Orthodox Byzantine Chants
Holy Mount Athos
My sister, relates pious Irina Bendeniotis from Poros – who has already passed away –lost a child. In the evening, after the funeral, I went with one of my smaller children to express my condolences. My brother came after a while and they laid the table for us to eat. Then my brother said:
`What are you doing? What’s that soul? These are tales.`
`What kind of words are these?` I said. Aren’t you ashamed?`
`This is what we were told`, he said.
`And if someone who is against Christ told you this, you believe him? And then you come here and tell it to us to make us become faithless too? `
My soul was so deeply upset and I was so indignant that I took my child and left without having dinner with them. I took the child to bed and started to pray painfully saying:
Christ, my Lord, today I got so upset and I was troubled by the words of my brother. Please forgive him!`
Then I fell asleep and I saw in my dream that I was in the church. There I saw The Crucified One alive, in natural size, in front of the Holy Doors. I was overwhelmed by a great fright. I saw coming near me a bishop dressed in the canonicals, with the scepter in one hand and holding a golden Holy Gospel in the other. The bishop, that was fully shining like lightning gave me the Gospel and said:
`Take the Gospel and do what is written in it. Go upwards, to heaven and do not listen to your brother’s words. Engrave it in your heart to do everything I tell you and everything is written here.`
`Father, but I can’t read, poor me.`
`You’ll learn`, He said and put the Gospel into my bosom.
In the morning instead of going to work I went to father George and told him what had happened to me. Then he said:
`You see, my child that God Himself appeared to you to save you? That One you saw was Christ Himself. And that’s because your brother upset you and aroused doubts in your soul.`
The next day I gave to an acquaintance of mine 5 drahms to buy me a Gospel. Then she smiled and said:
`I’ll bring it to you, but you can’t read. You’ll keep it only to look at it.`
`I’ll look at it, I’ll kiss it, but I’ll also read it.`
And I didn’t explain anything to her. After she brought it to me I bought a prayer book. After a few days in the Holy Week while coming back from work I was reading the troparion from the prayer book and the Gospel and I cried. My mother asked me:
`What are you doing there?`
`Are you crazy?` she aske me. She made the sign of the cross and she went to tell this to her brother. He told her:
`She learnt them by heart because she goes to the church.`
`But then how come that she reads and turns the pages?`
Then I learnt to read. I can read anything. It was the will of God to learn how to read, but I don’t know how to write.