hour.
The following is related concerning the origin of this spring. When the entire world was benighted by the darkness of godless polytheism and the people worshipped created things rather than the Creator, the ungodly pagans in the entire country surrounding Hierapolis, blinded by demonic deceit, worshipped a great and fearsome viper. These impious people kept the serpent caged in a temple that had been erected in its honor and would offer it all manner of sacrifices, thus feeding this most venomous viper, which did harm to many. However, the true God, desirpus to enlighten the world with the light of divine knowledge and to guide the people who had gone astray from the way of truth, sent His holy disciples and apostles throughout all the earth to preach the Gospel to every creature. Saint John the Theologian was sent to Ephesus, and Saint Philip was sent to Hierapolis, where they labored in the preaching of the Gospel of Christ.
There was at that time a temple in Ephesus dedicated to the extremely wondrous and beautiful idol of the renowned pagan goddess Artemis. The divine Theologian engaged in spiritual combat with her servants and worshippers, smiting them with the sword of the Word of God and emerging as victor. When the temple collapsed and the idol was shattered into dust by the power of Christ, the entire city was led to the holy faith which is in Christ. After destroying the temple of Artemis, Saint John came to Hierapolis from Ephesus to assist his fellow-laborer, the holy Apostle Philip. The holy Apostle Bartholomew was also present there, as was Philip’s sister Mariamne. They began, together with Saint John, to labor for the salvation of the people.
The saints armed themselves first against the viper, to which the mindless people offered sacrifices as though it were a god, and they destroyed it with prayer. They then spoke to the people of the one true God, Who made heaven and earth. Standing at a place called Cheretopus, they prophesied that the grace of God would shine forth there and that the holy Chief Commander Michael, the leader of the heavenly powers, would visit that place, working miracles there. This soon came to pass. After Saint Phillip had suffered at the hands of the impious and Bartholomew and Mariamne had departed to other lands, a spring of miracle-working water sprang forth in the place indicated by the holy apostles in their prophecy, even as it is written in the Scriptures: In the wilderness shall waters break out and a torrent in a thirsting land, and the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitations where serpents lay shall grow grass with rushes; and there shall be there a pure way, and it shall be called the way of holiness. Many began to come to this spring, not only the faithful but unbelievers as well, and many wonders took place there, summoning all to it like a trumpet. All who drank from this spring and washed in it were healed of their infirmities, and having received healing, they were baptized into the Holy Trinity in great numbers.
There was a certain man from Laodicea who had an only daughter who was dumb from birth. As a result, her father was exceedingly grieved and greatly desired that her tongue be loosed. He suffered all the more because every cure used on the girl failed. One night, as he slept on his bed, he saw a vision in which an angel of God stood before him, radiant as the sun. Although as a pagan he was unworthy of beholding the angel, he was granted this vision in order that he might come to the knowledge of the truth and bring others to God as well. He was terrified by the sight of the angel, whom he heard say to him, "If you desire that your daughter’s tongue be loosed, take her to my spring at Cheretopus near Hierapolis and give her to drink of the water that wells up there. You shall then behold the glory of God."
Arising from sleep, the man marvelled at what he had seen, and believing the words that had been spoken to him, he immediately took his daughter and went quickly to the wonder-working water. When he arrived, he found a large crowd of people drinking the water, bathing in it, and receiving healing of their sicknesses. He asked them, "Whose name do you call upon as you wash in this water?"
The people replied, "We call upon the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and we ask the aid of the holy Chief Commander Michael."
The man then lifted up his eyes, raised his hands, and said, "0 Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, God of the Christians, have mercy on me! 0 Saint Michael, servant of the Lord, help and heal my daughter!" Then with faith he drew some water and poured it into his daughter’s mouth. Immediately her tongue, until then bound by dumbness, was loosed to the glorification of God, and she exclaimed clearly, "0 God of the Christians, have mercy on me! Saint Michael, help me!"
