St. Alexander of Svir

and His Holy Relics

 

     In 1998, the incorrupt relics of St. Alexander of Svir were discovered. They are now located in the reopened Svir Monastery. They continue to work miracles for those who pray before them with faith. On the occasion of the publishing of the third edition of The Northern Thebaid, which contains the complete Life of St. Alexander, we are presenting the following brief Life of the Saint, together with accounts of the first and second uncovering of his wonderworking relics and his Akathist. This material has been translated from books recently published in Moscow, and is appearing here in English for the first time.

A BRIEF LIFE OF ST. ALEXANDER OF SVIR

[Translated from The Marvelous Wonderworker of All Russia, Holy Venerable Alexander of Svir (St. Petersburg: Holy Trinity Monastery of St. Alexander of Svir, 2002) in Russian.]

     Saint Alexander was born on June 15, 1448, in the village of Mandera on the River Oyat in Novgorod, Russia. The village was situated opposite the Ostrov Monastery of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple. The future saint was named Amos in holy baptism. His parents, Stephen and Bassa, were pious peasants of limited means, and they gave their children a Christian upbringing. When Amos came of age, his parents wanted him to marry, but he thought only about how to leave the world for the sake of his soul's salvation.

   
 

      Early in his life he learned of the Monastery of Valaam, and of­ten brought it to mind. Finally, according to the will of God, he met some monks from Valaam. Their conversation about the holy monastery, their rule of prayer, and the three types of monastic life [anchoritic, skete, coenobitic] continued for a long time. And so, inspired by this conversation, Amos conceived the idea of going to Valaam, the "Athos of the North." Having asked his parents' blessing to travel to a nearby vil­lage, he left them for good and set out on his way. After crossing the River Svir, on the bank of Lake Roshinsk the Saint heard a myste­rious voice which informed him that he would later build a mon­astery on that spot, and a great light overshadowed him. When he ar­rived at Valaam he was accepted by the abbot, who tonsured him with the name Alexander in 1474. He was then twenty-six years of age.

     The zealous novice began to labor at physical work, obedience, fasting, and prayer. After some time had passed his father arrived at Valaam, seeking him. The Saint succeeded not only in calming his up­set father, but in convincing both him and his mother to receive the monastic tonsure. The parents were obedient to their son. Stephen was tonsured with the name Sergius, and Bassa with the name Barbara. Their graves are revered even to this day in the Oyat Monastery, which is again functioning.

     Alexander continued to labor ascetically on Valaam, astonishing the strictest of the Valaam monks by the severity of his life. At first he la­bored in the common life, and then in stillness on an island now called Holy Island, spending ten years there. To the present day there is pre­served on Holy Island his narrow, damp cave, which can accommodate one man only with difficulty. The grave that St. Alexander dug for him­self is likewise preserved there. Once, when standing at prayer, St. Alex­ander heard a Divine voice: "Alexander, depart from hence and go to the place which was shown you before, in which you can be saved." A great jghr indicated to him a place to the southeast, on the bank of the river Svir. This was in 1485. There he found "a pine forest of great beauty, the place being full of trees and lakes and beautiful in all directions, and here no one among men has yet lived." The Saint erected a hut on the bank of Lake Roshinsk.

    Holy Lake lay one third of a mile further, and v.-as separated from him by Stremnino Hill. He spent several years there in total solitude, feeding himself not with bread but with the greens that grew there. God revealed His luminary to the boyar Andrew Zavalishin (subsequently St. Adrian of Ondrusov) and through him to many oth­ers. The monastery began to grow, and the report of its superiors gifts of clairvoyance and his healing of physical and spiritual infirmities quickly spread throughout the whole neighboring land. The Orthodox people glorified Alexander of Svir as a saint even during his lifetime.

   
 

  In the twenty-third year of the Saint’s life in the wilderness, a great light appeared in his room, and he saw three men enter. They were clothed in radiant garments and illumined with a heavenly glory brighter than the sun. The Saint fell to the ground, but They took him by the hand and raised him up. From Their lips the Saint heard the command: "Beloved, as you see the One speaking to you in Three Per­sons, build a church in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Trinity One in Essence.... I leave you My peace, and My peace I grant unto you," 

   A chapel was later built on the site of the appearance of the Holy Trinity, and to this day men's souls tremble at this spot when they think about the near­ness of God to His people. One is amazed that, in light of the abun­dance of Divine visitations vouchsafed St. Alexander, he al­ways remained a humble monk, desiring in all things to serve the brethren and the simple villagers who came to the monastery.

