Tuesday, October 20, 2015

St. Artemios and the Exorcism of the Black Crow


In the seventh century an Anonymous author compiled a number of miracles of Saint Artemios the Great Martyr (Oct. 20), whose healing activities were predominantly centered in the Church of Saint John the Forerunner in Constantinople and who "specializes" in healing hernias and diseases affecting the genitals of mostly male patients. Below is one example of many:

A certain sailor for many years had problems with his testicles and approached the holy Martyr. His name was Isidore and he was about 53 years old. But he was unaware that he was being agitated by an evil spirit.

Now in the aisle at the left, the Saint is accustomed to make his rounds as if he were a Chief Physician in charge of a hospital, just as many have often been convinced by experience, and to be sure one night the Saint in full view approached the man, while many of those awaiting the cure looked on, at the very place where the possessed man was lying down. Then the Saint stood over him, as we were saying, with an invisible force. Isidore arose from his bed and ran toward the image, and holding up his outstretched hands, he hung suspended as though his hands were tied to chains, hovering one cubit above the floor, and yelling loudly, so that all were astonished by the sight and were cowed by fear.

So after hanging for a considerable time and foaming at the mouth, finally he cried out in a loud voice and fell onto his mattress on the floor. After he calmed down and returned again to his normal state of mind, those crowding around said:

"Brother, what happened to you?"

He replied: "Oh my, what I suffered! Some person wearing a cloak and a belt suspended me by two chains!"

They said to him: "We all saw that you were hanging. But tell us what he did to you."

He replied: "I was greatly chastised. For with his right hand he touched my belly and with his left my shoulder-blades. But the third time he squeezed me, saying, 'The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Holy Trinity, orders you to depart.' And I saw an all-black crow leaving my mouth and he made the sign of the honorable cross on my forehead and freed me from my fetters and I fell. But let me examine my genitals in case they suffered some harm from the force of the fall." And touching them in the presence of everybody, he found himself healed, and for this all gave glory to God who does the incredible through His Martyr.

While he was waiting there several days, the Saint once again appeared to him, and he had with him, it would seem, a workman wearing some sort of sheepskin and sandals and there was some woman with them in the habit of a nun, and they said to Isidore: "Give thanks to God. Behold you were made healthy. Go back to your own land to your own people. For greatly they lament over you, believing that you have died. But depart, cheer them by your presence and your good health."

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