Those who were present marvelled at the power of God and glorified the Holy Trinity, magnifying the help given by the holy Chief Commander Michael. The pagan greatly rejoiced, seeing that his daughter had been healed, and he did not delay being baptized, together with his daughter and those of his household who had accompanied him. The man built a beautiful church over the spring dedicated to the holy Chief Commander Michael, the leader of the heavenly hosts, embellishing it with every adornment as an indication of his gratitude. He then returned to his home after having prayed in the church for a considerable time.
Ninety years after the erection of the church, a ten-year old child, who had been born to Christian parents and reared in piety, came from Hierapolis and took up residence in the Church of the Holy Chief Commander Michael, fulfilling the duties of precentor. The manner of life that he established for himself was as follows. From the time that he began to live in the church and labor for God, he did not eat the food and drink that the laity are accustomed to eat. He ate neither bread nor meat nor drank wine, but instead partook only of wild herbs which he would gather and boil without salt once a week. His drink was likewise modest in measure. Thus did he mortify his flesh through abstinence. He led his life virtuously from his youth and lived in righteousness even to his old age, entirely united with God, living like a bodiless angel while still in the body. His clothing was of little value and consisted of but two strips of sackcloth, only one of which he wore on his body at any time. The other he used to cover his bed so that the sharp stones strewn on it would not be seen by those who entered his cell. As a pillow he used a piece of sackcloth filled with thorns. Such was the bed of this blessed ascetic and such was his repose! When greatly wearied from labor and compelled by nature to sleep, he would lay down upon these stones and sharp thorns and endure a sleep that was more a vigil than rest, more torment than refreshment. For how could one’s body be refreshed by laying on rough stones? And what sort of sleep could one’s head enjoy while resting upon sharp thorns? He changed his clothes once every year, covering his bed with the sackcloth he had worn on his body and clothing himself with the sackcloth that was on his bed. He gave no rest to his body day and night, thereby mortifying it and preserving his soul from the snares of the enemy. As he travelled along the narrow way of sorrow, he prayed to God, saying, "Do not allow me, 0 Lord, to rejoice in the vain joys of the world, neither cause the good things of this world to pass before mine eyes, nor permit me to be gladdened by anything transitory in this life. Rather, 0 Lord, fill mine eyes with spiritual tears and humble my heart. Direct my paths and grant me utterly to mortify myself and to subjugate my flesh to the spirit. For what profit to me is this flesh, formed of clay, which now is but will soon cease to exist, which blossometh like a flower in the morning and withereth in the evening? Wherefore, grant me, 0 Lord, to strive for that which profiteth the soul and furthereth eternal salvation."
Thus spoke the blessed Archippus as he conversed with God. He lived a heavenly life on earth like an angel of God. Taking care not only for his own salvation but also for that of many others as well, he converted to Christ numerous unbelievers who then received Baptism. Moved to envy, the godless Greeks could not bear to see the most glorious miracles worked by the holy water. They frequently fell upon Archippus out of hate, tearing out his hair and beard, casting him to the ground with vituperation, and trampling him underfoot. Having tormented him in various ways, they then drove him away from the church. However, the blessed Archippus, whose soul was as unyielding as adamant, bravely bore all this abuse from the idolaters and did not abandon the holy church. Instead, he continued to serve God in righteousness with a guileless heart, laboring over the salvation of men’s souls.
Once, the impious pagans gathered together and took counsel, saying, "If we do not cover over that spring with earth and murder him who is clad in sackcloth, all of our gods shall be altogether brought low because of the healings which occur there." They then went together in a great multitude to cover the wonder-working spring with earth and to slay that innocent man, the blessed Archippus. When they arrived at the holy place, they divided into two groups. One group turned toward the church and the spring while the other proceeded toward the dwelling of the servant of God in order to kill him. However, the Lord, Who will not permit the rod of sinners to be upon the lot of the righteous, preserved His servant from those murderers by causing the pagans’ hands to become lifeless so that they could not raise them against the venerable one. A strange marvel also occurred by the water of the spring when the impious ones approached it. A fiery flame came out from the water and turned upon them, driving them far away. Thus the iniquitous were dispersed in shame and driven away from the miracle-working spring and from the venerable Archippus, having accomplished nothing. Nevertheless, gnashing their teeth all the while, they continued to boast that they would destroy the spring and the church, along with the church’s servitor.