   Several years before the Saint's repose God placed in his heart the good thought of con­structing a stone church in honor of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos with a refectory. Once at night, when the founda­tion had already been laid, after the completion of his usual rule of prayer the Saint saw an extraordi­nary light illumining the whole monastery. In the already-begun church of the Protection, at the site of the altar the Most Pure Theotokos was sitting with the Pre-eternal Child in royal glory upon a throne, surrounded by a throng of the bodiless heavenly host. The Saint fell to the earth upon his face before the majesty of her glory, for he could not look upon the brilliance of this inexpressible light. Then the Most Pure Lady commanded him to rise and consoled him with the promise that she would remain inseparable from the monastery and would aid those living there in all their needs, both during St. Alexander's life and after his death.

 

 


 

 

      A year before the Saint's repose he summoned all the brothers and declared to them that the time was approaching for his passage from this mournful and sorrowful temporal life into the next life, eternal, painless and ever-joyful. He desig­nated four hieromonks—Isaiah, Nicodemus, Leontius and Herodion — and commanded that his successor as abbot be chosen from among them. Thereafter, until his repose, he did not cease to instruct his brethren in a God-pleasing life. St. Alexander reposed on Au­gust 30, 1533, at the age of eighty-five. In accordance with his testament, he was buried in the far hermitage, near the Church of the Lord's Transfiguration, behind the right side of the altar. In 1547, only fourteen years after his re­pose, he was numbered among the saints.

Those with various ailments, who have come to his holy relics and venerated him with faith, have received abundant healings: the blind have regained their sight, paralytics have received strength in their limbs, and those suffering from other illnesses have received complete healing. Demons have been cast out from the possessed, and the barren have conceived children.

Wondrous is our All-good God in His saints, Who has glorified His servant in this temporal life, working signs and miracles by his hand. And even after his death He has deigned to place his honorable and holy body in His Church that it might shine there like a great bea­con by its most glorious miracles.

 

 

 


THE FIRST UNCOVERING OF THE HOLY RELICS OF ST. ALEXANDER

[Translated from The Holy Venerable Alexander of Svir (Moscow: Palomnik, 2003), in Russian.]

    The first uncovering of the holy relics of St. Alexander of Svir in 1641 — 108 years after the Saint's repose — has been described by Monk Athanasius of the Svir Monastery. In 1905 Fr. Athanasius wrote:

   During the reign of the pious and Christ-loving Tsar and Great Prince Michael Fyodorovich, Autocrat of all Russia, and of his son, the right-believing Tsarevich and Great Prince Alexei Mikhailovich, Abbot Abramius of the Svir Monastery had the good thought of building a stone church over the body of St. Alexander. The existing wooden church was too narrow and had fallen into disrepair. The brethren were in agreement with this, and so they addressed the Tsar with a request for permission to build the church. The Tsar complied with their request, generously donating funds for the construction.

 

In the year 7149 from the creation of the world, and 1641 from the Nativity of Christ, in accordance with the royal decree the monks of the Svir Monastery pulled down the old church dedicated to our venerable rather Alexander, which contained a memorial over the place where his body was buried. At that time there took place an awesome miracle, wor­thy of astonishment, which in turn led to a great sign from the God-pleaser. On the evening of April 15, the Thursday before Palm Sunday, during the work period there was suddenly an extraordinary burst of lightning and thunder. The lightning struck the earth and did not disappear immediately as usually happens, but shone there for a long time. This manifestation was repeated on Friday. Then on April 17, Lazarus Saturday, while the Divine Liturgy was being celebrated, the work­ers were digging the ditches for the walls of the new stone church [The new church, dedicated to the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ, was ruler with two side altars: the one on the right dedicated to the holy hierarch St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, and the one on the left to our venerable father Alexander the Wonderworker of Svir…] on the site of the old church. When they began digging the ditch for the front wall, they found a coffin on the eastern side of the church, near where the altar of the old wooden church had stood. The earth over the coffin was formed like a cave, with nothing supporting it. Seeing this, the workers — frightened and amazed at the wondrous way the earth was posi­tioned over the coffin — were perplexed as to what to do.

 

      It happened at this time that Hieromonk Elisha of the Svir Monastery was passing by and, seeing them standing there for a long time in bewilderment and not doing anything, asked them, "Why are you standing there and not working?" They asked him to look at the cof­fin, which was an object of such amazement to them. Fr. Elisha, ap­proaching them and seeing this most glorious miracle — that the earth was formed like a cave around the coffin yet was unsupported — signed himself with the sign of the Cross and with great care slightly lifted the top board of the coffin, which had already rotted. When he saw in the coffin a body which was whole and not in the least decayed, and the clothing likewise whole and undamaged, he fell into great fear, believ­ing that these were the relics of St. Alexander. Having replaced the board, he quickly headed to the monastery and informed Abbot Abramius and all the brethren.

