Wednesday December 17, 2014

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Chiaki Adelphotis "St. Markella" Society

Chiaki Adelphotis 'St. Markella

The Saint Markella Society was established in 1946. The purpose of this society was to help and support those who emigrated from Chios and lived in the United States illegally

The "support" was usually in the form of bail money when these immigrants were arrested and put into jail.

Today, the St. Markella Society has 30 members and continues to help the community of St. Demetrios Church. While the type of "support" the group offered in the past has changed, its members offer both financial assistance and are involved in all aspects of the St. Demetrios family.

The two main events the St Markella Society hold every year is the Palm Sunday dinner after the Church service and the St. Markella Name Day luncheon. The proceeds of the Palm Sunday dinner are donated to St. Demetrios and the luncheon, which is held July 22, is free to anyone who attends the Name Day service.

Chian Society - Saint Markella Founding Members

Nicholas Frangos, Nicholas Frankos, James Kouvaras, Gus Stravelakis, Soterios Apostolis, James Koutoukidis, Peter Midas, Mike Arakas, Loukas Flamos, Gus Georghiou, John Martakis, Nicholas Poupalos, Alex Mimides, James Miofas, George Mimides, Mike Houmis, George Madias

The Life of Saint Markella, The Patron Saint of Chios

Agia (Saint) Markella is the patron Saint of Chios. Agia Markella was born and raised in Volliso, the largest town in Southern Chios. Her father was believed to be a non-Christian and her mother was said to be a Christian. Agia Markella's mother passed away at a young age and Markella was left to be raised by her father.

Markella enjoyed studying the bible, she had a heart of gold, and she had a love for the Lord and for her people. Her communication with the lord through prayer and her deep Christian beliefs made the saint very devoted to the Christian way of life.

Her father on the other hand was beginning to fall in love and lusted after his own daughter. At the age of 18 and at the prime of her teenage life, signs of her fathers' lust began to show. The scared Markella ran to the nearby mountains to hide. At this point, her father didn't stop to think what he was doing, and set off to the mountains in chase of her.

Markella's father had started calling out her name so she hid in a thick bush of wild batos (wild trees); it is in this area that her Church stands today. The batos consist of dense leaves which kept the saint out of sight from her father, but not out of the sight of a shepherd who saw Markella hiding. Her father asked the shepherd if he had seen his daughter, and without saying a word he just pointed to Markella, and from that point on his hand started shaking.

It is said that even to this day, the hands of the family members of the shepherd still shake. Her father spotted Markella hiding, so he put a fire to the batos so she would come out. Without thinking of the consequences, Markella ran as fast as she could away from her father. She started to run towards the beach, and from the beach to the rocks and cliffs. At this point, her father realized that he could not follow her and he tried to knock her down in order to catch her. He took his bow and arrow and successfully wounded her, and blood began to go everywhere .

Under the cross, you see  the red area, the Blood of Saint Markella

Under the cross, you see the red area, the Blood of Saint Markella.

Saint Markella got up and continued to run with pain and courage and ran as far as she could, but felt herself slowing down and losing energy. As Markella ran holding onto the mountains, she knew that she could not lose faith, but she saw her father getting closer. She lifted up her eyes to the heavens and said "Kurie, scise to braco kai kruye me mesa" "Lord tear this cliff up and hide me in there". Suddenly the cliff tore into two and sucked the Saints' holy body into it up to her chest.

The point on the cliff where The ground tore into.  Again, notice the blood of Saint Markella

The point on the cliff where The ground tore into. Again, notice the blood of Saint Markella.

Markella's father sees his daughter in trouble as a result of him chasing her, still has the devil driving him and cuts off her chest and throws it towards the cliffs. He then gets her holy head and with his knife cuts it off and throws it onto the wild sea. Her holy head floats on the water shining a ray of light, and a passing ship sees it in the water and takes it to ancient Rome, where it still is to this day. The rock that split to accommodate the Saints body can be visited at Agia Markella.

Up until 30 or so years ago, on her name day (July 22), the water used to literally boil during the service. Unfortunately this doesn't happen anymore, however the Saint still performs miracles to this day. On her name day people from Chios, from all of Greece, and from all over the world make the pilgrimage to her church.

Links:

Holy Virgin Martyr Markella of Chios

Wikipedia: Saint Markella

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