There was a river named Chrisos that ran to the left of the church. The pagans wished to divert the river to the holy place, hoping that the water from the spring would lose its power to work miracles if it were mixed with the water from the river. When they began to translate their evil intention into deed, directing the river’s course towards the spring in order to submerge it, the river immediately swerved off in another direction, flowing to the right of the church by the command of God. Once again, the pagans returned to their homes utterly shamed.
Likewise, there were two other rivers flowing from the east, one the Lycocaperus River, and the other, the Kufos. Their courses came within a third of a mile of the holy place. These rivers join together, swerve off to the right, and flow into the land of Lycia after having run alongside a great mountain. The wicked devil placed in the hearts of those evil men the notion of diverting both these rivers to the place where the aforementioned wonders occurred in order to destroy the Church of the Holy Chief Commander Michael, to cover up the holy spring with water, and to drown the venerable Archippus. The waters of these rivers could easily be deflected for this purpose because the church was located in a depression. This being so, the impious pagans resolved to undertake their evil plan. Coming in crowds from all the cities of that country, they gathered together in Laodicea and then went on to the church.
Near the church’s altar was a rock, measureless in breadth and height, which extended to an endless depth into the ground. The pagans expended a great deal of energy digging a deep, wide trench that extended from this rock to the mountain where the rivers unite. When they had prepared the channel through which the waters were to be released upon the church, they dammed the rivers so that the waters would build up. They labored at this project for ten days, although in vain. Beholding their undertaking, the venerable Archippus fell upon the floor of the church and prayed to God with tears. Calling as well upon the aid of the fervent intercessor, the holy Chief Commander Michael, Archippus begged Saint Michael to preserve the place dedicated to his name from the flood waters so that the adversaries of the Lord might not rejoice. Archippus said, "I will not flee from this holy place, neither will I leave the church; rather, I shall die here if the Lord allows this place to be flooded!"
When ten days had passed and the waters had risen exceedingly, the impious pagans dug out the spot through which it was necessary for the waters to flow in order to enter the passage that had been prepared. The rivers were then released upon the holy temple of the angel at the first hour of the night. The course of the waters descended from high above on the left side, and it appeared that the holy place would be flooded. The waters roared like thunder, coming down with great force. The venerable Archippus, who had remained in church in prayer, cried out fervently to God and to the holy Chief Commander Michael upon hearing the thundering of the waters. He begged mercy of God and His archangel, beseeching that the holy place not be inundated and that the adversaries not have cause for rejoicing. He entreated God to put the impious to shame, that the name of the Lord be glorified and that the archangel’s power and intercession be magnified. Archippus then chanted a psalm of David, saying, The rivers have lifted up, 0 Lord, the rivers have lifted up their voices. The rivers will lift up their waves, at the voices of many waters. Wonderful are the surgings of the sea, wonderful on high is the Lord. Holiness becometh Thy house, 0 Lord, unto length of days.
When the blessed Archippus had said this, he heard a voice commanding him to go out of the church. As he went outside, the saint beheld the guardian of the race of Christians and its fervent intercessor, the holy Chief Commander Michael, exceedingly glorious and most radiant, in human form as he had once appeared to the prophet Daniel. Archippus fell to the ground, unable to gaze upon him. However, the archangel said to him, "Take courage and do not fear. Arise and draw close to me, and you will behold the glory of God made manifest in these waters." The blessed Archippus arose and approached the commander of the heavenly powers with fear; he stood on Saint Michael’s left side as he had been commanded and beheld a pillar of fire reaching from earth to heaven.
