HOLY VIRGIN MARY MOTHER OF GOD
My All-Holy Mother! I shall light the vigil lamp
because the day which is breaking is of great significance to our faith;
however, You take care and feed my children
Fr. Stephan Anagnostopoulos, Greece:
Why do we use olive oil? So that we would be reminded of the night when Jesus prayed in the garden of olives. The Lord prayed in the garden of Gethsemane where an oil grove was situated.
The following is a true story that is directly connected to the vigil lamp…
On the 24th of March 1942, the eve of the annunciation, we were in the Northern part of Greece, in my hometown called Drama. It was then under bulgarian occupation.
Deprivation, disease and famine had reached dreadful proportions and death was decimating both young and old, especially children, on a daily basis. Amongst my relatives was a distant aunt who was a widow with five children.
Her husband had been killed by the conquerors six months previously during the 29th of September 1941 massacre.
As far as food was concerned,there remained a very small amount of olive oil and a handful of corn flour. Hence, that evening she thought that the following day,that of the Annunciation,she had at least very little food for the children, one hundred grams of flour and very little oil.
Suddenly, her eyes fell on the snuffed out vigil lamp which hanged in front of the icon stand. At that point she was faced with a dilemma: Should the oil be given to the hungry children or remain in the icon stand with the icon of the Annunciation?
Nevertheless, with a sense of determination she made the sign of the Cross and told the All-Holy Mother of God: My All-Holy Mother! I shall light the vigil lamp because the day which is breaking is of great significance to our faith; however, You take care and feed my children”.
She took the very little amount of oil and lit the oil-candle of the All-Holy One.
Its joyous light illuminated the shabby home and her heart was filled with serenity. This sense of serenity accompanied them in their nightly prayer, their sleep and throughout that unforgettable night.
The next day, after the Divine Liturgy, my aunt opened the kitchen cupboard in order to get the meagre flour and she remained speechless. What does she see? The” oilcan” filled with oil all the way to the top,as well as two bagfuls of flour and spaghetti!
The woman made the sign of the Cross many times,praising and thanking God and the Theotokos for this great miracle,but did not say a word to anyone.
For two years the oil never emptied from the bottle nor did the flour,although the six-member family used it on a daily basis in order to exchange it with other types of food and for charity which was done in secrecy.
However, the vigil lamp since then remained lit day and night,revealing the blessed woman’s strong faith with its everlasting light.
Taken from the book: Fr. Stephanos Anagnostopoulos, Experiences during the Divine Liturgy