Orthodox Byzantine Chants
Holy Mount Athos
Abbess Macrina’s testimony
I’ll tell you something that happened to me during the famine from the time of the German occupation. I had a debt I had to pay. I was asked to do it until Easter. For this reason I saved money to pay the debt. During the whole Holy Week I ate only a little bread, fifty drams of bread that I bought with difficulty. I soaked the bread in water and ate it. I had nothing else. I want to tell you what God does when there is a shortage, in the greatest poverty and how He helps. He sweetened me not because I deserved it but only to show me how powerful He is and how much we must adore Him.
Big Saturday came and at eight in the evening I went to the church, because our spiritual confessor read early the Acts, in the way it is done this in the Holy Mountain. I took a seat in a hidden place and prayed with the rosary. Everyone had a candle in his hand but I didn’t have any. `How could I go to `Come and take light` without a candle? I said to myself: `Since you my Lord, Jesus Christ do not want me to have the smallest candle to take the holy light, be it blessed. Your will be done!`
I complained to Christ, I was telling Him my sorrow. I remembered then the hermits and thought: Why am I grieving? The hermits from the desert don’t have bread or any other food and God takes care of them. Won’t He take care of me as well? If God wants He will send me people to bring me something, will enlighten someone to bring me a candle.` And all of a sudden I see a woman coming towards me and asking me:
`Don’t you have any candle?`
`No I don’t`, I answered.
`On such a day you don’t have a candle, the woman wondered. It is the day of Resurrection and you don’t have any candle?`
`If you want, bring me a candle from the place where they are sold and I’ll pay for it. Now I don’t have any money but I’ll give you next week.`
`Leave that, my child, how to pay it? I’ll buy it for you.`
She went and brought me a candle. Then I was overtaken by sorrow and thought: `It would have been better if I had gone to the hermits to celebrate Easter with them there, far away, where nobody comes to bring them anything.
Then the priest settled that after the Resurrection when we entered the church we had to go and worship the icon of Resurrection. When I made the sign of the cross before it I had the feeling that the Holy Resurrection got in my heart. And I immediately heard such a powerful voice, as if all the radios in the world had been turned on, saying: `
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God..
I heard inside me the Gospel of Resurrection without being read by the priest and I fainted. I didn’t feel anything, not even when they took me up. When I came to my senses these words resounded in my ears and in my heart and I felt such a saturation as if I had eaten all the eggs, cheese and meat of the world. And it seemed as if I hadn’t been in the church anymore. I have no idea for how long I fainted but these words remained engraved in my soul. I heard this nice voice during the entire service and these words brought me the saturation you feel when you eat your fill. The a thought came into my mind saying: `The elders from the desert who don’t eat, who don’t taste anything feel the same saturation.` A voice told me these words and I can’t describe what unspoken words sweetened my soul and what an unspeakable scent and taste I felt as if I had eaten the whole honey and all the sweets from the world. And although in the Holy Week I got exhausted because of starvation and poverty afterwards I felt power. I had the same feeling a powerful man has.
`Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.` (Matthew 4, 4).
Excerpt from the book Words from the heart – Abbess Macrina Vassopoulos
 Old weight unit equal with 3,18-3,23 grams.
 John 1, 1.