When the waters had drawn close, the archangel raised his right hand and signed them with the Cross, saying, "Halt here!" The waters immediately turned back in accordance with the words of the prophet: The waters saw Thee and were afraid. The waters of the rivers stood in place like a stone and were lifted up on high like a lofty mountain. The Chief Commander then turned toward the great rock that was near the altar and struck it with the staff he held in his hand, inscribing the sign of the Cross on it. Immediately, great thunder was heard and the earth was shaken; the rock was rent in two, and a great chasm was formed in the rock. Saint Michael then said, "May every adverse power be cast out from here! May deliverance from every ill be granted to all who draw near with faith."
Having said this, Saint Michael commanded the blessed Archippus to move over to his right side, and then he said to the waters with a mighty voice, "Enter into this crevice!" The water at once flowed noisily into the cleft of the rock, and the rivers streamed along this course into the rock from that day forth. Archippus’ enemies, who stood to the left side, hoping to see the church inundated, became frozen with terror. Then, the holy Chief Commander Michael, who had preserved his temple and the venerable Archippus from harm, ascended into heaven. As for the blessed Archippus, he sent up thanksgiving to God for this most glorious miracle and magnified the intercession of his great guardian. All the adversaries were filled with shame, and there was great rejoicing among the faithful who flocked to the archangel Michael’s temple and the miraculous spring. Together with the venerable Archippus, they gave glory to God. It was decreed at the same time that a feast be celebrated on the day that the archangel had appeared and worked this glorious wonder. The godly Archippus continued living at that place, laboring for God even more fervently for many years and peacefully reposing in the Lord at the age of seventy. He was buried by the faithful in this same holy place, which was named Chonae, which means submersion, because of the marvel that took place there, for there the waters flowed down into the rock.
It is fitting that we should celebrate other miracles performed by the holy Chief Commander Michael on this day as well, through which he has shown himself to be a benefactor of the Christian race.
The city of Sipontus lies between the Adriatic Sea and the mountain named Garganus; it is located twelve thousand paces from the mountain. Living in this city was a wealthy man whose herds were tended on the slopes of the mountain. Once, a bull from one of his herds was lost. After a lengthy search the lord and his servants found the bull standing before the entrance of a cave on the summit of the mountain. Enraged by the labor that he had expended in the search, the rich man took a bow and a poisoned arrow and shot at his bull, hoping to kill him. However, the arrow suddenly reversed its course and wounded the shooter. Those who had accompanied him were frightened at seeing this occurrence and did not dare to approach the cave; rather, they returned to the city and informed the people of what had happened.
When the Bishop of the city heard the story, he entreated God to reveal to him the meaning of this mystery. The holy Chief Commander Michael appeared to the Bishop in a vision, telling the Bishop that he had chosen that place for himself. He explained that he guarded it, desired to visit the place frequently, and gave succor to those who prayerfully resorted there.
The Bishop announced his vision to the people, and after a three-day fast which had been ordained for all the inhabitants of the city, he went with his clergy and all the people to the mountain. Ascending it, they found in some rocks a cave with a narrow entrance. Not daring to enter, they instead offered up supplication before the entrance. Since that time the people have frequented that place, praying to God and the holy Chief Commander Michael.
Once, the unbelieving Neapolitans gathered together and fell upon the city of Sipontus without warning, hoping to take and destroy it. They struck great fear into the hearts of the citizens of Sipontus. The Bishop of the latter city ordered that the people fast for three days, eating nothing, and that they pray fervently to be delivered from the foes who were besieging them. Saint Michael appeared to the Bishop in a vision the day before the enemy planned to assault the city with all their forces, saying, "Tomorrow morning at the fourth hour of the day, instruct the citizens of your city to take up arms and sally against the enemy, and I shall come to your aid."
