“Calm Down! The Lord Will Give Us Everything,” and Other Stories from Diveyevo

In books and online forums, you can find many testimonies of miracles that occurred with pilgrims to Diveyevo. But can it be that St. Seraphim helps only guests, forgetting about the locals? Of course not! We asked Diveyevo residents to recall miracles that happened to them by the prayers of St. Seraphim and to share stories they’ve heard. Those we spoke with asked to remain anonymous.

Diveyevo Monastery Diveyevo Monastery     

The candle lit itself

Diveyevo, 1991. It had been less than a year since we moved here. At that time, desolation reigned on the territory of the now magnificently adorned monastery. Trees have grown up densely around the ruined churches, with flocks of boisterous rooks nesting in their branches. The cathedral walls are covered in paint, with grass and shrubs on the roof. And above all this rises a dilapidated bell tower with an antenna instead of a dome.

I’m seven. I had the first Nativity of my life this year: Instead of Santa Claus—the Christ Child and the Magi. My first Pascha with the cross procession, candles, red eggs, the simple chant so close to our hearts: “Christ is Risen from the dead…”

Life in a new place, stories of wondrous things—miracles, saints, angels—filled us with a sense that we were living in a fairytale. I’ve seen a lot with my own eyes too: churches being restored, the territory being transformed, the faithful coming.

Playing in the yard, I heard a new sound. The bell tower has come to life! Judging by the sound of it, there were two bells, but they rang cheerfully and joyfully. Excited, I ran inside:

“Mama! They’re ringing! Can I go look?”

“Just wait, we’ll all go together!” Mama said enigmatically.

It was the same day—July 31—when the most important event in the history of the rebirth of Holy Trinity Monastery took place. A “procession on wheels” with the relics of St. Seraphim was approaching Diveyevo, accompanied by Patriarch Alexei and other hierarchs, priests, and numerous laypeople.

The people filled the entire square between Holy Trinity Cathedral and the bell tower. The people stood with candles along the lane, carpeted with grass and flowers, anxiously looking towards the arch in the bell tower. We stood on the right side of the lane and also lit our candles.

Then the crowd got excited and voices rung out:

“They’re coming! They’re coming!”

And my candle went out, as if on purpose. But how could I greet Batiushka Seraphim without a flame? I started looking around, looking for someone to light my candle from… At that moment, the gilded reliquary with the relics of St. Seraphim appeared from the bell tower arch, floating above their heads on the hands of the bishops. And then I looked at my candle: It was burning!

The thought flashed through my mind: “It’s like the Holy Fire on Pascha that papa told me about!” And the choir near the cathedral suddenly broke out with the familiar “Christ is Risen from the dead…”

This was my first taste of the miraculous.

The second finding of the relics of St. Seraphim of Sarov in 1991 The second finding of the relics of St. Seraphim of Sarov in 1991     

My father barely made it home

The ‘90s were a romantic time for Orthodoxy. The country was in a mess, but for us, within the monastery enclosure, it was a spiritual parade and apostolic times. Having come to believe, people abandoned their former lives and moved from the cities to holy places, relying on God in everything. And God didn’t abandon anyone, responding to human faith with His caring help, often in simply incredible ways. We almost took it for granted then.

Soon after we arrived, my father bought a motorcycle with a sidecar, but he didn’t have any experience with handling such machinery yet. One time he went to a neighboring village to one sister in Christ for some business. And bad luck—he pierced one of the tires.

He somehow rolled the motorcycle to a friend’s house, put it up on a jack, and started taking the rear tire off—but it wasn’t to be. Then my father raised the bike higher, and at some point he carelessly pulled on the rim, and the 550-pound bike fell off the jack, landing on his hand pretty hard.

My father’s eyes went dark. Somehow freeing his unresponsive hand, he went inside. The owner of the house, seeing his white face and his injured hand, clasped her hands, sat her guest down on the sofa and rushed over to the icon corner.

“I have some oil here from the lampada at Batiushka Seraphim’s grave. I’ll anoint you!”

And having anointed him, the woman stood before the icons and started praying. My father lay down—he was feeling very dizzy. At some point he felt his hand tingling like needles pricking him from inside, and then he dozed off for a few minutes. When he opened his eyes, there was no more pain. He felt strength in his hand, and he could move his fingers.

My father went out to the motorcycle and immediately realized his mistake. He unscrewed the seat and removed the wheel from over the top—with the same hand. And for several weeks, only a cut on the back of his hand, covered with an unusually hard scab, reminded him of the injury.

