On April 5/18, 1993, three monks of the famous Optina Monastery in Russia were slain with a knife that had the numbers “666” on inscribed on the handle. It was the act of a Satanist, whose master hates all mankind but especially monks. But these men, Hieromonk Vasily and monks Trophim and Therapont, are now considered by Russian Orthodox faithful to be holy martyrs—and many facts in their lives show that the Lord had prepared His chosen ones for such an end. Now through their prayers, miracles happen. Here are a few examples taken from the Optina Monastery website.
My son was twelve years old; he was absolutely unbelieving and rejected the faith. As his mother I insisted and brought him to Optina Monastery. He found the Liturgies burdensome, but after the service we went out to the graves of the Optina New Martyrs where we sat down on a bench (there was no chapel there yet). And what happened at their graves was a true miracle for our family. My son who until that moment had been a non-believer said: “Mommy, it is so peaceful here. Let’s sit here on the bench for a while.” Usually any attendance of Church services was accompanied by wry facial expressions and discontent, but this time he wished to stay!
After the visit to Optina Monastery my son completed Sunday school at our diocese and for some time (before his employment) he served as an acolyte at church.
Lyubov, the city of Bryansk
We turned to a local resident, owner of the only shop in the area, who drove to Novorossiysk (a port on the Black sea) to buy a can of diesel for us. We gave him money and began to wait. Soon we called him and he told us he would be back later as he had many things to do. My husband was nervous, and smoked cigarettes one after another.
I walked aside and prayed by myself from the bottom of my heart: “New Martyrs of Optina: Father Vasily, Father Trophim and Father Therapont, please help us! Please intercede for us, unworthy sinners!”
As I was praying, my husband was crying out something from the distance: come here, do not be silly and stop embarrassing me.
It turned out that the car had started even before I stopped praying! It had more fuel than the sensor showed! So we returned home safe without refueling and my husband used the remaining fuel for several more days!
I related this story to Fr. Nicholas from Novorossiysk: he smiled and made no comments. And our (non-religious) friends are still laughing: why should you bother to pay for gasoline? Just pray!
My husband felt sick along the road, and the closer we got to Optina, the worse he felt. At last we arrived and stopped at the pilgrims’ hotel. But my husband’s temperature had reached 40.5 degrees, with sore throat. From the hostel’s shop we called the emergency medical department, who told us to give him paracetamol and promised to come if that didn’t not help. Of course, we did give him medicines, but it is impossible to cure sore throat at once!
During and after the procession of the cross my friend and I prayed for the recovery of sick Victor (my spouse). Twenty minutes later his temperature was back to normal and never rose again! Four Orthodox people saw it with their own eyes. And it was my birthday – May 28, 2010, on that day.
In prayers I ask the New Martyrs of Optina to bring my husband to the Church. I try not to annoy him and avoid conversations about the faith… Our son is ten years old, he serves as an acolyte: his father does not object to it, but the smell of incense (when my son and I come home from church) annoys him very much.
Krasnodar territory, Novorossiysk
Olga Fyodorovna Galitsina
I would like to share a story of a miracle that occurred through the prayers of our holy fathers Vasily, Trophim and Therapont. The Lord has granted me a cross to carry in life that is almost nothing compared to all the grave sins I committed in my previous, godless period of life. And I feel pity for my husband because he does not believe in God and is still not baptized.
I recall how eleven years ago, shortly before our wedding (when I was still not a church-goer myself), I used to ask my fiancé, “Darling, please, get baptized! Let’s get married in church!” But he took those words extremely antagonistically, though he loved me dearly. So we got married and both remained non-believers.
The first eight years of my married life were spent like heaven on earth: my husband spoiled me, coddled me like a child, gave me flowers, and I did not worry about anything. I did have some sorrows at times, but the feeling of love blocked all the negative aspects. The Lord did not abandon me, a sinner, and one sorrow finally brought me to church.