At that time the abbot was celebrating the Divine Liturgy. After the completion of the service, he quickly set out with the brothers to look at the wondrous manifestation. When the monastery workers heard about it, each one left his work and, outrunning one another, with great zeal rushed to behold the wonder. The weather that day had become quite calm and pleasant. When all had arrived at the founda­tion of the church, the abbot was shown the coffin. Going down with the hieromonks into the ditch, he removed the top board of the coffin. A sweet fragrance from the Saint's relics permeated the air, so that the entire area was filled with the scent. All saw the body of St. Alexander ly­ing there, whole and incorrupt, covered by a mantia and schema in ac­cordance with the monastic rule. His cowl also was completely whole, and a portion of the Saint's beard could be seen under the schema. The feet lay like those of a recently reposed man: the front of the right foot faced up, while the left foot was turned to the side. Both feet were clad in sandals. Fragrant myrrh, similar in scent to certain flowers, poured from his body like water. Seeing this, all present were filled with awe and joy, and glorified Almighty God, Who is glorified in His saints.

The abbot immediately ordered a new coffin to be brought, since the old one had decayed. Only the bottom board of the old coffin, on which the body of St. Alexander had lain, remained whole. When the hieromonks had vested the Saint's holy relics in priestly raiment, they laid him in the new coffin and, while chanting Psalms and other sacred hymns, bore him to the Church of St. Nicholas, which was located there in the far hermitage. Many healings of a great variety of diseases were granted to those who with faith had recourse to the holy relics of St. Alexander. A description of one such healing follows. A certain monk named Cyril was there, the natural brother of Abbot Abramius. This monk had suffered for several years from a hernia ind was already approaching the end of his life. When the relics of St. Alexander were uncovered, he went to the site and, taking some earth from the spot where the wondrous body of the Saint had lain, rubbed the earth on his abdomen and straightway received healing. He regained his health, as though he had never been ill.

Soon after the opening of the relics, Abbot Abramius sent the aforementioned Hieromonk Elisha to Novgorod, to Metropolitan Aphthonius, with a written report concerning the finding of the relics of St. Alexander and the miracles that proceeded therefrom.

The metropolitan, hearing of this, was astonished that after the passage of so many years the Saint's relics were whole and incorrupt. Glorifying God, he reported this to the Sovereign, Tsar Michael Fyodorovich. The Tsar greatly rejoiced, hearing such news, and ordered Metropolitan Aphthonius to examine the relics. That same year, on August 29, the metropolitan of Novgorod arrived at the Monastery of the Holy Life-giving Trinity, accompanied by Archimandrite Paphnutius of the Khutyn Monastery, Abbot Euthymius of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, Abbot Joseph of the Saint

 

 

Nicholas Monastery at Vyazhits, and all the clergy of the St. Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod. On the eve of Au­gust 30, the day of the commemoration of our holy and God-bearing fa­ther Alexander, the Metropolitan and the assembled clergy celebrated the All-night Vigil in the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, v. herein the wonderworking relics reposed.

As morning approached, just before the celebration of the Divine liturgy, the hierarch began a Moleben with the Blessing of Water, after which he ordered that St. Alexander's coffin be opened in the presence of ill the clergy. When the coffin was opened, the hierarch reverently drew near to it and everyone saw the venerable one, looking not like one who had died many years earlier, but like one newly reposed, and they were struck with awe. The hierarch ordered that all the bells be rung. Bending over the Saint, he uncovered the Saint's face with his own hands and removed the holy schema and paraman from the Saint. When the metropolitan and all the clergy saw the Saint's face, they were filled with fear and great as­tonishment, and shed many tears. Ar­chimandrite Paphnutius and Abbot Euthymius uncovered the Saint's breast and his arms up to the elbows. The hierarch looked long and attentively at the Saint's relics and at an icon of him showing his miracles, which had been painted many years earlier. Then Met­ropolitan Aphthonius and all the clergy cried out, "Truly, this is our venerable father Alexander the Wonderworker!" After this, the hierarch replaced the paraman and schema.

The archimandrite and abbots implored the metropolitan to remove a small portion of the relics as a blessing for the pious Tsar. He agreed to their request and cut a small piece from the lower edge of the Saint's schema. Then he ordered that the coffin be closed and completed the Divine Liturgy.

