A young couple once visited St. Gabriel (Urgebadze). The woman was pregnant. St. Gabriel blessed them and said, “My dears, be aware, a child understands everything, therefore read the word of God to him, so he will grow up properly from the very beginning.”
The husband was amazed by what St. Gabriel said and asked, “Yes, but Father, I don’t even understand what’s said through a half-closed door, so how will a child in the womb understand?”
St. Gabriel looked at the woman and addressed the child in his mother’s womb: “Hello baby, I ask you—do you hear the word of God?”
He had just finished saying it when the child began to move so much that the mother grabbed her stomach and couldn’t hide her emotions. Her husband, amazed and already believing what St. Gabriel had said, looked at his wife, astounded.
A meeting of Saint Nektarios with a clairvoyant hermit on Mount Athos. Also, a recent miracle of the Saint in Romania.
St. Nektarios enjoys wide popularity amongst Orthodox throughout the world, yet his popularity in Romania has gained over the past few years. Portions of his relics can even be found in such places as Putna Monastery, Radu Voda Monastery in Bucharest, the Church of the Holy Hierarch Nektarios in Iasi, and the Hermitage of Saint John and Nektarios in Bradetu, Arges. Why do so many Romanians venerate Saint Nektarios and go to pilgrimage to his Monastery in Aegina? All this seems to be related to a recent, miraculous “visit” of the Saint to a village in Romania.
Below is the account as it was told by Romanians to Greeks:
“In a village of Romania there was no priest and the residents often went to the Patriarch with the problem in order to fill the empty spot. However the Patriarch did not have the means of satisfying the demand. The villagers often went to the Patriarch, but he would say the same thing, that he did not have a priest to send to the village.
Meanwhile people died unread (no funeral service), others had relationships and children without marriage vows, and the children and adults alike were unbaptized.
Then one day, outside of the church, a car stopped and out stepped a priest. The village was astonished and yelled out that a priest had come.
The villagers went to the church to greet him and asked him, “How did you come to the village after our Patriarch had said that he doesn’t have a priest to send us?”
The priest answered, “Isn’t this what you wanted? Did you not want a priest? Here I am.”
All the villagers were glad in the presence of the new priest.
The priest began immediately working. He went to all the graves and read the funeral service. He baptized and married everyone in the village and administered Holy Communion.
One day he invited all the villagers to church and told them, “I will leave now, my mission is done.”
The villagers were confused and asked, “Now that you came, you are leaving?”
However the priest did not listen to the villagers and proceeded with his decision.
When the villagers realized that their wasn’t anything they could do, they thanked him for his offering.
After a few days, the villagers went to the Patriarch and they thanked him for sending them a priest and to let him know that they would appreciate it if he could send them another priest soon, but the Patriarch didn’t know anything.
He said to them, “I didn’t send a priest because I don’t have one, however let me check with the chancellor to see if he had sent a priest to you to serve your needs.”
He phoned the chancellor, but he too didn’t send anyone.
The Patriarch inquired, “What did this priest do in your parish?”
The villagers answered, “He married us, baptized us, performed funerals for our parents, he did what any other priest would have performed for us.”
Then the Patriarch asked, “Well, didn’t he gave you any papers or log the Mysteries.
“Of course,” said the villagers, “he gave us papers and he wrote them in the church’s books.”
“Then did anyone see what he wrote? And with what name he signed?”
“All the documents were written in Romanian and we are not well educated and the signature he signed in a language we have not seen before.”
The Patriarch requested they go bring the books in order to see who was this clergyman.
When they returned with the book the Patriarch remained speechless. He couldn’t believe his eyes.
Indeed all the documents were written in Romanian while his name was written in Greek with the name of his signature,
Nektarios, Bishop of Pentapolis
For the original sources of the miracle and further information, all translated by John Sanidopoulos, go to Mystagogy.
Fourth in her ‘series’ of Cross-related visions, Abbess Thaisia sees a Cross. This is not a dream like the others before, but a vision while awake. Always these visions take place in the midst of heavy trials and tribulations, when she begins to lose heart and starts to languish:
“Once, during the period of labours and sorrows when I was beginning to put the community in good order, I was sitting in my study, all alone. All the doors were closed. Everyone had gone to bed, and I was preparing to do the same–yet I continued to sit there–I don’t know why. I was putting off going to sleep. I was not praying, nor was I thinking of anything special. There was something heavy on my heart, something very heavy, and there was silence in my heart and soul. Suddenly, in the middle of my cell, I saw a large wooden cross standing on the floor, so large that it almost reached the ceiling. (Evidently this was not a dream, for I was awake–I was just sitting, conscious of everything around me.) At the place where the horizontal and vertical beams met, there was something like a bloody, red, oblong fastening. seeing the cross, I did not become afraid; I crossed myself, and involuntarily thought, ‘How large it is! How will I be able to carry it?’ Then I heard these words, as if coming from the cross itself: ‘You will lift it and carry it, for My strength is made perfect in weakness!’
