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There were once in a village, a group of men digging a mine. The cave sunk in and killed all those that had undertaken this expedition. Argyro, the wife of one of the deceased Christian men, gave everything she owned to a priest to celebrate forty divine liturgies at a church near the place of the accident for the soul of her husband, whom she thought was departed. As a poor woman she was, she would bring to the priest on a daily basis a prosphoro (the bread used for the celebration of the Eucharist), a bottle of wine and one candle for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.
When the priest had already celebrated twenty of the forty liturgies, the devil, transformed into one of the villagers, appeared to Argyro stopping her from her God-pleasing work.
-You know, he tells her, the priest could not make it to church today because he had to run some unexpected errands, so do not go out of your way today, bring him the things tomorrow. The devil repeated this, three times during the forty liturgies.
During this time, great effort was undertaken to open the mine, and remove the many corpses. Everyone was dead; a period of over forty days had gone by. As they were digging deeper, they heard a voice. A human voice telling them: -Careful, I am alive! Dig carefully, there are two stones on top of me, if they fall on me I will die.
Everyone was truly amazed; they dug very carefully from the sides, found the man alive and hurried to announce it to his wife, Argyro.
They all wondered how this man lived for forty days without food and water. He replied:
-There was someone that gave me daily –invisibly, I do not know how- a loaf of bread and a small jug of wine, while a candle was lit. This is how I would eat. This happened throughout the forty days, except for three times when I did not eat anything and I neither saw light. I then cried deeply, knowing that this was because of my sins. I thought the invisible hand of God would no longer help me and I would die of hunger and thirst.
But then I would once again see the lit candle, and next to that the bread and wine. I gave glory to God for not abandoning me and thus I lived and was miraculously saved.
They all glorified the Lord, since they were all Christians and were awed at this wondrous event. This, my brethren, is our faith! This is our Orthodoxy: the Divine Liturgy!
From the sermon given by Father Stephanos Anagnostopoulos at the Monastery of Panagia Varnakova on Sunday July 17th, 2011.