The Cross


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


Martyrdom Before the Crucifix


Third in her ‘series’ of Cross-related visions, Abbess Thaisia sees a Crucifix. Always these visions take place in the midst of heavy trials and tribulations, when she begins to lose heart and starts to languish… Here, the Holy Hierach St. Nicholas visits her to sternly admonish her. Below follows another except from her Autobiography:

“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 Fool-for-Christ and the Cross

St symeon full for Christ

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?



The Cross-Baptism

abbess thaisia

Excerpt from the Autobiography by Abbess Thaisia:

“… I fell asleep.

I saw myself entering a church or chapel (I do not know which) of modest size, from the south side. In the middle, as if facing the altar, there were standing three figures, all of the same size, clothed the sake, and alike in everything. I was at a loss to name them. They looked like human beings, but their heads were surrounded by something like a mist. I could not see them clearly. Besides me and them, nobody else was there. The church was empty. I became curious about these beings. Rather boldly, I began to approach them, first from one side, then from the other, trying to find out who they were. When I drew near to their right, the one standing there asked me, “What convent is this?” I replied, “The Convent of the Entrance into the Temple”. He asked me again, “How long have you lived here?” I answered, “Three years.” Then he said, “You have lived three years in this convent already, and still you do not know its name.” I began to argue, saying that I well knew the name of my convent. “It is the Convent of the Entrance into the Temple.” Then he beckoned me to come nearer, and went on, “If you do not know the name of your convent, I will tell you. It is the Convent of the Cross-Baptism.” At this moment I saw his head. It was like the head of our Saviour, as it is seen in the icons. With His left hand He was holding an enormous wooden Cross, as if He was leaning against it, and with His right Hand He lightly touched my shoulder. Tapping it gently, He said, “I tell you, it is the Convent of the Cross-Baptism. Do you not understand? Then I will explain it to you. Just as a Christian child is baptised through the water and the Spirit, and is not able to become a Christian otherwise, so a child-monk must be baptised through the Cross. Otherwise he cannot become a monk. Do you understand me now?” While He was speaking, I recognised Him as Christ, and full of joy and tender feeling, I exclaimed, “Truly, O my Lord, I do understand that I have to endure everything for the sake of Thy Cross.” I awoke with the same feeling of joy and tender feeling. My shoulder seemed to still feel the gentle tapping of His Hand. I was quite renewed  spiritually, and all my dark mood vanished as though it had never been there at all”

Elder Ephraim’s Prayer Diary of the Great Lent (II)

elder efraim2

February 29, 1980 [3rd Thursday of Lent]

I feel sinful and dirty. The true awareness of my nothingness greatly helps me to see God.
“Thou shalt gladden him in joy with Thy face” (Ps. 20:6). Oh, that divine face! It has Eros and Beauty from the Glory, from the supremely radiant Light of the Trinity’s effulgence. This is what the transcendent Beauty of God is: a divine electrification and contact with God the Father, His humility and condescension. Oh, how unlimited the humility and simplicity of God is! The humility and condescension of the awesome God astounds and overwhelms me! How filthy and dirty man is! Even though he has so many sins and is so guilty, he feels haughty and behaves egotistically. There is nothing stupider than this.
The angels are celebrating in heaven, dressed in white with inconceivable beauty within the supremely  bright light of God. They are chanting — and what are they chanting! Their hymns are pure bliss. But that which makes them stay in this blessed state is the grace of humility and true self-knowledge.
Unfortunately, I am proud, which is why I lack this joy and grace. Like a helpless creature, like a thirsty deer, I seek, cry out, and long to be watered by the true Fountain —  my God  —  with a divine drink, with the water springing up into eternal life (cf. Jn. 4:14). “When shall I come and appear before the face of my God?” (cf. Ps. 41:2) I weep, seeking my God. When I touch Him, I feel him and weep. But how this is happening, I do not know; one thing I do know, and that is that I feel Him as much as He wants and corresponding to the humility I feel for my dirty self. My God and Father, open the eyes of my blind soul to see my nature, the nothingness of my nothingness, and through it to see You, the most lovely Light, Who gives eternal life to mortal man. Enlighten my darkness, O divine, lovely Light.


For the first part of his Lenten Diary, go to Elder Ephraim’s Prayer Diary of the Great Lent (I)