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Father John the Romanian

Miracles of Fr. John the Romanian

From a talk by Archimandrite Panteleimon

by Monk Ioasaph

     The following account is taken from a talk given by Archimandrite Panteleimon, Abbot of Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline, Massachusetts:

     Fr. Panteleimon visited Fr. John not long before the latter's blessed repose, having been taken to him by Fr. Ioannikios, the disciple of Fr. John who used to bring him bread from the Monastery of St. George. When they arrived at the caves, Fr. John was there to meet them, for in his clarivoyance he had known of their coming without being informed of it. In addition to the fact of Fr. John's clairvoyance, we here describe one of the miracles which have been wrought by the power of his prayer.

     The area in which Fr. John lived was very mountainous. However, near the cave which served as his dwelling there was a place which was composed principally of gravel banks. As he was about to depart, Fr. Panteleimon asked Fr. John whether there had been any earthquakes in those parts which could have caused a mountain to crumble. He was told the following, and it was later confirmed by many in Jerusalem. One night, while at prayer, Fr. John heard much noise outside his cave. Many times before, the demons had attempted to frighten him by hurling boulders down the cliffs. Or it might also have been caused by wild animals. So Fr. John continued to say his prayers and was not at all distracted by the noises. In the morning, however, he saw that the noise had not been caused by demons, wild animals, or the many birds that have for centuries made their abode in some of the caves.

     Equipped with small lanterns, men had worked during the night, putting up rope ladders and climbing into the caves. They had begun to dig down under the bird dung which had accumulated in the caves to find whatever they could. They especially wished to uncover mosaic floors, crosses on the walls, and tools that the fathers of old might have used. Such objects, if found, could then be sold for a great deal in antique shops.

     In one cave they had come upon the remains of the fathers. Indeed, many skulls and bones of the holy fathers are to be found in this group of caves. The men were upset that their efforts had yielded only bones, for one could not get any money for mere bones, so they cast the skulls and bones down into the gully.

     On beholding the evidence of this sacrilege the following morning, Fr. John was terribly grieved, for the bones of the fathers had rested there for as many as twelve or fourteen centuries. After reflecting on the psalms: "O God, the heathen are come into Thine inheritance, they have defiled Thy holy temple", and further: "They have made the dead bodies of Thy servants to be food for the birds of heaven, the flesh of Thy saints for the beasts of the earth" [Ps. 79], he then lifted up his hands and wept before the Lord. "O Lord," he said, "cover us and our transgressions, for we are sinful, and forgive us for our indolence and our audacity which has not left even the fathers buried. Cover again the bones of Thy holy ones so that they receive no further desecration." Then, the mountain moved and covered all the bones of those holy fathers. And now they will not again be disturbed until the general resurrection, for they now lie covered by a grave of gravel.

Source: Orthodox Life, Vol. 30, No. 6 (November-December 1980), pages 18-20.
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