The Bishop awoke from sleep and revealed his vision to the people, who rejoiced exceedingly over the promised victory over their foes and were strengthened by this good hope. When the fourth hour of the day arrived, they heard great thunder. Lifting up their eyes, they beheld a great cloud descending upon Mount Garganus. There fire, smoke, and lightning appeared as once on Sinai. The thunder was so loud that it caused the entire mountain, which was covered by the cloud, to shake. The enemy, being extremely frightened at what they saw, began to flee. The citizens thus perceived that their good guardian and swift intercessor had come with his heavenly hosts to their aid, and they opened the city gates and pursued their enemies, cutting them down like grass. The holy Chief Commander Michael struck them from above with thunder and lightning as the people put them to the sword from behind. Six hundred men were killed by thunder and lightning. Having pursued them all the way to Naples, with the help of the heavenly powers they utterly defeated their foes, returning in triumph to their own city. The Neapolitans acknowledged the power of the mighty hand of the all-powerful God from that time forward and received the holy faith. As for the citizens of Sipontus, they gathered together with the Bishop and clergy and went to the mountain upon which the dread manifestation took place, wishing to render thanksgiving there to God and to their helper, the Chief Commander Michael, and to all the heavenly powers. When they had come close to the entrance of the cave, they found footprints in the marble, seemingly human, and clearly outlined as though in miry ground. They said to one another, "Lo, the holy Chief Commander Michael left here an indication of his visitation, for he was present here himself and delivered us from our enemies." Bowing down, they kissed those footprints and sang a service of thanksgiving to God, rejoicing in their guardian and intercessor. They resolved to erect there a church dedicated to the holy Chief Commander Michael. However, when they were ready to build the church, Saint Michael appeared to the Bishop once again and said, "It is not necessary for you to trouble yourselves with building a church; I will prepare a temple there for myself without your assistance. Only go there tomorrow, serve the Holy Liturgy inside, and administer the divine Mysteries to the people."
After seeing this vision, the Bishop instructed all the people to prepare themselves to receive the Communion of the Holy Mysteries, and he went with them, singing a hymn of supplication. When they arrived at the holy place where the sacred footprints were outlined in the marble, they found a small church hollowed out of the rock. It was not made in the usual manner by the hands of men; rather, it was fashioned in the form of a cave with uneven walls. The height of the ceiling varied; in one place one’s head might touch the ceiling, and in another place the ceiling could not be touched with the hand. Clearly this church was arranged in such a fashion for the instruction of men, for God desires pure hearts, not elaborate stonework. The holy table was covered with a scarlet cloth, and on it the Bishop served the Holy Liturgy, distributing the most pure Mysteries to the people. There was in the altar on the north side a trickle of pure water that was sweet, exceeding clear, and miraculous, and those who drank this water received health. The people also drank of this water after communing of the Holy Mysteries. Countless miracles were worked in that church, and every infirmity was healed through the prayers of the holy Chief Commander Michael. The Bishop erected cells alongside the church, arranging for the priests, deacons, cantors, and readers to fulfill the daily order of church services to the glory of God and in honor of the holy Chief Commander Michael.
We will also mention the following miracle which took place on Mount Athos. In the days of the pious Bulgarian tsars, there lived a man named Dochiarus, who was wealthy and glorious and who served in the Tsar’s palace. It happened that the fear of God came upon this man, and he wished to become a monk. He went to the Holy Mountain, taking a great amount of gold with him, in order to visit the monasteries and to find a place that was suitable to spend his remaining days. Having made a circuit of the monasteries and having distributed much alms, he went from the Lavra of the blessed Athanasius to the seashore facing Salonica and found a very beautiful uninhabited spot where there was fresh water and an abundance of greenery. He loved the place and wished to settle and found a monastery there. He hurried to carry out his plan and soon brought it to pass. He first built a beautiful church dedicated to the holy hierarch Nicholas and then surrounded the monastery with stone walls. Having put all things in order, he was clothed in the monastic habit. However, since he had expended all his wealth on the construction of the monastery, he lacked sufficient gold to adorn the church with due splendor. Nevertheless, he set his hope in God and said, "if God desires to glorify this place, it is possible for Him to do so, for He knows how to provide for the adornment of the church. May it be according to His will!"
