The Holy Venerable Simeon the Myrrflowing is the father of the sainted bishop Savva, founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Childless couples invoke his name in their prayers to be spared of their barrenness. The relics of the saint rest in Serbia, but why are childless couples writing to Mount Athos for the saint’s intercession? Keep reading to find out.
Gatherer of Serbian lands
Stefan Nemanja inherited from his father, the prince the Serbian principality called Raska.
He had suffered persecution and imprisonment at the hands of his brothers, who also had claims to this territory. Owing to his solid faith and the intercession of the Great Martyr Georgias, he transformed Raska into one of the wealthiest and most powerful principalities. By recapturing Serbian lands from Hungary and Byzantine, he extended the borders of Serbia and united the Serbian nation. His adversaries feared Stephan’s might and did not dare to attack his country.
At home, Stephan worked hard to spread and strengthen the Orthodox faith and eradicate the heresy of Bogomilism. He is credited with the rise of multiple churches and monasteries in Serbia, many of which have remained active to this day.
A long-awaited son
Stephan and his righteous wife had two sons. When both reached a mature age, they desired another son to inherit their kingdom, bring glory to Serbia and strengthen the Orthodox faith. They prayed fervently to God. Their honourable prayers were heard, and Anna gave birth to a son when Stephan Nemane was 57 years of age.
At seventeen, Rastko went secretly to Mount Athos and accepted monasticism, taking the name of Savva. In him, the prayers of his father and mother were fulfilled. In 1219, saint Savva established in Serbia the autocephalous Orthodox church, established the order for the Coronation Ceremony, and performed the first coronation on his older brother Stephan the First-Сrowned, also glorified as a saint of the church.
When Prince Stephan grew old, Savva convinced his father to hand over the kingdom to his older son and dedicate to God the remaining years of his life. The saint listened to his son and accepted monasticism with the name Simeon. Together with his son, he built on Mount Athos the Serbian monastery Hilandar, where Simeon departed peacefully at age 84.
After his death, his body remained uncorrupted, soft and warm as if he was still alive. His relics were flowing with nice smelling Myrrh that had healing power (for this reason, he is glorified by the Church as Myrrflowing.
At first, his relics lay at the Hilandar Monastery. But soon Savva left the Holy Mount and took with him the relics of his father in an attempt to reconcile his brothers Stephan and Wukan in their feud for power. They saw the Myrrflowing and miraculous healings and made peace.
His relics were translated with great honour to the Studenica Lavra (the Church of the Holy Theotokos on the River Studenica), which Simeon and established and built while still a prince.
The Myrrflowing stopped only once when the heir to the throne Stephan decided to change his faith for political considerations. Seeing this, Stephan changed his mind.
The child-bearing vine of the saint
At first, the monks of Saint Athos wept over the departure of the relic. The Holy Venerable Simeon appeared to Hegumen Methodius in his dream telling him that his relics belong to Serbia, and a wonderworking vine will grow in their place in consolation to the brothers and in memory of the saint.
This prophecy came true in 1207 when a grapevine grew out of the wall of the empty crypt. Its stem comes to the surface 1.5 metres above the ground. The monastics believe that the blessing of the Venerable Simeon will stay with Hilandar as long as the vine continues to bear fruit.
The grapevine had a special meaning to saint Simeon and God, and its choice was not accidental. In the Gospel, Jesus Christ is likened to the grapevine: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful (John 15, 1-2).
Like the fruit of the vine, the righteous royal dynasty of the Nemanices branched out, and many of its members were glorified by the Church as saints. “Rejoice, the glorious vine of the Serbian church,” reads the hymn of an Akathist.
Each year, the monks collect a rich grape crop. They dry the grapes and offer them to childless families.
To request the grapes from the wonder-working vine, write a letter to Mount Athos with the names of the spouses in baptism. No money is needed. Four to six weeks later, you may expect to receive from Mount Athos an envelope with three grapes and instructions on consuming them. The letter will also notify the sender that the brothers of Hilandar Monastery have begun a forty day round of prayer for the childless couple to be given a child.
You will be asked to send a photo of the baby if the prayers are heard.
The monastery’s address is Monastere Hilandar 63086, Karyes, Mount Athos, Greece. Phone: +30-23770-23797.
Testimonies from the happy parents
The earliest traditional account from a barren couple of a miracle of being given a child dates back to 1585 when a Turkish father brought his first-born son to Hilandar to dedicate him to the service of God. He had been born by the miracle of the holy vine of Saint Simeon.
The following account is from Nadezhda and Maria from Russia.
Greetings! Let me tell my story of the miracle of Saint Simeon’s vine. My husband and I had been trying to conceive a child for ten years. I had a health problem. We started going to church, had a church wedding and had been praying a lot, but we could not conceive.
In 2014 a monk brought us a piece of vine from Hilandar Monastery on Mount Athos. On 13 October 2015, we had our baby boy. We named him in honour of the Venerable Simeon the Myrrflowing in gratitude to the long-awaited child.
In February 2018 we had a daughter. Nothing is impossible for God. Have faith, your prayers will be answered!
I knew about the wonder-working vine of Saint Simeon from a friend. She and her husband were childless, and a priest gave the husband the blessing to travel to Mount Athos and bring the vine. He did. They fasted for forty days, bowed 50 times per day, put the vine in the holy water and drank it. Three months later, she became pregnant. They have a beautiful daughter. They wanted a second child, and they also could not conceive for some time. Another miracle happened, and now she is pregnant with another baby.
At Saint Elisabeth Convent, we have also experienced the wonderworking properties of the vine. One of the Convent’s priests travelled to Hilandar Monastery several years ago before his ordination. There, he requested two envelopes with wonder-working grapes for two childless families he knew. He brought them to Minsk. To each according to their faith, as they say. Nine months from receiving the envelopes, both families had a baby.
* The Bogomils regarded the material world a creation of the devil. not of God. They rejected the Old Testament, denied the holiness of the Theotokos, disputed the veneration of the saints, icons and relics, and objected to the building of churches.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds
Used source: https://pravoslavie.fm/chudesa/chudotvornaya-loza-simeona-mirotochivogo-istselyaet-ot-bezdetnosti/