Two Frightful Stories that Depict Divine Vengeance on Those Who Profane Sacred Things

"At once the wretch did as he had said, and he had to submit immediately to the vengeance of Divine judgment. . ."

Originally appeared at: Nicodemos Hagiorite



Story 1 - From the Life of Saint Nicetius of Lyon (+573), written by Saint Gregory of Tours:

The Bishop Priscus, whom we knew always to have been a strong adversary of the Saint [Nicetius], gave a certain deacon a mantle of Nicetius. It was ample, for the man of God of stout of body. The garment's hood was wide and sewn, as was the custom for the white mantles worn on the shoulders of priests during feasts of Pascha.

Now this deacon went about with this vestment and took little notice of the use to which it had been put. He wore it in bed and in the forum, without thinking that its fringes could give health to the sick if one's faith were strong. Someone said to him: "O deacon, if you knew the power of God and what was he whose vestment you are wearing, you would use it with greater caution."

He answered: "I tell you truly that I use this mantle to cover my back, and since it is too big in the hood for me, I'm going to have slippers made of it."

At once the wretch did as he had said, and he had to submit immediately to the vengeance of Divine judgment. As soon as he had undone the hood and made himself slippers from it, which he put on his feet, he immediately fell to the ground seized by a demon. He was then alone in the house, and there was no one who could help the wretch. And while he was spitting from his mouth a bloody froth, having stretched out his feet to the hearth, the fire burned his feet together with the slippers. And this is what I have to say concerning vengeances.

Story 2 - From the Life of the Catacomb Hieroconfessor Nazarius of Kharkov (+1975), from "A Century of Russian Martyrdom, Vol. 2":

Fr. Nazariu's grandfather was called Efim. Once Efim went to Pisarevka to have a case made for an icon of the Saviour. Having received the icon and its case from the craftsman, he went with some friends into the local bar.

There they drank vodka, and it turned out that they did not have enough money to pay for the drinks. Without thinking, Efim gace the icon in lieu of his debt. Immediately a demon entered into him; he lost consciousness and foamed at the mouth. His terrified friends carried him to a cart and took him to the village. His son Stefan immediately went to Pisarevka, paid the debt and took the icon back.

Efim came to himself, fell down before a large icon of the Holy Trinity and began to beg forgiveness for his great sin before the Lord. He wept so much that a pool of his tears was formed around him. And he wept for three days without getting up.

Later he used to say: "I would get up, turn round and want to leave, but then the demons would shout: 'You're ours, you're ours!'" So for three days they did not let him leave the icon. Without sleeping or eating, he stood and wept. Finally he though of leaving the world and going to Kiev to worship at the holy places and enter a monastery. For a whole year he could not make up his mind whether to go to Kiev.

At that time there was a clairvoyant elder in Kiev, Fr. Jonah of the Holy Trinity monastery in Zverinitsa (later Schema-archimandrite Peter, who died on January 9, 1909 at age of 107). When Efim finally came round to going to Kiev he was shown the way yo the hermit Fr. Jonah. He went up to the door and said:

"Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us!"

"Amen, child Efim", replied the hermit, "Come in! I've been waiting for you for a whole year. Come in and tell me what happened to you."

Efim told him everything, and when he had finished, he asked: "Batyushka, bless me to go into a monastery, so as to save my soul."

But Fr. Jonah did not agree: "You have no blessing to go into a monastery. Go home, and put your whole family on the path of salvation. And see that there are no spirits (alcohol) in your family!"

Efim returned, began to lead a pious life and set his children and grandchildren on the right path. When he would go through the village, people would whisper after him: "A saint, a saint is passing by!"

There were many icons and holy things in the house. Once, before the revolution, the house burned down and they did not succeed in getting the holy things out. Everybody saw a many-colored, rainbow-like pillar ascending from the burning house. The whole village burned down, but nothing similar had ever taken place before, so everyone decided that this was grace from the holy things ascending to heaven in the fiery pillar.

This was the kind of house in which Fr. Nazarius was born...

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