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Volissos, Chios, Greece
|Venerated in||Greek Orthodox Church|
|Major shrine||Church near her place of death. The icon of Saint Markella is one of the most revered and is said to be miraculous.|
Saint Markella was born and lived in Volissos, Chios, Greece. She was raised as a devout Christian by her mother. However, her father (in some accounts) was a pagan.
Markella lived during the fourteenth century - during most of which Chios was under Genoese rule. At a young age, her mother died and Markella continued to study her Bible, pray to God and live a life according to what she was taught.
Around the time of her eighteenth birthday, the virtuous Markella had to flee the fury of her violent father. There are variant accounts given about the reasons for that. In one version, while Markella's late mother had been a Christian, her father was an idolater and he tried very hard to force his daughter to become an idolater, too; this seems anachronistic, since by the 14th Century paganism was long since extinct in Greece. By another version, the problem was that Markella's father was consumed with incestuous lust for her, and she fled in horror when he declared his intentions.
Whatever her reason for being afraid of her father, Saint Markella fled to nearby mountains 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. As believed by the local people, the blood of the saint dyed the rocks and to this very day, during the festivities for her feast day, at a specific time, her blood becomes visible on these rocks for all the faithful who bear witness to this miracle.
It is further believed that as she was injured, she prayed to Jesus - her final moments spent in prayer requesting that the rocks would open for her to hide from her father and this happened. However, the opened rock enabled her to hide all of her body inside, but not her head. Her father decapitated her and threw the head 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 (presumably Genoese) warship was in the area. In the evening, the Italians 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 realized that this was a sacred miracle they were witness to and they took the head of the Saint back to their homeland.
Local tradition also has it that holy water springs from the rocks that mark her martyrdom. Many pilgrims visit this location and every year on 22 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 extremely warm to touch.
Today there is a church on the cave of Saint Markella. The rock in which she was killed is said to spring holy water. Her nameday is on July 22  and on that day the sea is said to boil. The icon of Saint Markella is one of the most revered and is said to be miraculous.
A special prayer is dedicated to Saint Markella:
Rose of piety and sprout of Chios, we honor 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.
- 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.
- The incest version is the one given in the account by the Orthodox Church in America (Martyr Marcella of Chios)
- saint Markella, orthodox saints, Greece
- Chios portal www.e-xios.gr - Monasteries - Agia Markella
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