I considered that this was sent either to strengthen me in my sorrowful life, or to warn me of still greater sorrows to come. Although I felt some sadness, I accepted this with equanimity. I was ready to endure any suffering for the good of the community, and, through it, for the glorifying of the Name of God.”
For Abbess Thaisia’ first vision, go to The Cross-Baptism
For her second vision, go to The Fool-For-Christ and the Cross
Finally, for her third vision, go to Martyrdom Before the Crucifix
“Then once I had a dream. I was walking along a road in an open field. I had to turn right, but there was no path in that direction; there were only beds of planting vegetables, very long ones. They looked as they do in autumn after the vegetables have been harvested, and the furrows between the beds were dirty and wet. I stopped and considered how to turn right. To go along the furrows would mean getting dirty and wet, but to walk across the beds would be a muddy, sticky business. Suddenly, I saw an old bishop coming in my direction with a staff in his hand. I thought, ‘I’ll wait and see, and whichever way he goes I will go too.’ Coming close to me, he said: ‘Come with me, I will show you the way.’ Leaning on his staff with his left hand, he took me with his right hand and led me along a bed, saying: ‘Although it’s muddy and you will often get stuck, the path is high; look how much dirt and water there is along the low path.’ We walked together for a long time. He continued preaching, and I talked to him without fear, although I recognised him as St. Nicholas. Finally we came to some church or chapel (I don’t remember which), and went in. Inside was a large Crucifix, and on the right, hanging on the wall, was an icon of St. Parasceva. I began to prostrate myself before the Crucifix. As soon as I touched the floor with my head, the holy man struck me on the neck with such force that I thought he would chop my head off. I had hardly recovered when another blow followed, and then another, and so on to five. ‘Why is he beating me?’ I asked myself. ‘Does he really want to chop my head off? But why would he want to do that?’ ‘Don’t argue, don’t act wise,’ he answered my thought. ‘If I struck you, it was because I had to. You have forgotten that one must obey without arguing. You don’t have to show off your knowledge.’ I stood up, and the holy hierarch looked at me, smiling kindly. He pointed at the icon of martyr Parasceva, saying: ‘Here she is, the bride of Christ. She allowed her head to be cut off as an offering to her Bridegroom; whereas you are unable to suffer even a little, and you keep on philosophising while you still don’t possess spiritual wisdom. Humble yourself; endure, and you will be saved.’ “
For her first Vision-Encounter with our Lord’s Cross, go to The Cross-Baptism
For her second Vision-Encounter with our Lord’s Cross, go to The Fool-for-Christ and the Cross
The miracle displayed in the video below is the traditional mark of authenticity of any splinter of wood which people might claim to be a segment of the true Holy Wood. The video shows a monk from Mount Athos placing the splinter of the Holy Wood in a glass of water. Initially, the splinter naturally floats, but after the monk says the Trisagion prayer, Psalms 50 and 142 , and makes the sign of the Cross three times with this splinter on the water, when he places it in the water again, the splinter sinks to the bottom.
The monk also displays a fragrant relic of St. Haralambos towards the end for veneration.
This is the second of many such visions Abbess Thaisia had. Predominantly with the Cross. Another excerpt from her Autobiography:
“I dreamt that I was walking along a road together with some other sisters. We were in an open place, passing by many fields, and we were walking two by two, in full monastic dress. All of a sudden, I saw two men crossing the field and coming towards us from the side. One of them looked like a monk; he was clad in a mantia and had a kamilavka on his head, the veil of which covered his face. He was holding a cross in his hands, like one who has just made his vows. The other one who was walking alongside the monk looked like a beggar. He wore a ripped shirt, and his hair was all disheveled. He was like a Fool-for-Christ; he kept leaping and jumping, and at the same time he was eating a piece of white bread that he was holding. Coming near to us, he seemed to tease us with his piece of bread, and he kept on leaping, looking at us with a smile. The monk was walking with his eyes lowered, and seemed to be completely immersed in his inner thoughts. I fixed my attention on them. When I looked around, my companions had all disappeared somewhere. I was standing alone in the middle of the road. Meanwhile, the two men came near and began walking by my side. The Fool-for-Christ looked at me intently, at first in silence, and then he said: “‘What are you thinking about? Crry your cross, like brother John is doing. Look at me, how I am leaping, carefree and gay, while I eat my piece of bread. You leap, too! Keep leaping along your way! Do people laugh at you? So what? Keep leaping, like Symeon the Fool-for-Christ! Keep leaping! Here is the church now, quite near!’ With these words, he indeed went leaping through the doors of a church we had inadvertently drawn near to. John followed him silently. I woke up. This is how I came to explain this dream: there is no need to seek salvation through complicated and tortuous ways. Instead, with a simple heart, one must walk along the path shown by Divine providence, not paying any attention to other people’s jeers and gossip, just carrying one’s monastic cross.”
For her first vision of our Saviour’s Cross, go to The Cross-Baptism. In my opinion, both of her visions are quite relevant for non-monastics too. Don’t you think so?