Miraculous firsthand stories of clairvoyant Orthodox Elders

Timket

Active member
This thread is for miraculous first-hand stories of Orthodox elders. If other Orthodox would like to add, please do so :)(y)

As we say at Liturgy on Sunday, "Let us commend ourselves, and each other, and all our lives unto Christ our God!"


"Elder Porphyrios and the Taxi-Driver"

At one time Elder Porphyrios and three other men had to go somewhere, so they decided to catch a taxi. Saint Porphyrios said to the three men, “As soon as we get into the taxi, please don’t say anything, not one word.”

They got into the taxi, and the taxi driver (seeing that the Elder was a monk) started ranting to the three men and saying bad things about the Church and priests, but the men kept quiet, not saying anything. The taxi driver wasn’t getting any response from them, so he started ranting to Saint Porphyrios. The Saint responded by saying, “Let me tell you a true story, my son. There was once an old man who had many acres of land. A certain person went and killed the old man, then he forged his own name on the title in order to claim the old man’s property, and then he sold it all. And you know what he bought with all the money? A taxi.”

The taxi driver slammed the breaks and stopped the car. He turned around and pleaded with Saint Porphyrios not to tell anyone - "Don’t say anything; only you and I know this!”
“God knows it too,” replied Saint Porphyrios. “He told me to tell you. And take care to change your life from here on out.”

(Source: Klitos Ioannides, "Elder Porphyrios - Testimonies and Experiences")
 

Timket

Active member
"Elder Paisios and the Pornographer"

(Background: Elder Paisios, now a saint in the Greek Orthodox Church, was a monk who lived on the secluded Mount Athos in Greece and counseled visitors whom he received. Many people had experiences similar to the one below.)

"The Elder changed many lives. I once met a man who told me that he used to make a great deal of money showing pornographic films. He was very suspicious of Christianity and, when he first heard about Elder Paisios, he supposed that he was a charlatan and decided to go to Mount Athos with two of his friends to 'expose that monk.' When they arrived, the elder received them in his yard, saying, 'Sit down and let me serve you something.' The elder served the other two gentlemen first, and then stood in front of the first man and turned the plate upside down, letting the pastry fall into the mud. 'I dropped it,' he said, 'but that doesn't matter. Pick it up and eat it anyway.' The fellow was insulted: 'How do you expect me to eat it when it's filthy?" The elder sternly replied, 'And why do you give people filth to eat?' Stunned, embarrassed, and in some fear, the man got up and left, but he went back again the next day and spoke with the elder. He told me he felt then as though the ground were shifting under his feet. The conversation was brief. 'What am I supposed to do?' he asked. The elder responded, 'First of all, shut down your business, then come back and talk to me again.' He returned to Thessaloniki, closed the business, and began to look for new work. After about a month, he again went to speak with Elder Paisios, who told him to confess his sins and taught him how to put his life in order spiritually."

(Source: Dionysios Farasiotis, "The Gurus, The Young Man, and Elder Paisios.")
 

Timket

Active member
Archbishop John and the Hospital Patients:

This story, and the two below it, talk about Archbishop John Maximovitch (1896-1966), the Russian Orthodox Bishop of Shanghai China and later San Francisco, California. He is now a saint in the Russian Orthodox church.

"Bishop John often visited prisons and celebrated the Divine Liturgy for the convicts. On one occasion in Shanghai, he was asked to give communion to a dying man in a Russian hospital. He took another priest with him. On his arrival he spotted a gregarious young man in his twenties, playing a harmonica. This lad was to be discharged the next day. Bishop John called to him and said: "I want to give you communion right now." The young man immediately confessed his sins and received communion. The astonished priest asked Bishop John why he did not go to the one dying, but tarried instead with an obviously healthy young man. John answered: "He will die tonight, and the other, who is seriously ill, will live many years." It happened just as he foretold.

Bishop John loved to visit the sick and did it every single day, hearing confessions and giving Holy Communion. If the condition of a patient should become critical, he would go to him at any hour of the day or night to pray at his bedside. Here is one undoubted miracle among the many worked by John's prayers; it was recorded and placed in the archives of the County Hospital in Shanghai:

L. D. Sadkovskaya was very much taken by the sport of horse racing. Once she was thrown off her horse; she hit her head on a rock and lost consciousness. She was brought to the hospital unconscious. A quorum of doctors agreed that her condition was hopeless and it was not likely that she would live until morning. Her pulse was almost gone; her skull was fractured in places so that small pieces of the skull were pressing on the brain. In such a condition she would die on the operating table. Even if her heart would tolerate surgery and the result were successful, she would still remain deaf, dumb, and blind.

