Arriving in Greece, one of the first things you notice is the prevalence of religion throughout the land. Byzantine icons adorn the walls of homes and shops; churches and monasteries dot the countryside and cities. Remnants of old Byzantine churches and chapels are everywhere, along with the remnants of mosques from the Ottoman era. In my area, there are two large monasteries situated on the hills , several churches, a Byzantine era church, and just down the road from us, a small chapel dedidicated to Agios Stylianos of Paphlagonia.
The little chapel was built long ago and is kept in good condition by an old woman living hearby. You can enter any time, day or night, light a candle for the sandbox and pray to the beautiful silver-embossed icon of the saint. Icons of the saint, some of them very old, adorn the walls along with images of Christ. Although I am not regligious, I find peace in the little chapel and go there when I need to contemplate and reflect on my life.
Styliano is famous for his benevolence to children and is believed by the devout to have healed sick children with the touch of his hand. I don’t believe religious hagiography as they are exaggerated and full of myth, but I do like the image of Stylianos as the healer of children. He is always depicted holding a baby wrapped in swaddling cloth and his face is depicted as kind, calm, and loving. So when I am upset, I like to sit in front of his icon and imagine him telling me everything will be all right.