A relevant story

    This is a story from an article about the Russian Orthodox Saint John Maximovitch.  It's somewhat long, but I would recommend reading the whole thing.  Here was a story from the article, (which was originally written in 2012).  The relevance to the present time is apparent:

    "Vladyka's [John Maximovitch] constant attention to self-mortification had its root in the fear of God, which he possessed in the tradition of the ancient Church and of Holy Russia.  The following incident, told by O. Skopichenko and confirmed by many from Shanghai, well illustrates his daring, unshakable faith in Christ.  'Mrs. Menshikova was bitten by a mad dog.  The injections against rabies she either refused to take or took carelessly ... And then she came down with this terrible disease.  Bishop John found out about it and came to the dying woman.  He gave her Holy Communion, but just then she began having one of the fits of this disease; she began to foam at the mouth, and at the same time she spit out the Holy Gifts which she had just received.  The Holy Sacrament cannot be thrown out.  So, Vladyka picked up and put in his mouth the Holy Gifts vomited by the sick woman.  Those who were with him exclaimed: 'Vladyka, what are you doing!  Rabies is terribly contagious!'  But Vladyka peacefully answered:  'Nothing will happen; these are the Holy Gifts.'  And indeed nothing did happen.' "

    This is an incredible story.  I do not have much to add except that Christians (including those who do not formally canonize saints or who are not Orthodox (for instance, I myself am a Roman Catholic)) should think seriously about the beliefs and actions of those who are exemplars of their faith.  Even if we are not at their level, we can learn from them.  For instance, not everyone needs to or can go out into the desert and become a hermit, but the fact that such people did exist and the nature of their actions gives us much food for thought.


  1. I have a copy of Blessed John the Wonderworker by Fr Seraphim Rose. St John was clearly a modern instance of the ancient miracle working saint - like my local Cuthbert of Lindisfarne.

    1. Cuthbert was a remarkable man. I enjoyed the story in Bede's biography of how a piece of leather from his hermitage on Farne cured the swelling of Fegild's face.


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