Her sister, after hearing all this, rushed to Bishop John in despair and begged him to save her sister. He agreed. He came to the hospital and asked everyone to leave the room and prayed there for about two hours. Then he called the chief doctor and asked him to examine her again. How surprised the doctor was to discover that her pulse was normal! He agreed to perform the operation immediately, but only in the presence of the Bishop. The operation was successful, and the doctors were amazed when, after the operation, the patient regained consciousness and asked to drink. Soon she was released from the hospital and lived for many years a normal life."

(source: "Archbishop John the Wonderworker" by Bishop Alexander Mileant)
 
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Timket

Active member
Archbishop John and the Orphanage:

This story about Archbishop John Maximovitch (1896 - 1966) took place in Shanghai, China where he managed an orphanage with a Russian woman, Mrs. Maria Shakmatova. It was recorded by Fr. Herman Podmoshensky, who spoke with her:

The stories which Mrs. Shakhmatova told me opened my eyes to the highest calibre of righteousness, represented by Archbishop John.
"Once during the war," she said, "the poverty of the orphanage reached such immense proportions that there was almost nothing with which to feed the children, and there must have been at least ninety of them at that time. Our staff was indignant because Archbishop John kept bringing new children, some of whom had parents, and we were having to feed someone else's children. Such were his ways. One evening when he came to us worn out, tired, cold and silent - I could not resist telling him off. I said that we women could not tolerate this any longer ... I could not control myself and raised my voice in indignation. I not only complained, I was full of wrath at him for putting us through this. He looked sadly at me and said, 'What do you need?' I said, right off the bat, 'Everything, but at least some oatmeal. I have nothing to feed the children with in the morning."

Archbishop John looked at her sadly and went upstairs. Then she heard him making prostrations, so vigorously and loudly that even the neighbors complained. Pangs of conscience bothered her, and that night she couldn't sleep. She dozed off in the morning, only to be awakened by the doorbell. When she opened the door, there stood a gentlemen of English extraction who said that he represented some cereal company and that he had a surplus of oatmeal; and he wanted to know whether they could use it since he heard that there were children here. They began to bring in bags and bags of oatmeal. While this was going on, with the commotion of banging doors, Blessed John began to descend the staircase. Hardly could Mrs. Shakhmatova utter a word to him when she saw his glance. He said no word, but with his eyes, with one single glance, he reproached her for her unbelief. She said she could have fallen on her knees and kissed his feet, but he was already gone to continue his prayer to God - now prayers of thanksgiving.

(Source: Fr. Herman Podmoshensky: "The Price of Sanctity: Memories of Archbishop John Maximovitch")
 

Timket

Active member
The Clairvoyant Archbishop and the Man Near Death:

(taken from "Archbishop John the Wonderworker" by Bishop Alexander Mileant)

A remarkable incident from Bishop John's years in San Francisco (1963) illustrates several aspects of his holiness: his spiritual boldness based on absolute faith; his ability to see the future and to overcome by his spiritual sight the bounds of space; and the power of his prayer, which beyond all doubt worked miracles. The incident is related by the woman who witnessed it, Mrs. L. Liu; the exact words of the Bishop were confirmed by the Mr. T. who is mentioned:

"In San Francisco my husband was involved in an automobile accident and was seriously injured; he lost control of balance and suffered terribly. At this time Bishop John had many troubles. Knowing the power of the Bishop's prayers, I thought: "If I ask him to come to my husband, my husband would recover;" But I was afraid to do this because he was so busy then. Two days passed, and suddenly Bishop John came to us, accompanied by Mr. B. T., who had driven him. Bishop John stayed with us about five minutes, but I believed that my husband would recover. The state of his health was at its most serious point then, and after the Bishop's visit there was a sharp crisis and then he began to recover and lived four more years after this. He was quite aged. Afterwards I met Mr. T. at a Church meeting and he told me that he had been driving the Bishop to the airport. Suddenly the Bishop had said to him: "Let's go to the Liu's now." He had objected that they would be late for the plane and that he could not turn around at that moment. Then Bishop John had said: "Can you take the life of a man upon yourself?" He could do nothing but drive him to us. Bishop John, as it turned out, was not late for the plane."
 

