August 14 Saints of the Day – Micah the Prophet and Athanasia of Aegina

On this day in 1888, one of the first audio recordings ever made, of Arthur Sullivan’s “The Lost Chord”, was played at a press conference introducing Thomas Edison’s phonograph. The Moody Blues have been searching for it ever since.

Prophet MicahMicah the Prophet (VIII c. BC(E)) came from the town of Moreshet, and was called a Morashti. Now you know everything there is to know about his personal life. Tune in next week when…. Haha. Just kidding. He warned Israel and Judah that if they didn’t clean up their act, they were gonna get smote. Smited. Smitten. Clobbered. Micah spoke particularly to the injustice perpetrated by the rich people (one site says “ruling classes,” which at the time were the same as the rich people, unlike today) against the working class. Samaria, the capital of ancient Israel, was destroyed a mere quarter of a century later. The rulers of Jerusalem officially repented, but it proved temporary (until the next election), as did their reprieve. The city was sacked 150 years later by the Babylonians, beginning the much-discussed Babylonian Captivity.

A sampling of Micah’s prophecy:

Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds!
At morning’s light they carry it out because it is in their power to do it.
They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them.
They defraud people of their homes, they rob them of their inheritance. (2:1-2, NIV)

Micah prophesied that eventually Israel and Judah would turn back to the Lord, and their land would be healed. One supposed it would have been better not to turn away in the first place, but people will be people.

Athanasia of AeginaAthanasia of Aegina (ca. 790 – 860) one day experienced, in her young girlhood and while sitting at the loom, a “mystical union” of a star with her heart (as opposed to a “literal union” of a star with her heart, which seems downright dangerous). From that day she wanted to join a convent, but an imperial decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all men must go — wait, that was Mary and Joseph. An imperial decree went out saying all women of marriageable age must marry a soldier (not the same one for all of them, of course; that would be silly). This was called the Widowmaker Law, or should have been, for, sure enough, a mere sixteen days after her wedding, Athanasia was widowed when her soldier-husband died in battle, as soldiers were, alas, wont to do in those days.

Just when she thought she was free to run off to a monastery, another decree came from another emperor (this one with the quizzical name of “Michael the Stammerer”) to the same effect as the previous one. Her new husband, however, a deeply religious man, proved sturdier, and before Michael the Stammerer could say “Michael the Stammerer,” they were helping the sick and the poor in their home. Soon he (the husband not the emperor) asked Athanasia if she would mind terribly, he was very sorry, he’d understand if she said No, would she mind if he ran off and became a monk?

After a covert fist pump, Athanasia sent him on his way, gave their household goods to the poor, and turned their home into a convent. In time she and the sisters removed to Timia (on Aegina), then to Constantinople, then back to Timia. She was trying to avoid the masses, but that became difficult once her miraculous healing powers became known.

She beseeched her nuns to feed the poor in her name for 40 days after her death, but they left off after nine. She appeared to them, chewed them out good, slammed her staff into the ground, and disappeared. The next day her staff had sprouted into a tree. A year later a demon-possessed woman turned up at the convent. Thinking she could be healed if they only let her touch Athanasia’s body, they dug up the saint, only to find she was incorrupt and streaming myrrh. Sure enough, the possessed woman was healed. Athanasia’s relics remain in Timia, where they still retain healing powers.

Copyright © 2013 Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.

August 14 (Wikipedia)
The Bible (There are many great Bible resources online; my favorite is Bible Gateway) – Main source
The Prophet Micah (
Micah (prophet) (Wikipedia)
Painting of the Prophet Micah by Hubert van Eyck (before 1426) from Wikimedia. Public Domain.
Saint Athanasia of Aegina (SQPN) – Main source
Athanasia of Aegina (Wikipedia)
St. Athanasia the Wonderworker (Antiochians)
Icon of Athanasia of Aegina from OCA. Copyright unknown.