On Monday, June 25, the feast of St. Fevronia the Virgin-Martyr, I went up to the Holy Monastery of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Panorama, here in Thessaloniki. The ever-memorable Abbess Fevronia is buried there. She fell asleep in the Lord on May 22, 2008 at the young age of 59. I intended to bring my camera because the monastery is very beautiful and I wanted to take a photo of Gerontissa Fevronia’s grave. However, I forgot it, so this post has the above icon of St. Fevronia’s martyrdom instead.
Although Gerontissa Fevronia died at a young age, she had acquired the wisdom of a great elderess. Here is a translation of a spiritual word on the three youths from this holy mother:
God was able to interfere so that the three youths would not enter the furnace, and would not that have been a miracle? But there! He let them fall into the forty-some foot furnace. This makes an impression on me. Not that God didn’t act in time to keep them from falling in, but we fall so that we become of God. To face our struggle, to convince God that we are His even while in the furnace, even while in the lion’s den. See, it doesn’t say, “in the fountain of flames they were not burnt”. It could have, but it doesn’t say, “in the fountain of flames they were not burnt,” but rather, “[they] rejoiced in the fountain of flames as though in the waters of rest”.
The great miracle is that [even in the midst of] trials we offer a fountain of rejoicing, of joy, of elation. It is not a great miracle to be thrown to the lions and for them not to eat you. It is, of course, a miracle, but a great miracle is for the lions to become sheep!
Therefore, for you to be of God is wonderful, even if it is a martyrdom!
-The Ever-Memorable Gerontissa Fevronia of Panoramatos, Thessaloniki