Timket

Active member
Elder Porphyrios' clairvoyance over great distances

(Background: These two firsthand stories from Fr. Athanasios deal with the above-mentioned Elder Porphyrios, who was a monk and priest in Greece.)

"Once, when we were at New Skete [a monastery on Mt. Athos], we were hosting a Catholic monk who had come to Mt. Athos to learn more about how the monks live, the ascetic life and the general polity of Mt. Athos. We told him about Elder Porphyrios, and when he went to Athens he went to meet him.

When Elder Porphyrios saw him, without asking him anything, he began to describe this monk's monastery in Italy and their way of life there. He even described a neighboring convent. He saw all the monks and nuns there and mentioned each one of them in specific detail.

The monk was literally dumbfounded because it was the first time in his life that he had met such a man. When he returned to Mt. Athos, he told us, "If someone had told me about these things; that he had seen and heard these things, I would never believe it. How is it possible for this person who lives in Greece to describe our monastery in Northern Italy in detail, to tell me all those details, to tell me about the monks, to tell me about the nuns, each one of them individually?" As this monk told us, when he asked Elder Porphyrios how he was able to see all these things, he answered him: "God's grace reveals the mysteries to us, the Orthodox."

I had, as I told you, God's great blessing to meet him many times and to see events of his miraculous life up close. I'll tell you just one, as an example.

One day we went by boat to see the Elder at his monastery. He was sick, so we only visited him for a short while. We hardly spoke, and then he asked us to leave. Since we had only come for his blessing, we decided to leave his cell [i.e. his monastic quarters] immediately.

As we left his cell and walked down towards the main church - about a ten minute walk - we were joined by one of his monks. The monk thought that we were upset because the Elder had asked us to leave. At one point he said "Stay a little longer. It is morning, and usually the Elder does not feel very well in the morning. He feels much better in the afternoon. I believe that he'll be able to see you in the afternoon so that you won't have come for nothing."

As soon as he said this, the phone rang there where we were by the Church. The rector answered it, and called for the Elder's disciple, who had, as I told you, joined us. Elder Porphyrios wanted him on the telephone. So, he went to the telephone and answered it. He heard Elder Porphyrios say, "Why are you telling the visitors to stay until the afternoon when I’ll feel better and will be able to speak with them, since I've told them to leave? The sea will be stormy this afternoon and they won't be able to leave." We naturally obeyed and left immediately. And, indeed, a little while afterwards the sea was so rough that had we been in the boat we would have been in great danger.


(Source: Klitos Ioannides, "Elder Porphyrios - Testimonies and Experiences")
 

ziapueblo

Active member
This thread is for miraculous first-hand stories of Orthodox elders. If other Orthodox would like to add, please do so :)(y)

As we say at Liturgy on Sunday, "Let us commend ourselves, and each other, and all our lives unto Christ our God!"


"Elder Porphyrios and the Taxi-Driver"

At one time Elder Porphyrios and three other men had to go somewhere, so they decided to catch a taxi. Saint Porphyrios said to the three men, “As soon as we get into the taxi, please don’t say anything, not one word.”

They got into the taxi, and the taxi driver (seeing that the Elder was a monk) started ranting to the three men and saying bad things about the Church and priests, but the men kept quiet, not saying anything. The taxi driver wasn’t getting any response from them, so he started ranting to Saint Porphyrios. The Saint responded by saying, “Let me tell you a true story, my son. There was once an old man who had many acres of land. A certain person went and killed the old man, then he forged his own name on the title in order to claim the old man’s property, and then he sold it all. And you know what he bought with all the money? A taxi.”

The taxi driver slammed the breaks and stopped the car. He turned around and pleaded with Saint Porphyrios not to tell anyone - "Don’t say anything; only you and I know this!”
“God knows it too,” replied Saint Porphyrios. “He told me to tell you. And take care to change your life from here on out.”

(Source: Klitos Ioannides, "Elder Porphyrios - Testimonies and Experiences")
My daughters favorite Saint and chrismation name, Porphyria.
 

Timket

Active member
My daughters favorite Saint and chrismation name, Porphyria.

A wonderful choice and powerful intercessor! (y)


"Elder John Krestiankin"

Background: This story talks about Russian Orthodox priest and Elder John Krestiankin, who lived from 1910 - 2006. It was recorded by Fr. Tikhon Shevkunov in his book "Everyday Saints and Other Stories".

