The splendours of the saints

The following extract comes from “Svyatoi Ugolok,” or “Holy Little Corner” (Petrograd, 1915), and is written by Fr. Basil Tigrov. It concerns a visit to the Optina monastery (OrthodoxWiki), and in particular one Elder Joseph, who reposed in 1911.

ONE priest (Fr. Paul Levashev of the Transfiguration Church in Gomel) testifies, according to his priestly conscience, that he saw the grace of God, in an overt way, resting upon the head and face of the Elder. Here is how he writes about this:

“I entered his poor cell and saw that very old Elder, worn out by uninterrupted asceticism and prayer, barely able to raise himself up from his bed. At that time he was ill. We greeted one another, and an instant later I saw an unusual light around his head, about a foot in height, and also a broad ray of light which fell upon him from above, as if the ceiling of the cell had parted.

“The ray of light fell from heaven and was just like the light around his head. The Elder’s face became filled with grace and he was smiling, so that I absolutely forgot all the questions which had been crowded into my head. Finally, I barely remembered what I had wanted to confess to him and I began, saying, ‘Batiushka! I am a great sinner.’ I hardly had time to say this, when in one moment his face became serious, and the light that had been pouring down upon him and surrounding his head vanished.

“This did not continue for long. Again the light began to shine around his head, and again the same ray of light appeared, but now several times brighter and stronger. I was unable to tear myself away from such a miraculous vision and said good-bye to the Elder ten times, and kept looking at his grace-filled face, illumined by an angelic smile, and by that unearthly light, with which I left him.”

Source: Bishop Alexander


HOW shall I, the unworthy, enter into the splendours of thy saints?

For if I dare to foregather in the bridechamber, my clothing shall condemn me, for it belongeth not to the wedding, and I shall be bound and cast out by the angels.

Cleanse, O Lord, the soiling of my soul, and save me, for thou lovest mankind.

At Vespers of Great Tuesday.