Our Church honors the holy and sacred relics, whether they are derived from the bodies of Saints, or are items belonging to them. One such relic, the only one which has been found to this day and belongs to the Most Holy Mother of God, is her Holy Belt. It constitutes a precious treasure and the most sacred relic which the Great, Holy Monastery of Vatopedi possesses. The Grace of the Holy Spirit continues to act through the holy relics. As Saint Chrysostomos says: “Jesus Christ, honoring the struggles, the blood they have shed and the martyrdom of the saints, has safeguarded their souls in heaven. But He left on earth their body and their holy relics to assist in our salvation”. read more…
The Grace of the Holy Spirit performs the miracles through the holy relics. There are numerous examples both in the Old and the New Testament. Moses, the prophet, performs great and astonishing wonders with his stick (traversing through the Red Sea, water gashing from the rock, after he touched it with the stick etc). Prophet Elijah, just before he ascended with his body to heaven at the end of his life on earth, which itself constituted an incredible miracle, he performed his last miracle. He struck his sheepskin cloak on the waters of the Jordan River, opened the way and traversed on the opposite river bank with his disciple, Elisha. “Then Elijah took his cloak and rolled it up and struck the water, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground” ( 2 Kings, 2,8) Prophet Elisha inherites the cloak together with his teacher’s spirit and repeats the same miracle on the Jordan river by appealing to God. The book of the Old Testament says that as soon as the other prophets saw the miracles of the division of the waters said: “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha” (2 Kings, 2, 15). The cloak, the garment covering the sacred body of Prophet Elijah, itself became sanctified. It was covering up the body of the prophet and was overflowing with the miracle performing Grace. The cloak received honor from the prophet’s honor, blessing from his blessing, holiness from his sanctity, Grace from his Grace, despite being worn out and humble. Even “the Jordan river respected it” because “in the lifeless garment” the “prophet was present in his absence”.
We see the same phenomenon continuing in the New Testament. We have the case of the woman who had been suffering from hemorrhage for 12 years (Mark 5, 25-34). She did all that was humanly possible, spent all her money on doctors and various cures without any improvement. On the contrary, she became worse. When she had heard about Jesus, she came among the crowd and touched His garment from the back. She thought: “Even if I touch his garments, I will be cured”. She realized she had been cured immediately. The force which was derived from Jesus, in his garments, performed the cure. That’s why He had asked: “Who touched my garments?” The sanctified garments transfer the force which exists in our Mighty Lord.
In the Acts, it is said that even the Saint Peter’s “shadow” performed miracles. “So that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, so that, as Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on some of them. The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits and they were all healed” (.Acts, 5, 15-16).
The same thing happens with Saint Paul. God was performing unusual miracles with the hands of Paul. People were picking up even his head scarves or the aprons he had used and were placing them on the sick. The sick would then be cured and the unclean spirits would be departing from them. “And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them” ( Acts 19, 11-12).
source: Ιερά Μεγίστη Μονή Βατοπαιδίου, «Θαύματα Αγίας Ζώνης», έκδοσις β΄επαυξημένη, Άγιον Όρος 2008
translated from Greek by: Olga Konnaris-Kokkinos, journalist