In Tarpon Springs, Florida, USA, there is a shrine to St. Michael the Archangel with an ancient icon of St. Michael known for decades for miraculously curing many sick in America. The icon is approximately 400 years old, and it comes from Symi, an island in a chain known as Greece’s Dodecanese.
The story began when a pious woman named Marie was cultivating a field to plant a crop found the silver icon near the coast of Symi. She took the icon home, and it disappeared. The next day she again found the icon of St. Michael in its original place in the field. Each time she took it home and each time it returned to the same location. The people took it as a heavenly sign and a church was built which is known as the Monastery of the Holy Abbey of Taxiarchis Michael of Panormitis where 8,000 pilgrims visit on the Feast of St. Michael (November 8th).
Centuries later, James Tsalickis (pronounced sa-LEEK-iss) a sponge diver who along with his crew was caught in a very dangerous storm and almost lost their lives; however, he promised St. Michael if his life was spared, he would make a special offering to his shrine in Symi.
In June of 1937 Maria Tsalickis, wife of James, and her four children went to Symi and met with Abbot Prior Chrysanthos Maroulakis to offer $300 which at the time was a lot of money for sparing the life of James and thus fulfilling the promise. In return the abbot in great gratitude for such an amount gave Maria an icon of St. Michael that hung in the church.
On November 6, 1938 Maria heard church bells coming from the icon of St. Michael, and the ringing lasted until 3 A.M. She visited Fr. Theophilos Karaphilis of Saint Nicholas of Tarpon Springs who advised her to bring the icon to church for a special mass and blessing since in the Greek Orthodox Church November 8th is the special feast to St. Michael. The bells were again heard in the following two years at this time and again a special blessing ceremony was done.
On December 1939, Maria’s eleven-year-old son, Steve, went into a coma from a high fever due to a brain cancer tumor. He was given 24 hours to live, and he dreamt and spoke with St. Michael. When he awoke he stated,
“Mama, I want you to bring me the Icon of the [St. Michael] Taxiarchis.”
The name “Taxiarchis” in Greek is given to the Archangel Michael, and it means “commander” [of a taxis, a squadron], in English it translates as “Archangel,” but it is also synonymous with “Michael” in Symi.
When the icon was brought to Steve, he placed it on his chest, and he spoke incomprehensibly, and then he said to his mother,
“Mama, St. Michael wants you to build his shrine.” Maria replied yes, to placate her son, but Steve said to his mother,
“Mama, say yes with your heart, for he says tomorrow at 10 AM I will be cured.”
Maria responded, “Yes, Steve, yes, my Steve, with all my heart, I will erect his shrine, as long as he wishes it.”
As the angel of the Lord carried John in the Spirit to different places in Rev. 17:3 & 21:10 so St. Michael transported Steve to the monastery in Symi, and he gave him Holy Communion plus he related that he could now take three steps when he awoke since he would soon be well. St. Michael also showed Steve the exact location of the shrine which was an empty lot owned by the family.
The doctors saw the healing as a miracle and the newspapers carried the story publicly. Steve became a popular school counselor, business owner, and passed away in 2007 at age 78. The parents fulfilled their promise by building a shrine in the 1940s soon after the miracle, and the shrine continued to have many miracles following this first miracle.
Pilgrims who have visited the shrine have been cured of tumors, blindness, hearing, breast cancer, infertility, and the lame have left their crutches behind as a testimony to St. Michael’s intercession.
A large book with testimonial letters, newspaper clippings and photos is kept of the many miracles that have occurred over the years. One newspaper clipping is about a young girl who was blind and recovered her sight, another is about a crippled woman who walked, an 8-year-old who left behind a leg harness and crutches, and another of a deaf teen who could hear after St. Michael’s intercession.
Saint Michael’s Shrine is located at 113 Hope Street in Tarpon Springs, Florida, and it opens at 7 A.M. It closes at 6 p.m. every day except Tuesday and Wednesday, when doors close at 7 p.m. A special outdoor mass with 300 attendees is held at the shrine every November 8 in honor of the St. Michael’s Feast in the Greek Orthodox Church, and it is open 24 hours on his feast day. At the passing of Maria (Steve’s mother) in 1994, Goldie Parr (a year younger than Steve), the sister of Steve, now cares for the shrine.
From a Catholic perspective, the word “icon” is taken from the Greek word “eikon,” meaning “image.” The icon is “a bridge between the visible and the invisible (Pope St. John Paul II)” or a “window into heaven,” since the iconographer prepares to paint the heavenly mystery by praying, fasting, and study, with each stroke of the brush acting as an act of worship. Saint Basil the Great explains, “What the Book of the Gospels explains by means of words, the iconographer shows by means of his works.”
Adam Blai, a Church decreed expert on religious demonology and exorcism plus an auxiliary member of the International Association of Exorcists based in Rome, uses another icon of St. Michael effectively during an exorcism. This icon of St. Michael was painted by a friend of Adam. To learn more about the miraculous deliverances via this St. Michael’s icon during the rite of exorcism attend the St. Michael the Archangel Conference in Austin, TX on Sept. 27-28 sponsored by the Fullness of Truth Catholic Evangelization Ministries:
NOTE: 500 St. Michael Relic Stones will be available at the St. Michael the Archangel Conference plus the many miracles via the relic stones will be shared.
33 DAY CONSECRATION PRAYER TO ST. MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL (Aug. 27th – Sept. 29th)
(An indulgence of two-hundred days is granted to everyone who devoutly says this prayer once a day, praying for the needs of the holy Church and the Supreme Pontiff.)
Oh, most noble Prince of the Angelic Hierarchies, valorous warrior of Almighty God, and zealous lover of His glory, terror of the rebellious angels, and love and delight of all the just, my beloved Archangel Saint Michael, desiring to be numbered among your devoted servants, I, today offer and consecrate myself to you, and place myself, my family, and all I possess under your most powerful protection.
I entreat you not to look at how little I, as your servant have to offer, being only a wretched sinner, but to gaze, rather, with favorable eye at the heartfelt affection with which this offering is made, and remember that if from this day onward I am under your patronage, you must during all my life assist me, and procure for me the pardon of my many grievous offenses and sins, the grace to love with all my heart my God, my dear Savior Jesus, and my Sweet Mother Mary, and to obtain for me all the help necessary to arrive to my crown of glory.
Defend me always from my spiritual enemies, particularly in the last moments of my life.
Come then, oh Glorious Prince and succor me in my last struggle, and with your powerful weapon cast far from me into the infernal abysses that prevaricator and proud angel that one day you prostrated in the celestial battle.
Accompany me then to the throne of God to sing with you, Archangel Saint Michael and all the angels, praise, honor and glory to the One who reigns for all eternity.
Pope Francis consecrated Vatican City to St. Michael the Archangel, and he stated, “In consecrating the Vatican City State to St Michael the Archangel, let us ask him to defend us from the Evil One and cast him out.”
Read the Other posts in this series