Orthodox Byzantine Chants
Holy Mount Athos
Eye witness of the case described below, archimandrite Nicolae Drobianzkin is one of the countless martyrs from the revolutionary times of Russia. In his wordly life he had a brilliant career, being IInd rank captain in the military marine and alongside with this he got deeply involved in occultism, editing the occult magazine Rebus. After being saved by saint Seraphim of Sarov from a certain death in the sea, he planned a pilgrimage to Sarov. Coming back from his pilgrimage, he gave up on his career and on occultism and became a monk. He was ordained priest and served as a missionary in China, India and Tibet, ministering at different churches and being adviser for some monasteries. After 1914 he lived at the Lavra of the Caves from Kiev. He ceaselessly spoke to the young people who went to him in those times about the influence of the occultism upon the facts happening on the political scene of Russia. In the autumn of 1924, at a month after he had received the visit of a gentleman called Tonholz, the writer of the book „Black magic”, he was killed in his cell by some „unknown men” with the obvious consent of the Bolsheviks. The murder weapon was a knife with a special handle, having the shape of an occult symbol.
The happenstance related here by father Nicolae, reveals the true nature of the spiritual phenomena found in various Eastern religions. It took place shortly before 1900, it was recorded around the year 1922 by the doctor A. P. Timofenghievici and published by him in a Russian magazine from the diaspora („Orthodox Life”, 1956, nr.l).
One wonderful tropical morning, our ship cut its way through the Indian Ocean approaching the island of Ceylon. The lively faces of the travellers, in their majority Englishmen, who were going with their families to their jobs or business from the Indian colony, were turned towards the horizon, looking about the fascinating island that was for almost all of them linked with so many stories and interesting, mysterious descriptions of the travellers.
Before they saw the island, the ship began to be more and more intensely veiled in a smooth and ravishing fragrance brought by each waft. Finally a long, narrow shape of dark blue color showed up lying on the horizon. Its dimensions grew bigger as the ship was approaching it swiftly. You could already distinguish on the shore the wide-spread buildings, hidden in the green of the majestic date palms and the colorful crowd of natives who were waiting for the arrival of the ship. During the journey, the passengers befriended very easily. They stayed on the deck where they talked and laughed heartily, admiring the amazing view of the magical island which unfolded before their eyes. The ship made some slow maneuvers, preparing to anchor at the quay of Colombo harbor.
There it had to station for stocking with coal, that’s why the passengers had enough time for descending on the shore. The day was so hot that many passengers decided to stay on the ship till the afternoon. A nice chill replaced the burning heat of that day. A group of eight people that I joined myself, chose colonel Elliot as their guide. He had lived before in Colombo and knew well the island and its surroundings. Then he made us a tempting proposal:
We all accepted enthusiastically his proposal.
The evening had already fallen when we left behind us the noisy roads of the city and stepped on an enchanting path that was crossing the jungle. On our right and left side were glittering millions of dragonflies. To its end, the path widened unexpectedly and we found ourselves in the middle of a small clearing surrounded by the jungle. At one of its edges, under a big tree, it was something like a hut and near it was burning a small fire. An old, thin man, with a turban on his head was sitting down, cross-legged and with his gaze focused on the fire. Despite the noise caused by our arrival, the old man continued to stay absolutely motionless, without paying any attention to us. From somewhere out of the dark showed up a young man, who approached the colonel and asked him something in a whisper. After a short time he brought some small chairs and our group sat in a semicircle close to the fire. A thin, scented smoke raised to the sky. The old man continued to sit in the same position, showing that he didn’t pay attention to anything. The full rising moon somehow drove away the darkness and at its pale light all things took bizarre shapes. They all became silent and waited to see what was going to happen.
We all turned our heads towards the tree. And indeed, all the huge foliage surface of the tree under which was sitting the fakir it was like waving quietly in the pale moonlight, while the tree started to fade away slowly and lost its shape. So to speak more precisely, I could say that an invisible hand threw over it a thin veil, which in time became thicker and thicker. In a short time, in front of our amazed eyes it appeared the waving surface of the sea. With a slight roar, the waves were coming one after another, forming a white foam. Bright clouds were floating on a sky that turned blue. Stunned, we could not take off our eyes from that amazing sight.
Then a white ship showed up at the horizon. A heavy smoke was coming out of its two big flues. It swiftly drew cloer to us, cleaving the water. In great amazement, we recognized our ship, that had brought us to Colombo. A murmur of astonishment crossed the audience, when we read on the stern of the ship, written with golden highlighted letters, the name of our ship: LUIZA. But what caused our biggest amazement was the fact that up, on the deck we saw ourselves. Let’s not forget that in those times the cinema had not been invented yet and it was impossible for someone even to conceive something similar to it. Each one of us saw himself on the deck of the ship, among the people who were talking and laughing. What was absolutely amazing it was that I saw not just myself, but the entire deck of the ship, in its slightest details, like in a panoramic plan – thing which, of course, is impossible in reality. At a certain moment I saw myself among the passangers, I saw the sailors who were working in the other end of the ship, the captain in his cabin, I saw even Nelly, the monkey we all loved, who was eating bananas up, on the main mast. In the same time, all my companions, each one in his own way, were getting terribly excited because of the things they saw and they externalized their feelings by quiet exclamations and anxious whispers.
I had completely forgotten that I was a hieromonk and for sure I had no reason to attend such a show. Seduction was so powerful that both mind and heart had got silenced. Then my heart started beating so fast, like a warning signal. All of a sudden I felt like losing my control and a fear overtook my entire being. My lips started to move and utter: „My Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me the sinner!”. I immediately felt a relief. It was like some mysterious chains were falling down from me. The prayer became more and more intense and together with it, peace came back into my soul. I continued to look at the tree and suddenly, as if driven away by a wind, the image blurred and disappeared. I was not seeing anything else except the big, moonlit tree and the quiet fakir sitting near the fire. My companions continued to externalize their feelings, looking at the sight that for them had not disappeared.
Then it happened something with the fakir too, cause he lost his balance and fell on his side. The young man ran to him scared. The spiritual gathering interrupted all of a sudden.
Deeply influenced by their experience, the viewers got up, sharing passionately their impressions, without understanding why everything interrupted so abruptly and unexpectedly. The young man attributed this to the exhaustion of the fakir who was sitting at that moment like before, with his head bent and without paying any attention to the people around him.
Our group, after generously rewarding him, by means of the young man, for having the chance to witness such an amazing sight, got quickly ready for going back. At departure, involuntarily, I turned back to look again, in order to infix better in my memory all that scene. Suddenly I startled, having a bad feeling. My gaze met that of the fakir, who looked at me with such a hate. That lasted just a moment, then he resumed his usual posture. But that look opened the eyes of my soul for ever and I realized immediately whose power was that which caused such a „miracle”.
LORD JESUS CHRIST HAVE MERCY ON ME!
source: „ATHONITE WITNESS”, Quarterly magazine of the Holy Monastery Xiropotamu, no. 5