How Cholera was stopped in Constantinople in 1910

How Cholera was stopped in Constantinople in 1910

«In the year 1910 an accursed disease once again befell Constantinople and its environs:  cholera. People were dying by the hundreds every day, making it impossible to bury such large numbers – regardless of their race and religion: Christians, Armenians, Muslims and Jews. The population especially of Constantinople, in dread and helplessness desperately sought its salvation.  The Temples of the Orthodox and the Armenians, the Mosques and the Synagogues were full to bursting every day, with their congregants begging with tears and desperation for divine intervention to put an end to the evil.  And yet, the accursed pestilence continued its destructive opus...

Constantinople was a horrible sight to see; all activity and liveliness had died within it.  Then, all of a sudden the Christian population in its state of desperation recalled the previous occurrence of 1871 in the days of Patriarch Anthimos VI Koutalianos, and in one voice asked that the Precious Cincture (waistband) of the Theotokos be brought back, from its safekeeping in the Holy Mountain.

The Holy Synod convened an emergency Meeting, and with the proposal of the blessed Patriarch Joachim III, it was decided to dispatch a committee to the Holy Mountain, to bring back to the City (which was paralysed by death and fear) the holiest treasure of our piety.   Taking into account the relative Patriarchal Letters, the Sacred Synaxis of the Holy Mountain immediately ordered two of its most prominent Fathers to accompany the Precious Cincture to the suffering City.

Relief and joyful shouts of hope resounded throughout the City, when the people heard from the Patriarchy that very soon their salvation would be arriving.

On the day of arrival of the Patriarchal representatives together with the Hagiorite Fathers who were accompanying the Precious Cincture, from before daybreak a host of people regardless of their race and religion – Orthodox, Armenians, Muslims and Jews – had already flooded the main square outside the Railway Station of Serkitzi. 

Per the scheduled time, the Ecumenical Patriarch Joachim III, encircled by Hierarchs of the Patriarchal Court and a host of priests, had arrived there, in order to receive the Precious Cincture of the Theotokos, which the populace was so desperately awaiting, to rid them of the pestilence.

The importance that both the Sultan Hamit and the Turkish Government had acknowledged for the transportation of the Precious Cincture was made evident by the reception that the Turkish Government had provided, on the instruction of the Sultan.  A military company with double rows of officers at the head had arrayed themselves in front of the Serkitzi Station, to pay their respects to the precious relic of Orthodoxy, whose power the peoples of Constantinople were well familiar with, during the year 1871.

The elderly Ecumenical Patriarch Joachim III was the first to approach and greet the Precious Cincture.  On receiving it in his hands from the hands of the Holy Mountain Fathers, he proceeded on foot, ahead of the Hierarchs, the Priests, the Cantors, between the double rows of soldiers and the Christians, Armenians, Muslims and Jews following after them, and walked all the long road from Serkitzi Station to the Phanar, where he deposited the sacred treasure inside the Patriarchal temple, for veneration by the public.

Night vigils and Liturgies were served constantly; infinite crowds flooded the Patriarchal temple every day, with tearful supplications for their survival.

The accursed disease began to subside, its victims greatly lessened, until – within a very few days – the City of Constantine was completely rid of the pestilence.

The Precious Cincture was asked for by other Provinces fraught with cholera, such as Proussa and others; upon the presence of the holy relic, the disease disappeared, given that all the peoples – regardless of their race and religion – had been saved from the everyday threat of death».

Translation: A.N.

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