Monday, November 30, 2020

November 29-30 is Romania's Halloween

Since 1989 some parts of Romania, especially the region of Transylvania, celebrates Halloween on October 31st mainly as a western import due to its association with Vlad Tepes, who is said to have been Bram Stoker's inspiration for Dracula, becoming more popular after 2007 when Romania joined the European Union. The equivalent of Halloween for traditional Romanians is really celebrated on November 29-30, which is a public holiday known as Saint Andrew's Day. Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Romania who is known as the Apostle who brought the gospel of Jesus Christ to the land.

The superstitious believe that on Saint Andrew’s Eve, November 29th, the border between the physical world and the invisible world vanishes, ghosts and ghouls come to life, magic is more powerful and therefore a series of charms and rituals must be performed to protect the household, animals, and people. On this particular day the future can be revealed: girls who want to dream of their future husbands hide a little branch of basil under their pillow, peasants plant wheat seeds and pray it will sprout so that the next year will bring plentiful crops, animals and especially wolves are said to be given the gift of speech but whoever hears their secrets will be cursed, and the weather on Saint Andrew’s Day is a preview of the winter to come.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

New Book in Russian: "Conversations with the Dead: Stories of Parish Priests" (2019)


Annotation to the book "Conversations with the Dead: Stories of Parish Priests" 
("Разговоры с мертвыми: Рассказы приходских священников")

People sometimes encounter mysterious phenomena that they cannot explain. The authors of this book are Orthodox priests, and they talk about miracles associated with visitors from another world.

The main task of this unusual book is to testify about the truth of the existence of God, about the Creator of the visible and invisible world, the Creator of disembodied forces, some of which are bright angels, and others are crafty demons.

In all these events, there is undoubtedly the Providence of God, which does not leave a person throughout his life.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

How a Plague Led to a Miracle That Converted an Entire City to the Christian Faith


St. Basil the Great says that when St. Gregory the Wonderworker became Bishop of Neocaesarea in the third century, there were only 17 Christians to be found in the city, but by the time he died, there were only 17 pagans left. St. Gregory of Nyssa, in his Life of Gregory the Wonderworker, explains one reason the city converted en masse to Christ during St. Gregory the Wonderworker's time, with a narration of the following miracle below. It basically explains that during a pagan festival, such a large crowd entered the theater that they prayed to Zeus to grant them some room. Zeus, who was really a demon, heard their prayer and sent a plague against the people to empty the theater. The plague caused sufferers great thirst, to the point they felt like they were going to die. For those who came down with this plague, a phantom appeared beforehand in the temple as a sign their prayers to the demon were being answered. When the people asked St. Gregory the Wonderworker to enter the temple and expel the phantom, he did so and they were delivered from the plague.