Marginal Anargyroi

On the other hand, many saints who were never reputed to be doctors, nurses or folk healers by profession have been given the title Anargyroi because they have been associated with faith healing or miraculous cures. Indeed, all the recognized Orthodox saints are portrayed not only as prayerful intercessors but as healers; quite simply they are like Christ and their prayers ought to be potentially curative. A few examples should suffice: Paraskevi the Roman is thought to cure eye diseases, Antipas of Pergamum to cure dental and related problems, Charalampos to ward off epidemics and Patapios to banish cancer. Other saints, like George 'the physician of the sick' or Artemios are thought to assist believers with a variety of medical conditions.

The Holy Fools or Saloi, particularly Andrew the Scythian, were traditionally considered the patrons of those suffering from mental ill-health. This latter group forms a distinct category and a recognized model of sanctity quite at variance to the strand represented by the Anargyroi. The feigned madness and eccentricities of the Holy Fools appears remote to the sober, self-effacing Anargyroi.

Some saints, like Modestos of Jerusalem, Phloros and Lavros, are primarily considered to be the patrons of animals with a particular interest in healing livestock. Above all Our Lady, the Theotokos, is seen as coming to the aid of humanity and all creation in all situations, including sickness. The feast of the Life-Giving Spring and icons of Our Lady as 'Iatrissa' or 'Megaloyiatrissa' (physician or great physician) clearly connect the Theotokos with specifically medical cures. Interestingly, the regional 'Myrtidiotissa' (myrtle tree) and 'Kassiopia' (of Kassiope) commemorations of the Theotokos are both associated with restoration of sight to the blind.

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