 

Almighty God, Whose good will it was to attest to the truth of the man­ifestation of the relics of the Saint, added yet another miracle. On the very day that the hierarch examined the rel­ics of St. Alexander, at nine o'clock in the evening a most wondrous light shone in the sky and illumined that spot for a long time, although the night was quite dark. This sign was seen by Metropolitan Aphthonius and all who were present in the Saint's monastery, and they glorified God, saying, "Glory to Thee, O Holy King, for Thou dost look down upon this sacred place and dost glorify Thy Saint, the venerable Alexander!" This wondrous sign continued until midnight.

After the hierarch's return to Novgorod he sent a description of what had transpired to Tsar Michael Fyodorovich, along with the piece of the Saint's schema. The pious Tsar received this relic as a most pre­cious gift and rejoiced greatly that it was during his reign that the Lord God had deigned to reveal the relics of His Saint. In 1644 he ordered that a gilded silver reliquary be prepared, and sent it to the Monastery of the Life-giving Trinity. At the same time, he ordered Metropolitan Aphthonius and his clergy to consecrate the newly built Church of the Lord's Transfiguration and to transfer the relics of the Saint there and place them in the new reliquary that he was sending.

 

The royal gift was brought to the monastery that same year on December 4, on which day the Metropolitan and his clergy also ar­rived. After the evening service, the hierarch and the assembled clergy processed to the St. Nicholas Church, wherein lay the holy relics. Ac­companied by the chanting of hymns, they reverently transferred the Saint's relics to the new church. At the end of the All-night Vigil, during the singing of the Great Doxology, the hierarch placed the relics in the new silver reliquary. On the following day the new church was con­secrated, after which the Divine Liturgy was served.

For all this, brethren, let us offer up thanks to God, saying, "Glory to Thee, O Lord our God, for Thou hast vouchsafed us to see such a treasure, hidden for many years, and hast not deprived us of such a great gift, of our venerable father. And we beseech Thee: as Thou hast deigned to reveal to us the incorrupt relics of our Saint for the healing of our souls and bodies, likewise vouchsafe us in the future age to inherit Thy good things with him. Amen."

Among the numerous miraculous healings that took place soon after the opening of the relics of the God-pleaser, we cite the following:

1. healing of the possessed youth dimitry (june 15, 1651)

     About four and a half miles from the city of Olonets, above the river Olonka, stood the Church of Christ's Nativity. Not far from that church, in the village of Geitolitsa, lived a man named Zachariah, who had descended to dire poverty. He had a son named Dimitry. This boy, by the unfathomable decree of God, had from early childhood been under the power of an unclean spirit which at times cast him down, and at other times twisted all his members to such a degree that he foamed at the mouth. This evil demon had tormented him for thirteen or more years.

His father, seeing the grievous sufferings of his son, prayed with anguish to the Lord God and His Most Pure Mother, from the depths of his heart, and with bitter tears, also calling upon the holy father Alexander the Wonderworker of Svir for help. After the passage of some time they both set out for the Monastery of the Most Holy Trinity to pray at the healing relics of the venerable father Alexander. But when they reached the Saint's monastery, the unclean spirit began to torment the boy severely, so that great fear fell upon all who saw him, and be­cause of this none would agree to allow him into their cells. At the superior's order they were given a separate cell outside the monastery wall, where they lived for some time praying to St. Alexander the Wonderworker. The speedy helper and physician, always ready for obedience, appeared to the suffering youth in the following manner: Once, when he was sitting in the cell, the boy saw St. Alexander a short distance away, coming through the trees near his church, and walking across the lake upon the water. Encouraged by hope, he began to call upon the Saint mentally for his healing. The Saint, coming to the cell, said, "Child Dimitry—if you wish to receive healing, promise to abide here in this monastery with the Holy Trinity until your repose and to labor for the brethren, and the Lord will heal you of this sickness."

With tears the young man fell at the feet of the venerable one, promising to do this. The Saint immediately became invisible, and from that time on the youth was perfectly healthy, as though he had never been ill. Soon afterward, he went with his father to the reliquary of St. Alexander, thanking God with great joy. Having attending a Moleben of thanksgiving, he venerated the relics of the Saint. From that day both he and his father remained in the monastery until their deaths, in labors and ascesis, glorifying the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

2. help against the tartars

In August of 1673, a royal soldier named Mocius Lvov, a resident of Gorodetsko, came to the Monastery of the Life-giving Trinity and re­lated the following: "When I was in the regiment of the boyar Basil Borisovich Sheremetiev, fighting against the godless Crimean Tartars, we happened to be near the city of Konotop when the Tartars unexpect­edly fell upon us. They took many of us captive and carried us away to their own land, where thirteen of us were given to a Tartar prince. We remained in captivity for thirteen years, laboring by day at every kind of heavy work and spending the nights in prison, in iron fetters.