I will never forget my first confession: you are saying things out loud, and the loads are falling, falling off your soul; it is much easier to breathe now, and a ray of the sun turns the icons to gold!…
I will not give the details here—that is simply not possible. All seemed unrealistic. I remembered only the fact that hot tears did not freeze on my face even in 40 below zero weather! My husband left and returned many times, and he continuously had terrible aggression towards me. It was dreadful, although we did have a genuine love for each other! And my daughter, Katyusha [a diminutive form of the name “Catherine” in Russian], once told me when she was a four years old, “Oh, my dearest soul, do not argue! Since the Holy Spirit will help you!” [This sounds like a rhymed verse in Russian]. “Did you hear that anywhere?” I exclaimed in amazement. “No, I have just composed it myself,” she replied!
In spring 2010 I read, along with other holy books, Red Pascha [a book by Nina Pavlova relating the story of the murder of the three Optina monks on the Easter Day, 1993 by a Satanist]. I was astounded by the life and death of our brothers, the holy martyrs Vasily, Trophim and Therapont. I started to pray hard for my spouse’s salvation. Once, when my husband was leaving, he threw my icons on the floor, saying, “I have wanted to do that for a long time!” I was terror-stricken. I then recalled another relative of mine (who is now dead) who had trampled on icons and afterwards lost his legs… But my husband, a convinced atheist and opponent of “religion” who attends neo-pagan rituals, with his own hands picked up the icons and carefully put them back in their place at once! I consider this to be due to prayers of the Holy Optina Martyrs and the mercy of God. I regularly read the canon of repentance by Hieromonk Vasily (Roslyakov) of Optina and set my hopes upon the intercession of our holy brothers and the grace of God.
I would like to share my story, which happened right on New Year’s Eve. We had a problem with our car and my husband spent six months going to numerous car mechanics, trying to find out the reason. He ended up replacing many car parts, but nobody could figure out what was wrong. My husband had a lot of trouble with this car and was even about to throw it away…
At that time I was reading Red Pascha and so began to pray to Fr. Therapont, asking him to help us repair our car (which at that time had been under repair for three days. The specialists were trying to determine the cause of the problem). So I prayed to Fr. Therapont in my own words. I did not pray much, only a couple of times did I ask him to fix our car (since we must work, after all). And what do you think happened next? My husband, to my utter amazement, drove the car home, already repaired! It turned out that the car fault was due to stupidity: when they were replacing yet another part they lost the oil in the gearbox, and just needed to fill it; there were also other minor errors—nothing special.
It was a true miracle! Fr. Therapont heard our entreaties! Glory to Thee, O Lord! You never abandon us and always send consolation through Your saints! Fr. Therapont, thank you for your help!
Here is my testimony to miracles through the prayers of the New Martyrs of Optina, Hieromonk Vasily, and Monks Trophim and Therapont. But I would like to start with a prehistory.
I have not been to Optina Monastery yet. God willing, I will visit it later this year. I have always wanted to go to Optina, but my desire, it appears, was not that strong… But from a certain moment I understood that my heart was definitely drawn to Optina Monastery. I first heart about this monastery as a schoolgirl—I like the works by Fyodor Dostoevsky, who often mentions Optina in the stories of his life’s path. Four years ago the book Red Pascha happened to fall into my hands. When I read it for the first time I found it interesting, but not everything was clear to me in it. A year later I read this book another time, and there were some new feelings… Then I put the book away onto a bookshelf and temporarily forgot it until recently, when a huge desire to read it again during the Great Lent appeared in my heart. And now I am rereading it already for the fourth time this year! And I am having a whole range of emotions and feelings in my soul that are hard to articulate! Tears, peaceful rejoicing, and a feeling of unearthly grace… And now my account of the New Martyrs’ help.
In May (it was May 12, the day before the Ascension) I had to walk a very long distance in my new shoes. I always have this problem: every time my new shoes chafe my feet. But I did not really expect that it would turn out so bad for me. I have a very high pain threshold, and that is why my reaction was so slow – otherwise I would have applied a bandage. When at home I took my shoes off, I was shocked: I had rubbed the soles my feet along with my toes and sides of my feet sore…
I had to cut away the dead skin on the ruptured blisters, so it all looked horrible. Unfortunately, my ointment that makes wounds heal faster ran out, so I only cleansed the skin with an antiseptic agent and wrapped my feet with bandages. By the evening my feet hurt so bad that I could barely walk in my flat, and I wracked my brains over how I was going to work on the following day. Knowing that my wounds usually take a long time to heal, I realized that it would be two weeks before my blisters went away…
I could not fall asleep, my feet were burning like in fire and the pain was annoying, shooting and stabbing. And then it occurred to me to implore the Optina New Martyrs for help. I prayed to them in my own words, asked them to help me fall asleep and that my pain be gone. As I was lying there, I remembered the stories of miracles through the intercession of the New Martyrs from the book. Suddenly I felt as if a cool breeze enveloped my burning feet, while the pain remitted and sleep soon overtook me.