In worldly life, we are always surrounded by people willing to advise us from their own experience. Yet the people who would appear before Father John, usually at the most tragic and fateful moments of their lives, wanted to hear from him not just how to act wisely, but how to act with certainty, in the only correct way. To be precise, it was in his unique understanding of the will of God that this elder was different from all other people - even from renowned wise men, even from intellectual theologians, and even from the most experienced and wonderful priests.

I remember when I was still just a young novice, one of the pilgrims from Moscow walked up to me and told me a story that he had just witnessed himself. Father John had been racing to church, thronged as usual by a crowd of people desperate to speak with him. Suddenly a woman in tears, holding a three-year-old baby, threw herself across the path.

“Father, bless my baby before his operation - the doctors demand that it be done immediately in Moscow.”

Father John stopped and told the woman something that utterly shocked the pilgrims from Moscow: “Under no circumstances! He’ll die on the operating table. Pray, and take loving care of him, but do not do the operation under any circumstances. He will get well.”
Then Father John made the sign of the cross over the boy.


The story about the young boy and the operation reminds me of a similar incident that took place about ten years later. However, that incident ended up in a completely different manner.

In those years in Moscow there lived an unbelievably interesting and unique woman, Valentina Pavlovna Konovalova. She seemed to have walked straight out of the famous painting by Kustodiev - she was the spitting image of his portrait of the Moscow merchant woman that hangs in Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery. She was a widow of about sixty years of age, and was the director of a large grocery warehouse on Prospekt Mira in Moscow. Stout and intensely earthy, Valentina Pavlovna could generally be found presiding at a large managers’ table in her office.

Even during the severest epoch of Soviet anti-religious persecution, she kept framed paper reproductions of icons hanging on her office walls, and on the floor beneath her desk she kept a big cellophane bag stuffed full of cash. Valentina Pavlovna controlled this cash as she wished: sometimes, she would send her staff out to buy vegetables, and sometimes she would support beggars and wanderers and holy fools, many of whom gathered around her grocery warehouse for material support. Her staff was terrified of Valentina Pavlovna, but also loved her.

Often Valentina Pavlovna’s eye hurt. They thought it was nothing, just cataracts, which come with age. And so she happened to ask me whether I could ask for the blessing of Father John for a small operation she would be undergoing at the famous Fyodorov Ophthalmology Institute. Father John’s answer, I must admit, surprised me:

“No, no, not now - under no circumstances. Not now, let some time pass,” he insisted.

When I got back to Moscow I passed along his words to Valentina Pavlovna. She was very upset. The procedure had already been completely arranged at the Fyodorov Institute, an elite and prestigious institution whose services were not easy to come by. And so Valentina Pavlovna wrote a letter to Father John, explaining in detail and once again asking for his blessing for the operation, insisting that it was a very simple procedure, hardly even worth paying attention to.

Father John naturally knew just as well as she did how famous the Institute was and how safe operations on cataracts usually are. Yet having read the letter that she brought to me, he became extremely worried. I sat with the old priest for a long time, and in great distress he pleaded with me that no matter what, I must absolutely convince Valentina Pavlovna to refuse to undergo the operation at this time. He once again wrote her a long letter in which he simply implored her to listen to him. With all his authority as her spiritual counselor he blessed her decision to postpone the operation for a certain length of time. Later it would be all right, but not now…

It so happened that back then I had just received two weeks’ leave. For over ten years I had never had any free time, and therefore Father John blessed me to go to a sanatorium to rest in the Crimea for two weeks. He insisted that I must take Valentina Pavlovna with me. He wrote a special letter to her about this, insisting again that she undergo the operation later, a month after her vacation.

“If she goes through with the operation now, she will die,” Father John said sadly to me as I took leave of him.

But when I got back to Moscow, I realized that I had met my match. Talking to Valentina Pavlovna was like talking to a brick wall. Perhaps for the first time in her life, she rebelled against the wishes of her spiritual counselor. She raged that she had last been on vacation way back in her teens, and she seethed with rage:

“What other crazy idea has the Father gotten into his head? Vacation! And to whom am I supposed to leave the management of the warehouse?” She was truly indignant that Father John was “kicking up such a fuss” over a “routine procedure.” But as decisively as I could when it was my turn, I refused to listen to her, and told her that I was buying two vacation packages, and that we would be off to this nice sanatorium in the Crimea very soon. After a while it seemed that Valentina Pavlovna had agreed and calmed down.

