A Miraculous Deliverance From Certain Death

The astonishing story of Master Sergeant Vasiliki Plexida’s miraculous escape from death in a military helicopter accident was widely reported on Greek television earlier this year.

The miracle occurred on 19th April 2017 when the twenty-six year old Vasiliki was travelling in a military helicopter over a mountainous area in Northern Greece. The helicopter, flying low in thick fog and near-zero visibility, hit high voltage power cables and crashed.

After the helicopter crashed, presumably with all lives aboard lost, a friend of Vasiliki called the convent of the Panagia Akroteriane in Serifos (left) at which Vasiliki was a regular worshipper.  On being informed of the accident, the Abbess reassured the caller that Vasiliki would miraculously survive.

And this came to pass. Due to the helicopter’s low altitude, the accident happened in a split-second. As the helicopter hit the ground Vasiliki made the Sign of the Cross and called on the Mother of God for help.

Icon of the Panagia 'Akroteriane'
Vasiliki then saw the Theotokos just as she is depicted on the Icon at the Convent of the Panagia Akroteriane. The Theotokos grasped Vasiliki firmly as she sat strapped in her seat, and, having detached the seat, removed her from the helicopter and placed her in a tree with her back to the wreckage, so that she would not be distressed by the sight of the collision.

The helicopter was completely destroyed on impact and sadly the four other passengers, Major-General Yiannis Tzanidakis, Colonel Thomas Adamou, Major Dimosthenis Goulas and First Lieutenant Constantinos Hatzis were killed instantly. Miraculously, Vasiliki’s seat was not torn from the wreckage but this part of the helicopter was neatly cut out – despite the 1200 rivets securing it.

The Theotokos remained at her side, holding her hand, until an engineer arrived to investigate the power failure caused by the damaged power cables. The engineer spotted Vasiliki still strapped in her seat, in a tree about twenty metres away from the wreckage of the helicopter; her helmet and mobile phone were still by her side.

Just then, Vasiliki’s phone began to ring; it was the army calling, trying to find out what had happened. The electricity engineer answered the call and as a result she was rescued just as the Mother of God had promised her: ‘the man now arriving is coming to help you’.

Vasiliki was flown to hospital with various fractures, which considering the force of the impact, were relatively minor; not only had the helicopter hit high voltage cables, the accident was so severe that the wreckage was almost unrecognizable.

Doctors thought that Vasiliki would have to remain in hospital for several months but the Mother of God appeared again to her and reassured her that she would soon be discharged from the hospital – which she was!

As a thanksgiving for this miracle, Metropolitan Photios of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians celebrated the Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Twelve Apostles at the Convent of the Panagia Akroteriane.

Vasiliki meeting the Greek Defence Minister
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, the devout Vasiliki Plexida, standing in the middle of the Church, related the details of her miraculous survival. She donated the uniform she was wearing at the time of the crash to the convent, both as a testimony to the miracle and as a blessed object, since the Theotokos touched it when she saved her from certain death.

The miracle was widely reported and the simple Eldress Anthodoche, who lives the solitary life there, became known. In this way, the Theotokos teaches us that God takes pleasure where Orthodoxy goes hand in hand with humility and simplicity.

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