 

"One night as we sat in prison, we wept greatly, praying for help to the Lord God and His Most Pure Mother, and to all the saints. Suddenly great fear and confusion fell upon us: we saw a great light in the prison, which illumined us. When we came to ourselves we saw a noble-looking man with gray hair entering, and heard a voice from above: 'Men! Call upon St. Alexander of Svir for help, and he will deliver you from your misfortune.' Immediately the man who had appeared became invisible and the light disappeared. We gave our promise to St. Alexander of Svir.

 

"Two days after this some Greek merchants arrived and bought us from the Tartar prince and took us to Constantinople, whence we safely arrived at the God-preserved reigning city of Moscow. We all dispersed to our homes, by the prayers of the great Wonderworker Al­exander." The soldier related this with contrition of heart, for the ben­efit of his listeners and in praise of our holy father Alexander.

 

THE SECOND UNCOVERING OF THE HOLY RELICS OF ST. ALEXANDER

Translated from The Holy Venerable Alexander of Svir (Moscow. Palomnik, 1003), in Russian.

There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed;

neither hid, that shall not be known.

—Luke 12:2

   
 

The View to the left is of the completely incorrupt hand and foot of St. Alexander of Svir as they look today.

     On July 30, 1998, Russia's faithful hastened in streams to venerate the newly rediscovered relics of St. Alexander of Svir in the Church of the Martyrs Vera, Nadezhda and Lyubov and their mother Sophia in St. Petersburg. After an absence of almost eighty years, one of the most beloved of the Saints of the Northern Thebaid was returning to the place of his monastic struggles.

Eight decades earlier, on January 5, 1918, the Bolsheviks took over a major section of Russia's Northern Thebaid: the area around Olonets and Lodeynoye Polye. On the very next day Bolsheviks appeared at the Svir Monastery, at the reliquary of St. Alexander. Such a repository of sanctity was an obvious hindrance to the devil and his minions, who were then taking over the Russian land. Yet on that occasion they were inexplicably unable to do any harm to the Saint's relics or to remove them. The Communists made several more attempts, and only on their sixth attempt, on December 20 of that year, were they able to remove the incorrupt relics of St. Alexander. This inaugurated the infamous "campaign for the liquidation of relics," which continued from 1919 until 1922, during which time the relics of sixty-three Russian saints were stolen, subjected to "scientific examinations," displayed as "mummies" or even as "fakes" in anti-religious museums, or destroyed.

It was at this time that the entire northern region of Russia was turned into a vast concentration camp. The Northern Thebaid was desecrated and defiled, yet was also sanctified by becoming one of Russia's many Golgothas. The St. Alexander of Svir Monastery suffered the fate of many of the monasteries of that area: it became a concentration camp, commonly known as "Svirlag" ("Svir Camp"). Later it became, in turn, a home for war invalids, a children's home, a technical school, and housing for military units. Finally, the Holy Trinity portion of the monastery was turned into a psychiatric hospital, a part of which re­mains so to this day.

The monastery was badly abused over the years. However, God did not allow the relics of St. Alexander to perish. After the relics were con­fiscated by the Bolsheviks, they were taken first to Lodeynoye Polye. The local Chekist commission asked for an investigation into the au­thenticity of the relics. They were to be examined by Soviet scientists in hopes of proving that they were fake — a hoax perpetrated by the Church to fool the faithful. But much to the embarrassment of the Bolsheviks, their findings only confirmed what had been recorded at the first uncovering of the Saint's relics in 1641: that this was indeed St. Alexander, and that his body was, to an astonishing degree, incorrupt. His skin was light in color and elastic. His facial features were clearly discernible and bore a remarkable resemblance to icons painted of the Saint between the six­teenth and eighteenth centuries. An academician, Peter Petrovich Pokryshkin, was not afraid at such a time of persecution to write an un­compromising reply to the Chekists' inquiry: "Acknowledging the relics of St. Alexander of Svir to be undoubtedly historical artifacts, the loca­tion of which should be in a church, we ask that measures be taken for the preservation of this national historical treasure." [It is known that Peter Petrovich Pokryshkin was unable to endure the horror of those times, and entered a monastery of the Nizhegorod diocese, from which he wrote that he renounced all scientific ranks and honors. His monastic life was short, however: he died in 1922 during a typhus epidemic.]