Several days passed. I ordered two sanatorium packages (which were not hard to find at the end of autumn) and called the warehouse to inform Valentina Pavlovna of the date of our trip.

“Valentina Pavlovna is in the hospital,” her assistant told me. “They will be operating on her today.”

“What?” I screamed. “But Father John forbids it!”

It turns out that a couple of days before, a nun had stopped by the warehouse. In her secular job she was a doctor, and, having heard about the cataracts, she could not agree with the decision of Father John. Totally supporting Valentina Pavlovna’s desires, she had ignored Father John’s advice ... And so Valentina Pavlovna, quite content, went to the Fyodorov Ophthalmology Institute, counting on a simple operation, after which, in two or three days’ time, she would join me in the Crimea. However, during the operation she suddenly had a terrible stroke, and became completely paralyzed.

As soon as I heard of this, I rushed to telephone Father John’s cell attendant, the monastery steward Father Philaret. In certain emergencies, Father John came to Father Philaret’s cell and used his telephone.

“How could you have done such a thing? Why didn’t you listen to me?” Father John was practically in tears as he heard my distressing news. “If I really insist on something, it’s because I know what I’m saying!”

What could I say to him in reply? Nothing … I only asked how we could help now. Valentina Pavlovna was still unconscious. Father John begged me to go to the church and bring to his cell the reserved Holy Gifts (the Body and Blood of Christ reserved for ministration to the ailing), and without delay I was to take her confession and give her Holy Communion once she regained consciousness - whether it be day or night.

Through the nonstop prayers of Father John, Valentina Pavlovna regained consciousness the very next day. I was advised of this by her relatives, and within half an hour I was by her side in the hospital. She was brought into the intensive care unit of the hospital in a sort of metal stretcher. She was lying beneath a white sheet and was totally weak and helpless. When she saw me, she closed her eyes and cried. She could not speak. But no words were necessary to understand her confession. I read the prayer of absolution and gave her Holy Communion. We parted.

On the next day, she once again received Communion from Father Vladimir Chuvikin, who had baptized me. That very evening she died.

(Source: "Everyday Saints and Other Stories" by Fr. Tikhon Shevkunov)
 

Timket

Active member
"Don't telephone me again, because I have died"

Background: Below is a transcript from an interview in the book "Elder Porphyrios - Testimonies and Experiences". Elder Porphyrios lived from 1906 - 1991. The author Dr. Kleitos Ioannides ("K.I.") spoke with Mr. Panagiotis Sotirchos ("P.S.") who knew the Elder personally:

K.I.: Mr. Sotirchos, you had the good fortune to know Elder Porphyrios. We therefore ask you to talk about his personality and his holiness.

P.S.: The whole of Greece mourned the passing away of Elder Porphyrios, not just geographically, but universally, throughout the whole world. It's not only my personal opinion. All his spiritual students believed that. Elder Porphyrios is a holy person of great spiritual height, a true saint. All those who had the opportunity to know him well saw his sanctity in his silence, in his words and in his actions. I don't say Elder Porphyrios is a saint because I believe it but because I feel it. I can't help saying it. I can't put it any other way, because he had all the characteristics of a saint.
We've already been honored by God with signs of Elder Porphyrios' sanctity, not only while he was alive but immediately after his passing too. I give the following testimony:

There was a very well educated man here in Athens who was a spiritual student of Elder Porphyrios for many years. Whenever he had a problem he would go to see the elder or simply phone him up. When Elder Porphyrios passed away this man was absent on business and so hadn't learnt about his death. When he returned to Athens he came across a family problem and, as always, sought the Elder's advice. He picked up the telephone, dialed the Elder's number and heard Elder Porphyrios himself answer the phone.

He greeted him, sought his blessing and then went on to tell him about his problem and to ask for some advice. Elder Porphyrios told him what to do and what not to do. The man was pleased and said,

"I'll come and see you, Elder, as soon as I can." Elder Porphyrios then said,

"Don't telephone me again, because I have died."

K.I.: That's astonishing, Mr. Sotirchos, even to the point of being unbelievable.

P.S.: It really does appear to be unbelievable, Mr. Ioannides, but it's not unbelievable. It's simply a reflection of God's love. As a well-known monk from Mount Athos said, if we were truly able to know God's love for man, then, even now, we would be placed in paradise by it.

(Source: Dr. Klitos Ioannides, "Elder Porphyrios - Testimonies and Experiences")
 
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