St.Spyridon lived somewhere between the latter part of the 2nd and early part of the 3rd century.
He was at the first ecumenical council of Nicea and was instrumental in the arguments against Arius.
Originally from Cyprus and buried there, when the Arabs took Cyprus he was removed from the grave to be taken to Constantinople where they witnessed he was incorrupt. In his hand was a scent of Basil indicating true sainthood.
After Constantinople fell to the Ottomans in 1453, his relics were removed by a Corfiate monk to the island of Corfu where they remain to this day in St.Spyridon Church.
One of his miracles during his lifetime was calling forth rain during a time of drought. This is where it got interesting for me.
An Orthodox Priest and friend of mine learned that I was in Corfu via facebook and highly recommended I visit this church and venerate the Saints relics. He noted that the relics are not always there due to them being moved around a lot and when he was there some years ago they were not present.
Eventually we made our way through the Venetian cobbled streets until we landed upon the Church. I took some pictures of the boys outside in front of the icon of the saint.
From there we entered and there was a short enough queue and to my surprise the relics were present with two priests at either side. Before I entered everyone was quiet. When me and Christian entered the priests began to chant ”Kyrie Eleison”.
I wasn’t sure what to kiss and didn’t realise that the priest opened the Casket for me to kiss the Saint so instead I kissed the Casket as did my son Christian.
That was all good and so we decided to go around the corner to the byzantine Museum which was an old Church now in disuse but everything still in place just used as a Museum for Icons.
I wanted to go back and buy an Icon in the shop directly across the road from St.Spyridons Church and so we headed back that way.
The woman in the shop kept me there for quite a considerable time. By the time my wife came along she was waiting on me and obviously does not share the same enthusiasm as I do for the Orthodox icons or churches so she’s impatient and wanting to leave.
She approaches me and said ”Stephen you need to hurry it up, dark clouds are gathering and it looks like it could actually rain.”
I kept calm and allowed the lady to finish showing me all her icon collection. Then a seriously heavy down pour of rain and hailstones began. It was so heavy I’d never seen anything like it not even in Ireland. The rain was so thick, heavy and chunky. You could hear it just slam into the ground.
I wanted so desperately to visit the Church again with my icons but I knew Audrey wouldn’t have it and so whilst in the shop and anxious about these things it began to rain.
I said to my wife I want to touch the icons off the casket of St.Spyridon and in this way have them blessed. We might as well go over to the Church and inside there because we are blocking entry to the shop.
The woman approached me and said ”This is such unusual weather for this time of year but it shouldn’t last long”. But it did, a whole three hours.
I was delighted to be back in the Church. This time I actually peered in and saw his face with his little skull-cap and vestments all still on him.
It was at this moment that the Saint revealed to me that it was him who, calling forth the rain all those years ago to end the drought, had called forth the rain yet again that I may have my icons blessed and venerate him once more.
Whilst I stood there, the rain plummeting from the heavens, to many it was an inconvenient moment where they had to refrain from shopping and it ended their day out in Corfu. To me however, I stood there in the church with a gleeful smile on my face knowing who it was that called forth the rain and hailstone.
It was an undeserved grace for a rotten little sinner like me. It almost seems prideful to even assume that the Saint would accommodate just one speck of dust such as myself with all the problems going on in the world but I was convinced that this miracle was simply God’s simplicity shining forth giving me the time I really needed to soak up the experience of venerating one of the churches greatest ever saints that lived.