Markella of Chios
Markella was born and lived in the village of Volissos of Chios and lived during the fourteenth century. Her mother was a devout christian but her father was an idolater. At a young age, her mother passed away and Markella continued to study her bible, pray to God and live a life according to what she was taught.
Her father began to have sinful desires for Markella. By the time she had reached her eighteenth birthday, her father's desires had begun to show and his behaviour resulted in Markella leaving home. She went to a nearby mountain and hid in a bush. Her father found her, with the help of a local herdsmen, and they set fire to the bush to force her to show. Markella ran to the sea to escape but her father aimed an arrow at her and wounded her. The blood of the saint dyed the rocks and to this very day, during the festivites for her feast day, at a specific time, her blood becomes visible on these rocks for all the faithfull who bear witness to this miracle.
Her final moments were spent in prayer to Christ with a request that the rocks would open for her to hide from her father and this happened. Everything but her head was covered so when her father found her, he cut of her head and threw it into the sea. Her head floated to the nearby beach of Komi. For many years, the locals could not locate the head until one day an Italian Naval ship was in the area. In the evening, they could see a bright light coming from the distance and when they got closer they witnessed a head, floating in the water, lit by upright floating candles. Immediately, they realised that this was a sacred miracle they were witness to and they took the head of the Saint back to there homeland.
Holy water is said to spring from the rocks that mark her martyrdom. Many pilgrims visit this location and every year on the 22nd of July, during the commemoration services for the Saint, the holy sea water in the rock pool boils during the entire Paraklisis Service; this phenomenon only occurs in the presence of a priest. If a pilgrim's faith is strong, a local tradition is that the water in the rock-pool will feel extremally warm to touch.
Apolitikion Rose of piety and sprout of Chios, we honour with canticles Saint Markella who was beheaded by her father's hand, as she guarded the commands of Christ, give strength and save from danger, us who cry unto you. Glory to Him who gave you strength, glory to Him who crowned you. Glory to Him who works through you, healings for all the faithful.