 
 

From Lodeynoye Polye the relics were brought to St. Petersburg (then Petrograd). At this time a directive came from the Commissariat of justice to have all relics placed in museums. St. Alexander's relics were brought to the city's anatomical museum, which was located in the Military Medical Academy. There the relics were put on display, but were left unregistered — an obvious attempt by the museum work­ers to conceal them. At the same time attempts were made to display false relics of the Saint, which bore no resemblance to his historical de­scription, to the public as part of the Communist plan to discredit the Church, but these attempts came to nothing. It was thanks to one of the scientists, V. N. Tonkov, not a "militant atheist" like his colleagues, that the relics were left in the Military Medical Academy in St. Peters­burg, relegated to oblivion. There they remained for almost eight de­cades, awaiting the moment when, by God's providence, they would be returned to believers.

On June 14, 1997, nearly six years after the collapse of Communist totalitarianism in Russia, the Holy Transfiguration portion of the St. Alexander of Svir Monastery was entirely returned to the Church. The Holy Trinity portion, which is located one third of a mile from the other portion, was partially returned to the Church on September 22,1998.

The search for St. Alexander began in 1997, with the blessing of Metropolitan Vladimir of St. Petersburg. Most documents from the So­viet period had been either lost or destroyed, but the prayerful research efforts of the sisters of the Protection-Tervenichi Convent, under the di­rection of their spiritual father, Abbot Lukian (Kutsenko), now superior of the St. Alexander of Svir Monastery, were rewarded at last. In December of that year the holy relics of the Saint were found. When the relics were examined, they exactly matched the original description from the first uncovering of the relics in 1641. They were as incorrupt as they had been before their confiscation. According to anthropological and eth­nological experts, the relics were of a man belonging to the Veps people — a very small group of Finnish origin, located in the very area where St. Alexander was born and where he later built his monastery.

   

Finally, after the identity of the Saint had been proven beyond doubt, Metropolitan Vladimir gave his blessing for the Grace-filled relics to be brought :o the church of the Martyrs Vera, Xadezhda and Lyubov and their mother Sophia for four months of public veneration prior to their return to the Saint's monastery. 

Before the relics were moved to the church, a Moleben was served in the examination room of the Medical Academy. To the astonishment and spiritual delight of those present, the hands and feet of the Saint began to exude drops of fragrant myrrh, as if the Saint were saying, "Yes, I hear you. It is I!" This outpouring of Grace continued when the relics were brought to the church. The floral fragrance of the myrrh was so intense that bees swarmed near the Saint's feet.

     Priest Alexey Young (now Hieromonk Ambrose) was in St. Petersburg when the relics were there. Describing his experience of vener­ating the relics, this American pilgrim wrote: "With a shock I saw that the Saint was not only incorrupt, but his skin was not at all darkened by the passing of nearly five centuries; it was as white as that of some one living today. As I kissed the bare feet I could see the miraculous myrrh forming, like drops of rich honey, between the toes" [From Fr. Alexey Young, "Pilgrimage to Russia," Orthodox America, nos.155-56 March—June 1998). This paragraph has been added by the editors of Orthodox Word.]

     Icons of the Saint which were blessed on the reliquary likewise began to give forth either myrrh or fragrance. Novice Alexander of the St. Alexander of Svir monastery stood continuously at the reliquary, observing and noting not only the quantity of the flow of myrrh, but the miraculous healings which took place there. People were healed of numerous ailments: paralysis, cancer, skin and bone diseases, and de­monic possession.

 

After the relics were brought to the St. Alexander of Svir Monastery in November 1998, healings continued to occur in their presence. The flow of myrrh also continues intermittently. It has been noticed that this miracle increases in intensity when groups arrive in which there are not only believers, but doubters as well. To the present day the monastery keeps records of the miracles that take place through the relics of God's Saint. It is commonly believed that God has preserved the relics in such a miraculous state of incorruption because St. Alexander is the only saint besides the patriarch Abraham to have been vouchsafed a visitation of the Holy Trinity in the form of three angels. During that visitation, the Holy Trinity even touched the Saint, and that touch has evidently made his body impervious to corruption. Wondrous is God the Holy Trinity, Who is glorified in His saints!

