The Bees’ Knees

Our friend, Laurice, brought this story to our attention.  Apparently, even the bees bow to the Saints.  

Senior monastery monk beekeeper, Kiryakos, inserted a small paper icon of the Theotokos in one of the frames and an icon of Saint Nektarios the Wonderworker in another. After a few days, he opened the hives and was surprised to find that none of the icons were covered up. 

“Hieromonk Dimitrian sent photos of icons of Mount Athos, where the bees by building cells, have not closed the Holy faces.  Truly every breath praises the Lord.”


  1. I am not a skeptic, but I think it would be helpful to see if the bees avoid covering any printed image or only the holy ones. 
    I do believe that animals and plants are drawn to holiness. The trees that are planted around my parish lean towards the church (the terrain is absolutely flat)
    I remember looking at the book ‘Everday Saints’ with my grandson who was very young at the time. He suddenly stopped at one particular image and kissed it. He said that he loved him. Just a photo of an elderly monk. From my grandson’s reaction to him, I do believe he is a saint.

    • On the Mystagogy web site there is a picture with the following caption (emphasis mine):

      “Once I brought a handmade icon from a convent, that represented Golgotha with three crosses. Bees ’embroidered’ with wax the entire surface of the composition, leaving one to clearly perceive the Cross of Christ and the Thief at his right hand while the thief on the left cross was covered with a thick layer of wax.”

    • Gail Sheppard says

      15,000 killer bees created a 75 lbs hive in my dad’s attic in Tucson and they didn’t pay attention to the topography or variation of in wood or surrounding debris. It just covered a huge section of the space.

      I don’t think I’ve ever even seen pictures of honeycombs that have missing sections like this. If it were cut, the edges would be cleaner. I wonder if some racoon or bird might have been attracted to the color underneath and separated it.

      But I’m actually not wondering “all that hard.” I believe what was said happened, happened.

  2. This is amazing! I remember seeing anther article, perhaps 1-2 years ago, at another monastery in Romania where this has happened. Glory be to God!

  3. Looks as if bees are smarter than humans.  

  4. GOA Priest says

    These are photos from an old book by Monk Simon entitled Ἡ Ζωοφιλία τῶν ἁγίων. I happen to have it on my bookshelf.

  5. For what it’s worth, when we were in Russia in 2018, we visited the Killing Fields, an area outside of Moscow where Stalin would send scores of prisoners to be shot every night, then buried in mass graves nearby.
    Here’s the thing:  the fields where the mass graves were located had dozens of trees lining them.  All of them were deformed.  Yet a few dozen yards away, all of the trees in that heavily forested area were just fine. 
    This would be the opposite of what the bees did in their honeycomb.  

  6. Linda Albert says

    One of the full length icons has a rounded projection of honeycomb on the right hand side of the icon. This is burr comb, irregular comb the bees build sometimes when there is extra space in the typical box hive. This cannot be faked, therefore that bee honored icon is genuine.

  7. Michael Bauman says

    Intriguing. I am not sure what it means exactly but I find it telling that this post on something beautiful gets few comments or discussion. Yet the posts on the ugliness in our world (and in our hearts?) get hundreds of comments.

    • Because true beauty is ineffable and needs no words.

    • Perhaps beauty is often contemplated in silence
      (eg: for Rublev’s Trinity, words are unnecessary);
      whereas ugliness is loudly protested against.

  8. Michael Bauman says

    Not comparable to Rublev but a small piece of beauty I have love for a long time from the play “The Lady’s Not For Burning”
    THOMAS:(talking to the woman with whom he is falling in love)
    “Nothing can be seen in the thistledown, but the rough-head thistle comes. Rest in that riddle. I can pass to you generations of roses in this wrinkled berry. (passing a rose hip). There. Now you hold in your hand a race of summer gardens. It lies under centuries of petals. What is not, you have in your palm. Rest in that riddle-rest. Why not? This evening is a ridiculous wisp of down blowing in the air as disconsolately as dust. And you have your own damnable mystery too which at this moment I could well do without!”

  9. Michael Bauman says

    The power of Christ is supreme. Case in point: my brother who is an Orthodox priest help lead a young man to Christ who was an enforcer in the Aryan Brotherhood.  He catechized the young man and baptized him while the young man was in prison.  The first time they met two guards brought the man to the meeting room. He had his arms shackled behind him, the guards offered to put the man in a separate cage because despite the shackles, the guards were afraid.  My brother found him conversant with Scripture and the Fathers
    He has formally renounced violence in a signed affidavit, now has a cellmate and before COVID was being prepared to reenter genpop.  He went through the beat down the Aryan Brotherhood requires to exit the Brotherhood.
    Here is the kicker: He chose as his saint Moses the Black and his baptismal name, Moses.
    God is good!