Mama, calm down! The Lord will give us everything

Not spectacular signs, but a wondrous confluence of circumstances—this is the manifestation of God’s mercy. Small miracles, masked under ordinary coincidences, happened regularly in our lives.

We didn’t live richly, we ate simply, we worked a lot, but I won’t say we were ever hungry or poor. How many times did it happen that my mother, used to living by rational standards, complained, saying something like:

“We’ve runout of oil. We don’t even have anything to fry the potatoes in! And I don’t get paid for a week.”

My father would always say:

“Mama, calm down. The Lord will give us everything we need.”

And he was never wrong. Miraculously, food, clothes, and money would always appear. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God … and all these things shall be added unto you, we read in the Gospel (Mt. 6:33). But such blissful nonchalance was difficult for my mother.

One time my father saw the first tomatoes brought in from the garden, and he wanted to grab one, but mama wouldn’t give him one:

“Save it for Sunday. We have guests coming and I’m going to make a salad.”

At practically the same moment, the door opened, and someone brought in a whole bucket of ripe tomatoes. My father didn’t say anything, but just looked at mama: “You sure?” She just threw up her hands.

My family found itself in the middle of an unknown city with no money

Many miraculous stories happen with travelers. I’ve often heard stories from friend about how some pilgrims unexpectedly bought tickets when there were none available, or met a fellow traveler who took them straight to their destination. Our family had such “road” stories too. I’ll tell you one of them.

When our red motorcycle no longer satisfied the family needs, my father switched to something more serious—he bought a 1972 Moskvich.[1] We couldn’t afford something newer. The Moskvich was constantly breaking down, as they were wont to do, and my father spent a lot of time in the garage.

One day we were going to visit some friends on the complete opposite side of the province. Before we left, my father checked everything, but the car barely reached Nizhny Novgorod and stalled right in the middle of a wide avenue. While my father was trying to get it started, the old battery died too. And what’s more, there was a flat tire.

There was nothing to do but despair. Our family with three children was stuck in a defective car in the middle of a big city where we didn’t even know anyone. And money was tight. My father put on his hazard lights and opened the hood, looking at the fuel filter, where he could see water, when someone suddenly tapped him on the shoulder. My father turned around and gasped. A Moldovan friend from Diveyevo was standing there. His truck was behind our Moskvich. He had a rope in his hands:

“Show me where to hook it!”

They towed the car to a shop, and everything turned out alright.

A piglet from Batiushka Seraphim

The sultry summer of 1991. A resident of Sarov, Alexander, a solid family man, headed off to the village on business. His wife told him to buy a piglet—times were tough—and also to bring a cabinet back. He attached a trailer to the Zhiguli[2] and drove off. He wanted to pop in to Diveyevo to pray to Batiushka Seraphim along the way. But the entrance was blocked, so he went straight to the village.

Alexander raced down the road, admiring the endless expanses. And suddenly from the hill he saw spread out before him a huge column of cars, and in the front—a full-length icon of St. Seraphim. And behind it, the very relics of the God-pleaser. So he bowed to the saint!

And suddenly he felt how everything around him had changed, the whole of nature. It was like everything all around, the whole world, the whole area had brightened—words can’t describe it. It changed. And inwardly—such lightness! The column passed, and Alexander continued on to the village.

He loaded up the cabinet, but there was no luck with the piglet—no one was selling one, no matter how much he asked. He’d traveled all over. He was tired, and it was hot. He’d have to go home empty-handed.

As he was driving he saw a crow circling in a field, swooping down to the ground, like it was attacking something. There wasn’t a soul around. He was curious, and he got out of his car and walked closer. And lo and behold—there was a little tiny piglet, still alive. The piglet saw Alexander, and ran straight into his arms. Where did he come from, alone in the middle of a field? And not a minute earlier or later!

Alexander arrived home quite happy. He got to venerate Batiushka Seraphim and please his wife. They began to unload the cabinet, and the old trailer suddenly fell off—it had barely held on, it turns out. By all rights, the trailer should have fallen off on the road, but nothing happened. Why?

Alexander is firmly convinced that this whole day full of wondrous coincidences was a gift of St. Seraphim, given to him to strengthen his faith.

[1] A Soviet/Russian automobile brand, produced from 1946 to 2001—Trans.

[2] Another Soviet/Russian brand of car, made from 1970 to 2012—Trans.

Prepared by Pavel Sushkov
Translation by Jesse Dominick



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