Below we present a few of the many miracles that have taken place after the second opening of the relics of St. Alexander:

 

1. healing of a paralytic girl (august, 1998)

 

 

Everyone knows that there is no greater sorrow for a mother than a child's illness, and if that illness is incurable, then the mother's grief is increased tenfold. It was with such a heavy burden that a young woman entered the church [This miracle took place in the St. Petersburg Church of Martyrs Vera, Nadezhda -and Lyubov and their mother Sophia.—ed.] with a five-year-old girl in her arms. The girl was a small, thin creature, with a sad little face, her arms hanging  tirelessly at her sides. It turned out that the little girl's legs were in the same condition — the child could not walk. In conversation with the mother it was explained that the little girl had had damage to her central nervous system since birth. She was the fifth, but not the last child of the family. Looking at the mother, it was impossible not to notice how hard this was for her; however, there were no traces of despondency visible on her refined, pretty face. Doctors had not been able to provide any hope to the unfortunate mother. Such a severe infirmity could be healed only by the power and will of God. And it happened right mere, at the Saint's reliquary, before the eyes of the astounded people in :he church, which was full to overflowing. All this took place just as described in the Gospel according to St. John (9:1-14), when Christ's Disciples, seeing the man blind from birth, asked Jesus: Who did sin, this man, or his parents, that be was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his par­ents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

 

 

   

 

The mother went to the reliquary of St. Alexander of Svir. With the help of the novice who stood by the reliquary, she laid the little girl on the surface of the glass that covered the relics. The child was left thus in a prone po­sition for a short while. Then the mother, taking her from the reli­quary, sat the little girl on the floor, so as to venerate the relics of the Saint herself. While praying, she did not notice that someone invisible had picked her up and set her on her feet, and off she went, not supported by anyone. Silence reigned in the church, and the people made way as the girl approached them. They made a wide corridor for the girl and her mother, who, having realized what had happened, now ran ahead of her daughter, holding her arms out over her so as to catch her dear one at any moment. In this way they reached the church exit, and there her mother took the child in her arms and stood up. Everyone saw on her face, wet with tears, what she was experiencing at that moment: joy, gratitude, confusion, fear, and doubt—"Might she again cease to walk?" A year later we learned that little Vera—that was the name of the healed child—was not only walking, but running.

 

2. healing of crippled legs may - September, 2000

Another similar incident of healing took place with Andrei, a resident of Podporozhe. After he had been in an automobile accident his legs lost their ability to move. This handsome, tall, strong man dragged his legs behind him, leaning on crutches. No physical therapy or massage could improve the condition of the immobilized man. But faith in his recovery never left him. Guided by this faith, Andrei persistently came to the Monastery of St. Alexander of Svir, to the shrine of his rel­ics. There was a total of four such trips, with varying intervals of time between them. Each time, standing at the reliquary, he would earnestly entreat the Saint for help. What he promised in his prayers to the Saint, and how this man prayed, when he basically had little knowl­edge of the Church, has remained a mystery to everyone. On the last ot those occasions everyone who was in the Svir Monastery's Church of ;he Lord's Transfiguration became a witness to the manifestation of God's mercy to the cripple, who had come for the fourth time to the relics of St. Alexander. This time his legs were strengthened to such an extent that he left his crutches and took his first unsure steps on his own. He soon came again to the monastery in order to have a thanksgiving Moleben served. Less than a month had gone by. Andrei entered the church only lightly leaning on a cane.

3. faith conquers distance september,  2000

 

 

Almost all the inhabitants of the Svir Monastery know about this amazing incident, which happened to a family living in Rostov-on-the-Don. Residents of this city frequently make charter pilgrimages to the relics of St. Alexander of Svir. However, this time two Rostov resi­dents took a plane there, not with a charter pilgrimage but on their own. They made such a hurried trip because they feared to lose someone dear to them: he was the husband of one of them and the brother of the other. This man, for whom they had come to bow their heads before the reli­quary of the great wonderworker, was at that time in serious condition. He had just undergone his third operation for pancreatic cancer, and they had taken him in a hopeless condition "to die at home." His relatives, however, did not want to give in before the "inevitable end" and, despite their own poor health and old age, they had set out on the long trip. With tearful prayer they fell on their knees before the relics of St. Alexander of Svir. This was early on a Sunday morning. According to the words of the man's daughters, who had stayed with their father that morning, he felt so well for the first time that he got out of bed and even dared to get behind the wheel of his car. He was full of energy and strength. When his wife and sister returned from the St. Alexander of Svir Monastery, they were amazed at his healthy appearance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not only were they happy for him,   but they were overcome with thankfulness to God and their prayerful interces­sor. St. Alexander. Two weeks later they returned to the monastery, in order to pay their debt of gratitude in the very place where they had sent up their fervent prayers.... All that has been described above took place in September of 2000. In the summer of 2001 the women again returned to the monastery, but this time they were accompanied by the formerly sick man. He had personally wanted to thank St. Alexander for the mercy that had been shown him. According to the testimony of the healed man, living as he did far away from the northern monastery, he had not been familiar with the Saint to whom his relatives had turned with faith and hope.

