I wrote some time ago about how a piece of the relics of St. John of Shanghai miraculously wound up in our Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Saratov. I think I mentioned then too that from that moment, the invisible but quite tangible participation of the saint in the life of our parish and parishioners began, including in my own life. If I didn’t mention it, I should have. I’d like to recall now one of these instances—perhaps the most striking.
One evening, a man came in with an unbearable expression of pain on his face. A terrible misfortune had brought him to the church. After a disagreement, his sixteen-year-old son inexplicably jumped from the tenth floor. I was already trying to find the words to comfort this father in his incomparable grief, but then he explained that his son was still alive. He landed flat on the ground, suffering a fracture at the base of his skull and a tear in his liver tissue. The young man was in a deep coma. He basically had zero chance of survival.
It’s hard to say why—I was probably following some unexpected impulse—but I offered the man to serve a moleben to St. John, which he readily accepted.
A few days later, the father came again. His son was still in a coma, but even this seemed incredible considering the injuries he’d sustained. A little while later, we found out that he’d regained consciousness. And a little while later, he began to eat on his own.
I saw the son at church two or three months later. He came himself, not in a wheelchair, and he didn’t have any crutches. He looked sickly, exhausted (it would be strange if he didn’t), but he stood firmly on his feet, although he didn’t speak very clearly yet (which is also not surprising, considering his face hit the ground, falling from the tenth floor). He had just one intention: to thank God that he had miraculously survived, and to thank the amazing saint for this miracle—St. John…