In the morning I woke up at half past five, made a sign of the cross and read the Jesus prayer, got dressed and went out to walk my dog, still half-asleep… And it was in the street that it dawned upon me that my feet did not hurt any more! I did not remember at once what had happened to me the day before (at night the bandages had come unwound, slipped down and lay on the bed). I got home and looked at my feet: there were still traces of blisters on them, but they had nearly closed up by that moment! I spent the whole day on my feet, without the slightest pain! Glory be to the Creator for His help through the intercession of the Optina Martyrs! And I thank the holy slain monks who did not abandon me, but responded to my prayer!
Several times I prayed to the Optina New Martyrs to solve transport problems, and each time they helped me very quickly. Last time this occurred two weeks ago: the temperature outside was +37 degrees Celsius; I missed my bus carrying heavy bags, the following bus was only an hour later, and there was nowhere to sit down. I could have taken a suburban train, but, again, an hour was left until the following train’s arrival and it was a long way to the nearest train station from there.
I addressed the murdered Hieromonk Vasily in my thoughts: “Father, please, help me! I am so exhausted and have no energy! Please help me get home as soon as possible!” And just as I said it in my mind, an absolutely empty bus appeared from the corner (it was moving not according to schedule). The most striking thing was that the bus reached the stop I needed and then at once broke down!
There is another story which took place some three weeks ago that I believe was the miraculous help of God through the prayers of the New Martyrs. In our country house (dacha) we needed to go down to the root cellar to take some old potatoes and jars with old pickles. I was expected to go down into the cellar but I was very afraid of it—the cellar was old, the steps were insecure, and the whole process was inconvenient. First you needed to sit down on the floor of the house, lowering your legs into the cellar’s manhole, and then slip or jump down some 1.5 meters (c.4.92 feet). Next you had to remain on your feet, standing on small narrow planks, and then turn around and go down the steps another three meters (c.9.84 feet). All of this is done in the darkness and only after that can you lower a cord lamp. With all my heart I besought the Lord make it so that I didn’t have to go down to the cellar. And unexpectedly my aunt decided to do it, although earlier she had refused point-blank, pleading her sore leg.
My aunt got down into the cellar and I lifted up the unnecessary things in a bucket tied to a string. All went well and fast. But suddenly a problem arose: my aunt walked up the steps, got up on the small planks, but could not come out of the cellar. Her leg hurt, she could not bend it, and neither could she pull herself up on her hands and crawl out of the cellar! There were no men around to help her, and my grandmother had a sore arm after a fracture. Tears, lamentations and rebukes (from my aunt) followed, and I started imploring the Optina Martyrs for help: “Optina Martyrs, Fr. Vasily, Fr. Trophim, and Fr. Therapont, please intercede!” And an inner voice suddenly told me in my mind, “Take her under her arms and drag her up!” I thought to myself how I could do it, not being a weightlifter, and my aunt no Thumbelina! However, I took my aunt by her arms and pulled her up… It seemed to me at that moment that my aunt leapt up (though physically she could not have done it). It seemed as if some invisible person then either pushed her slightly up from below or pulled her up from above. But definitely it was not me, as I did not feel her weight at all! So I thought that she somehow managed to push herself away and jump out of the cellar, while my role was only to support her a little.
Later, as my aunt was seeing me off on the train, she suddenly said, “Well done! You pulled me out of the cellar. I would never have managed myself!” I was startled beyond speech! I had only one thought in my mind: “Glory to Thee, O Lord! Thank you, Optina Martyrs!”
I do not know whether you find these stories miraculous and worthwhile or not, but I always feel the help of the New Martyrs whenever I pray to them.