4. healing from cancer

Here is a testimony concerning a healing from cancer, a dread dis­ease which not only kills physically, but also instills tremendous fear and despair in human souls. The sick woman in this case did not give in to despair, but turned for help to God and the Most Holy Theotokos, at the same time asking the prayerful intercession of St. Alexander of Svir. We present her letter here:

   

"I, Nina Ivanovna Malinina, [Not her real name] born in 1956, and living in St. Peters­burg, attest to the fact that in November of 1998 cancer was discovered in my left breast (a biopsy had been taken, which showed the presence of cancerous cells). An immediate operation was recommended. We made arrangements with a specialist at the Radiology Institute in the town of Pesochno. Due   to circumstances,  the doctor who was to per­form the surgery left for Moscow for a week, and so the operation was postponed to November 26, 1998. During this interval of time between the diagnosis and the operation, I was present three times at Molebens at the shrine of the relics of St. Alexander of Svir. I venerated the relics many times and wiped the afflicted spot with myrrh that I had received after a Moleben in the Church of the Martyrs Vera, Nadezhda and Lyubov and their mother Sophia. I would like to note that, after the Molebens at the Saint's reliquary, a quiet and extraordinary joy would settle into my soul. I am a parishioner of the church dedicated to the Icon of the Theotokos "Inexhaustible Cup," where Fr. John Mironov serves. The services there are very Grace-filled, but the Molebens at the Saint's reliquary were extraordinary, regardless of which batiushka was serving. There were many priests, from various churches, and they took turns. By the prayers of St. Alexander of Svir, God showed mercy to me — I was healed of my terrible infirmity. I was operated on, and the results of the histological analysis showed that there was no cancer. I have medical evidence confirming the diagnosis before the opera­tion and the results of the tests afterwards. Because of my carelessness and the usual worldly bustle I did not communicate this to the monastery of St. Alexander in 1998. Only when I learned how important these testimonies are for those who doubt the authenticity of the relics did I, with bitter repentance and belated gratitude, write this letter. I feel very guilty for my silence. Lord, have mercy on me."

 

Special thanks to the monks of the Hermitage of the Holy Cross in Wayne, West Virginia, who provided the photo images and Russian language sources from which this article has been compiled. 

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Daily News is very important to those who are true Orthodox Catholic Christians.  For without knowing or gaining information for understanding about what is happening in one's local area and around the world, you could  find yourself faced with denied services in the secular area, lack of income, even (although it sounds far-fetched) ability to worship openly for the time is not far off when all will have to decide if they wish to follow the Anti-Christ through the One World Church and One World Government as prophesied by the Apocalypse, the Book of Revelation of St. John or follow the faith delivered once and for all which will cause for many to be denied the abilities to survive under those kind of conditions, causing for one to consider other options. 

 

Many of those who subscribe to, and some who have caused or are the cause for, these things to happen are involved in or with the Roman Jurisdiction of the Catholic Church (which is not the seat of all things "Catholic") as well as its protestant daughters such as the cultic Jehovah's Witnesses, the Pentecostal Churches, the Church of Latter Day Saints also known as the Mormon Church and far too many more to list. 

 

Yet, at this web site we do provide some of the reasons about why they are opined to be the harbingers of that which is prophesied in Holy Scripture for the bringing about of the End Times which we have already entered.  It is not necessarily their individual members or parishioners that should be blamed since they are only the "Sheep" and not the Shepherds... So do not think we castigate individual people of themselves as we castigate those "money changers" who Jesus Christ chased out of His Father's House as the Bible Describes; for they exist in these present times too.

 

Events are already rushing toward that time in which this is beginning to happen and will become more fully wide-spread. In these present times all you need to really do is look around both your local and larger areas as to what is really on-going through.  Things so very little or miniscule that they are barely noticeable except to the more informed observer may become apparent. 

Those little things are the laws of the land, economics, politics, the degrading and erosion of those rights and liberties afforded by the Constitution of these United States of America and many other things such as the manner with which entertainments have taken over much of the populace, entering into and becoming a major focus in worship, and more. 

We ask you, if you don't want to believe us... Have you heard, seen or found what is termed (of the many terms being used) that there are "holding areas" or "camps" or "Closed/Fenced communities" being built by GOVERNMENT? 

Here in North America, especially in the United States of America, we must admit that what Russia has come out of (a communistic, atheist country) we are entering into.  And one last thing that needs also to be understood... Something very important to those of you who are "Catholic" in the Roman sense of its jurisdiction....   And, we believe this also holds true for many who are "Orthodox" whether "Eastern" or "Western"....

"Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must also be eastern. The West was Orthodox for a thousand years, and her venerable liturgy is far older than any of her heresies."

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