MIRACLES THAT HAPPEN DURING THE DIVINE LITURGY
AN ANGEL IS PRESENT AT THE DIVINE LITURGY
A certain priest, who was preparing the elements for the Divine Liturgy at a vigil service, was having difficulty reading the names of people because of the little light that was given off by single candle the he had next to him. Suddenly, he noticed that the candle all of a sudden became very bright. He wondered to himself how it was possible for the candle now to give off more light. Having said this, as he turned his head he saw standing about four meters away from him an Angel. He became petrified at seeing this. He became frozen in place and it took him a long time to regain his composure. The presence of the Angel filled the priest with a sense of compunction. His soul was filled with such sweetness as the feeling of compunction within him increased immeasurably. His soul was filled with such sweetness that he felt as one with the Angel. The priest proceeded to finish the preparation (προσκομιδή) of the communion elements and then intoned “Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” beginning the Divine Liturgy.
The Angel was present throughout the Divine Liturgy until the priest consumed the consecrated elements at the very end of the service. When the priest finished the service he could not control his emotional state, his feeling of compunction and awe that he felt in the presence of the Angel. He had never experienced such a heavenly presence in the Divine Liturgy before. He thought that something like this might happen to a priest only once or twice in the lifetime of a pious and humble priest. He was also certain that there are other holy, pious and spirit-filled priests and bishops who experience divine revelations more frequently. God only knows who these people are.
The priest remained in a state of ecstasy for a long time after the Divine Liturgy. He did not remove his vestments. He simply remained sitting in a chair in the altar and cried. He kept crying and could not control his feelings of compunction, awe and contrition that he felt. He remained in that state for a long time enjoying the emotion and humbleness that he experienced during the Divine Liturgy in the presence of the Holy Angel. The spiritual father of the priest assured me of the veracity of this event. From that day forward, the faith of the priest became like an immovable rock. From that time forward the priest would perform the Divine Liturgy with a sense of profound awe in his heart.
MIRACLES THAT HAPPENED DURING THE LITURGY
AS WITNESSED BY ELDER CLEOPAS ILIE OF RUMANIA
When the novice monk Constantine, who later became Father Cleopas, served as the assistant sexton of the Church of the Monastery, he became an eye-witness of several miracles that took place during the course of the Divine Liturgy. These miracles happened in the Monastery Skete of Sihastria. “You should have seen what happened to me in the presence of a pious priest, Father Kallistratos Mpompou. As a spiritual father, he once visited an ascetic nun who lived in a cave in the forest. At that time, about five hundred and fifty monks and nuns were living as ascetics in the forest. This particular nun told Father Kallistratos: “The Holy Spirit does not descend for you priests during the sacraments because you follow the New Calendar, the Gregorian calendar!” From that moment on, Father Kallistratos lived with great doubt about his priesthood.
Fr. Cleopas tells us: “One day when I was serving in the Church, I noticed that the prosforon (the offering bread for the Divine Liturgy) with which the Abbot was performing the Divine Liturgy was white and sweet while the offering bread with which Father Kallistratos was serving was bitter and green in color. Father Ionnikios asked the Elder: “Elder why is it when Father Kallistratos performs the Divine Liturgy the offering bread he uses is moldy and green?” He answered: “This happens my child because he has doubts about the presence of God in the sacrament. He doubts whether the Holy Spirit is actively present in the Church that follows the new calendar. I told him that he has been led astray because he does not believe that the Holy Spirit is actively is actively present in the sacraments of our Church.
I also witnessed this: “One day when Father Kallistratos was celebrating the Divine Liturgy and he invoked the descent of the Holy Spirit, he saw with great surprise that the Body of Christ was raw flesh and Holy Blood was dripping from the discus (δισκάριον) and the Antiminsion (άντιμινσιον). When he looked in the chalice, he saw human blood. He then called me forward and said to me: “My dear brother Constantine, come here close to me. What do you see? My God, Father Kallistratos, the Holy Communion has become flesh and blood!” I then immediately sent a message to the Abbot about this. When the Staretz arrived, he requested that the monks read the Psalms. The Abbot then said: “Do you see Kallistros. Do you now believe that the Holy Spirit descends and transforms the bread and wine or not?” “Forgive me father” and he fell on his knees crying. “Be certain that the Holy Spirit descended and transformed the Body of Christ into flesh and the wine and water into the Blood of Christ. Why do you still have doubt in your mind?” “I believe Elder. I beg you to forgive me.” The Abbot then said: “Take hold of the Holy Gifts carefully.” He then took a chisel and chiseled out an opening in the base of the Holy Table. The Holy Table symbolizes the Tomb of our Lord and he placed the Holy Sacrament in the opening. This is what the Holy Fathers of the Church tell us to do. He then cleaned out the chalice and washed the Antiminsion. He remained before the Altar Table until the monks finished reading the Psalms. He then proceeded to celebrate the Divine Liturgy beginning with the Proskomide: “One of the soldiers pierced His side with a lance….” The Divine Liturgy was completed and the miracle of the flesh and blood did not happen again.
The Staretz asked him if he now believed in the real presence of Jesus in the Bread and Wine at the Divine Liturgy. He responded: “I believe father.” Father Ionnikios then placed a penance upon Father Kallistratos not to perform the Divine Liturgy for forty days by telling him: “I kept telling you to believe without doubt but you decided to go to the ascetic nun in the forest to be taught about the Church Calendar.” This miracle happened in 1932. During that time, I became a witness to another miracle during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. When Father Ionnikios was celebrating the Divine Liturgy, right after the consecration of the Holy Gifts, a drop of the consecrated Blood of Christ fell upon the Holy Antiminision. This drop of consecrated Blood began to glow and then was transformed into a beam of light. The Staretz then called to me to come quickly. “My dear brother Constantine, come close to me” and he continued. “What do you see on the Holy Antiminsion?” “I see a drop of the Holy Blood. It is glowing so much that I cannot look upon it up close.” Then the Staretz said to him: “Do you see who, we the sinners serve? It is for this reason that you should stand before the Holy Altar with great fear and reverence.” The Staretz then took that drop of blood and consumed it.
Translated from the Greek by:
+Fr. Constantine J. Simones, Waterford, CT, USA, June 14, 2014, firstname.lastname@example.org