There is an island that lies opposite the Holy Mountain called Lemnos, which is a day’s sail away. Shepherds live there with their flocks, for the place is covered with grass and provides good pasture for beasts. There was a stone column on this island that was exceedingly high, standing in a lonely place. On top of this pillar there stood an idol that bore the inscription, "He who smites me from above shall find much gold." Many people tried to discover whether this saying were true and struck the idol on the head, but they found nothing.
At that time there was a certain youth who pastured his herd near this column. He was clever and was able to read books. Having read the words inscribed on the column, he struck the idol on the head, like the others, hoping to find gold, but he found nothing. He then considered that perhaps the treasure was hidden in the earth, and so when the sun was setting, he watched where the shadow of the pillar fell. He dug into the earth where the shadow of the top of the idol’s head fell, but again he found nothing. Likewise, when the sun rose, he again observed where the pillar’s shadow fell and began to dig in the spot. He heard a sound at the spot as he was digging and understood that the treasure was located there. He began to dig more eagerly and found a great millstone that he was unable to displace. Reaching with his hand through the opening in the stone, he found a large amount of gold. Being in doubt as to what he should do, he said to himself, "Should I tell someone that I have found this treasure? I fear lest I be murdered for the sake of this gold!"
God, Who had heard the prayers of the previously mentioned elder and had taken thought for the adornment of the church, put into the mind of the youth the idea of going to one of the monasteries of the Holy Mountain and telling the abbot of the treasure-trove. In doing so, he took some of the gold along to confirm his find. Coming to a village that lay by the sea, the boy hired a man to convey him to the Holy Mountain.
They landed by God’s providence at the dock of the previously mentioned monastery that had recently been built, being named after its founder, Dochiarus. The man who had transported the youth returned to his village, and the youth entered the monastery. Upon meeting the abbot, the boy told him in detail everything concerning the treasure-trove. The abbot, perceiving that this matter had been revealed to him by God, called three monks into his presence and told them what the youth had revealed to him. He dispatched them together with the youth to bring to the monastery the gold which had been discovered. They departed quickly, taking a ship and sailing to the island, and they went to the pillar where the treasure was to be found. They found a kettle full of gold after heaving away the millstone, and they rejoiced greatly.
But the enemy, who hates good, sowed evil thoughts in the heart of one of the monks. The monk said to one of the other monks, "Brother, why should we take the gold that we found to the abbot? God has sent it to us so that we might establish a dwelling place for ourselves and erect a monastery."
The other monk asked, "How can we conceal the gold?"
The first monk replied, "We should cast the youth into the sea, for no one will be present to witness the deed."
Having resolved to commit this crime, they told the third monk of their intention. He, however, possessing the fear of God, said to them, "No, brothers. Do not dare to do this! Do not drown the youth together with your own souls for the gold’s sake!"
They did not listen to him; instead, they urged him insistently to consent to their plan. Finally, they said to him, "If you will not acquiesce to our intent, we shall slay you together with the youth."
The brother who did not want to participate in the murder, seeing that they were unyielding in their evil intention, feared that he might actually be killed by them. Therefore, he said to them, "If you have resolved to do this, then do what you will. I shall swear to you in God’s name that I will speak to no one concerning this matter; neither will I ask gold of you." Thus, he vowed with an oath to keep silence.
The monks took into their boat the gold and the stone which had covered it, and together with the youth they began to sail toward the monastery. When they were out at sea, they fell upon the youth and began to fasten the stone to his neck. He understood what they wished to do to him and begged them with tears and cries not to slay him. Nevertheless, he did not succeed in dissuading them from their intention, for those wretched monks, whose hearts were hardened and whose souls were avaricious, did not fear God. They were not moved to show mercy when they saw the youth’s tears, neither did they listen to his fervent pleadings. Instead, they cast him into the sea fastened to the stone, and he sank immediately into the deep.
