Saint Markella was born and lived in Volissos, Chios, Greece. She was raised as a Christian by her mother. However, her father was a pagan.
Markella lived during the fourteenth century. Her mother was a devout Christian but her father was an idolater. At a young age, her mother died and Markella continued to study her Bible, pray to God and live a life according to what she was taught.
Around the time of her eighteenth birthday, Markella's father forced her very hard to be an idolater. Afraid of her father, Saint Markella fled to nearby mountains and hid in a bush. Her father found her with the help of a local herdsmen, and they set fire to the bush to force her to show.
Markella ran to the sea to escape but her father aimed an arrow at her and wounded her. The blood of the saint dyed the rocks and to this very day, during the festivities for her feast day, at a specific time, her blood becomes visible on these rocks for all the faithful who bear witness to this miracle. As she was injured, she prayed to Jesus to hide her. A rock opened and she was able to hide all of her body inside, but not her head. Her father decapitated her and threw the head into the sea.
Her final moments were spent in prayer to Christ with a request that the rocks would open for her to hide from her father and this happened. Everything but her head was covered so when her father found her, he cut off her head and threw it into the sea. Her head floated to the nearby beach of Komi. For many years, the locals could not locate the head until one day an Italian Naval ship was in the area. In the evening, they could see a bright light coming from the distance and when they got closer they witnessed a head, floating in the water, lit by upright floating candles. Immediately, they realised that this was a sacred miracle they were witness to and they took the head of the Saint back to their homeland.
Holy water is said to spring from the rocks that mark her martyrdom. Many pilgrims visit this location and every year on 22 July, during the commemoration services for the Saint, the holy sea water in the rock pool boils during the entire Paraklisis Service; this phenomenon only occurs in the presence of a priest. If a pilgrim's faith is strong, a local tradition is that the water in the rock-pool will feel extremely warm to touch.
Today there is a church on the cave of Saint Markella. The rock in which she was killed is said to spring holy water. Her nameday is on July 22 and on that day the sea is said to boil. The icon of Saint Markella is one of the most revered and is said to be miraculous.
A special prayer is dedicated to Saint Markella:
"Rose of piety and sprout of Chios, we honor with canticles Saint Markella who was beheaded by her father's hand, as she guarded the commands of Christ, give strength and save from danger, us who cry unto you. Glory to Him who gave you strength, Glory to Him who crowned you. Glory to Him who works through you, healings for all the faithful."
Rose of piety and sprout of Chios, we honour with canticles Saint Markella who was beheaded by her father's hand, as she guarded the commands of Christ, give strength and save from danger, us who cry unto you. Glory to Him who gave you strength, glory to Him who crowned you. Glory to Him who works through you, healings for all the faithful.