THE STORY BEHIND THE UTAH MIRACLES
Denver Metropolitan Isaiah and His Salt Lake City Miracles
By Theodore Kalmoukos
ΤΝΗ Staff Writer
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – The crisis that has created a rift at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Salt Lake City, UT with the unsuccessful insistence of Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver to divide the historic parish into two is experiencing another twist. This time it has to do with a “miracle” that supposedly is occurring at the church of Prophet Elias.
As TNH had reported on Nov. 13, 2010 an icon of Christ was said to have exuded oil on Oct. 17, 2010 during the Divine Liturgy, which Metropolitan Isaiah declared a miracle. In a letter to Fr. Michael Kouremetis dated Oct. 20, he wrote the following: “The Lord has answered our prayers asking Him to resolve confusing situation in the Salt Lake City area regarding the two parishes."
“When icons exude tears, like many of the Ever-Virgin Mary have, it is a sign of caution and problems. But, when an icon exudes oil, that is a sign of healing and blessings. When I was informed that the icon of Christ the Archpriest was exuding oil during the Divine liturgy when we celebrated the Holy Fathers of the Seventh and final Ecumenical Council in Nicea, I realized that a miracle had occurred. It is not usual for an icon of Christ the Lord to exude oil or even tears. I truly believe that our Lord heard our prayers to make His presence known and to resolve the situation of the two parishes. Now there can be no question in the minds of any of His people. Our Lord recognizes His parishes as monogamous and independent, each with a Proistamenos representing Him through the local bishop. Both parishes can now proceed to grow and to develop for His greater glory and the salvation of His people. The Lord Jesus Christ has spoken with this miracle, and His people will be faithful to His divine will.”
On October 1 of this year, Metropolitan Isaiah in a letter addressed to priests Michael Kouremetis and Matthew Gilbert and also to the parish council reversed himself on the “miracle.” He wrote that “two years have passed from the time I was informed of your icon of the Lord. Yet I have never received any information regarding healing attributed to the oil from the icon at Prophet Elias. On the contrary, recently I have received written information signed by individuals that oil has never actually come forth from the icon in question.”
Isaiah also wrote that “in order to verify the truth in this very serious matter, I am asking that anyone who has been anointed with the oil from the icon and who has received relief or healing in any way, to inform me, so that I may know definitely that my letter of October 20, 2010 reflects a true phenomenon, and was not based on imagination or biased intentions.”
Isaiah also informed that he has a “miraculous” icon at his Metropolitan Center: “An icon of the Theotokos which is over 200 years old and which continues to exude oil. Several persons who have been anointed with the oil have been healed of various maladies. Among them is one woman who had been diagnosed with cancer and on a later examination was told that she had no malignancy.”
On October 17, Isaiah wrote a new letter to the parish officials which reversed his stand of his letter on October 1. He wrote that “I have been informed in writing by respected and reputable people of the community that they have truly seen oil emitting from within the holy icon of our Lord. More importantly, several members have been healed of physical maladies after being anointed with the oil.”
Isaiah also wrote that “I am now totally convinced that my words in the October 20, 2010 letter to the parish are based on factual phenomena of healing which came about through the icon of our Lord. Because of this, I am truly relieved and thankful to God that so many members of the community have responsibly attested to the fact that the oil exuding from the holy icon was truly real.”
The sexton of the church Bob Marcooles on October 25, 2010 under the instruction of Kouremetis wrote that he was “writing this letter freely and I verify that I did not spill any oil on the miraculous icon of Christ the Archpriest. This is truly a miracle from God.”
But in an interview on September 22, 2012 with parish council president Dimitri Tzagaris (sic), attorney Nick Angelides and Marcooles, “the miracle” was explained. Marcooles “got on a step ladder
and went to fill the lamp using a plastic bottle filled with oil. He tipped the plastic bottle filled to
the top and poured into the lamp above the icon of Christ. As Bob Marcooles pulled the bottle back oil shot out of the bottle and splattered onto his hand and onto the floor.”