It was nighttime when those godless men committed their evil deed. However, the merciful God, Who looked down on the bitter cries of the youth from above and beheld how he had been plunged in his innocence into the abyss, sent the guardian of the human race, the holy Chief Commander Michael, to deliver the youth who had been cast into the sea. The archangel brought him to the church of the monastery alive, and he was found there near the holy table with the stone still fastened around his neck. When the hour for Matins arrived, the ecclesiarch entered the church in order to light the candles and to summon the brethren by ringing the bell to announce the time for the morning prayers. But he heard a moaning voice coming from the altar and was greatly frightened. He went and told the abbot what he had heard; however, the abbot called him fearful and cowardly and sent him back to the church. When the ecclesiarch returned to the church, he heard the same voice again. Again he went to the abbot. The abbot then went with him to the church, and upon hearing the youth’s voice, entered the altar. There he beheld the youth lying near the holy table with the stone fastened to his neck and sea water dripping from his clothes. The abbot recognized the boy and inquired of him, "What has happened to you, child? How did you arrive here?"
The youth, as though awakening from sleep, said, "Those wicked monks whom you sent with me to fetch the gold that I found tied this stone around my neck and cast me into the sea. I was sinking into the depths of the abyss when I beheld two men, radiant as the sun, and heard them conversing with one another. The first said to the second, ’Archangel Michael, take this youth to the monastery which is called Dochiariou.’ When I heard this, I immediately lost consciousness, and I do not know how I arrived here."
Hearing what the youth said, the abbot was amazed and glorified God, Who works great and most glorious marvels. He then said to the youth, "Remain, child, in this place until morning when this wickedness shall be made manifest." He departed, locked the church, and forbade the ecclesiarch to tell anyone about this matter. He ordered that Matins be sung in the narthex, saying to the ecclesiarch, "If anyone should ask, ’What is this innovation that we should sing Matins in the narthex rather than in the church?’ tell him that the abbot orders that it should be so." Moreover, the abbot ordered the ecclesiarch to go up into the tower above the gate and to watch for the approach of those vile murderers.
At dawn the murderers arrived at the monastery; however, they had hidden the gold in another place. The abbot went out with the brethren to meet them, and when he saw them, he asked, "Why did four of you depart yesterday, but only three have returned? Where is the fourth?"
They pretended to be angry and said, "Father, that youth deceived both you and us by saying that he had found a treasure. He showed us nothing, for there is no treasure. Having duped us, he hid himself. Even though we searched for him, we could not find him and have returned to you without him."
The abbot said, "May it be according to the will of God," and they returned to the monastery. The abbot led those murderous monks into the church where the youth, the water still dripping from his garment, showed himself to them, and the abbot said, "Who is this?"
They were terrified and stood there as though in a stupor, unable to say anything in reply for a long time. Finally, however, they confessed their evil deed, although unwillingly. They told the abbot where they had hidden the gold that had been found, and the abbot sent the most trustworthy of the brethren to bring it to the monastery. This most glorious miracle became known throughout the entire Holy Mountain, and all the monks from every monastery came to Dochiariou to see the evidence of this marvel. A feast was ordained, and the name of the church was changed. It was dedicated to the name of the holy Chief Commander Michael while another church was erected that was dedicated to the holy wonder-worker Nicholas. The two wicked murderers were condemned, their faces branded, and they were expelled from the monastery. However, the third monk, who did not consent to the drowning of the youth and shunned that evil undertaking, was found to be innocent. The youth who had been delivered from the sea was clothed in the monastic habit and became a great ascetic and an experienced monk. The abbot was able to complete the church in a magnificent fashion with the gold which had been found, and erecting a second narthex from the ground up, he embedded into the wall for all to see the stone with which the youth had been cast into the sea. When the abbot reposed, he who had been delivered from the sea was appointed abbot. Having lived in a manner pleasing to God, the new abbot was in his turn presented to God, borne in the hands of the holy archangel, who had once conveyed him from the sea into the church. For all these things, let us glorify the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and let us magnify the holy Chief Commander Michael unto the ages. Amen.