My mother had constant headaches for as long as she could remember. The only difference was in the intensity—sometimes stronger, sometimes weaker, when the pain was barely noticeable. That’s why I wasn’t surprised when on one of my visits home my sister met me with the words: “Mama has a bad headache; she can’t even get up to meet you.”
“I’m now going to treat her!” I announced, with an assurance that came from I don’t know where.
And I really did have a special medicine with me.
Not long before, in July-August of 2000, the head of Great Martyr and healer Panteleimon was brought to Moscow from Holy Mt. Athos. The line outside the Christ the Savior Cathedral was enormous, because the holy relic was there for its final few days before its return to Mt. Athos. People stood for ten to twelve hours, even at night.
I came to the church after work, at about seven in the evening. I found the end of the queue somewhere on the Moscow River embankment, took out my Akathist to Holy Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon, and starting reading.
I was pleasantly surprised by the Orthodox people standing in line in an orderly manner, prayerfully, and concentrated in their thoughts. There were practically no conversations. True, one woman sincerely admitted: “After all, I’m standing here for the third time…”
“Why is that? Weren’t you able to get in the first two times?” her neighbor in the queue inquired sympathetically.
“I did get in.” Only I didn’t stand the first two times. The first time I was able to get in without standing in line, and the second time my friends let me in ahead of them. But then St. Panteleimon appeared to me in a dream and said, “But you haven’t been to see me even once!” I woke up; the dream as if took it all away, and I got dressed and came right here. So here I am. What do you think—will St. Panteleimon forgive me?”
We managed to reach the relics only by morning. At the exit of the church, everyone was given a tiny flask of oil blessed on the relics of Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon. There was only a little bit of it, no more than two or three millimeters.
“Oh, how should I use it—there is so little of it? And I won’t be able to share it with anyone!” I perplexedly asked the monk who was passing out the bottles.
“You should mix it with other holy oils. Best of all with oil from Divine Unction. You probably have some at home.”
“I do,” thought I.
At home I poured some oil into the little bottle, then divided it into two parts and poured half of it into another bottle.
This is the precious gift I brough to the town of Shors, Ukraine.
Having left my suitcase on the veranda, I took with me only the bottle with oil from the head of Healer Panteleimon and went into the bedroom where my mother lay.
“Oh! My son, my head aches so badly that I can’t see the beautiful world!” mama complained in lieu of a greeting.
“Now I’m going to heal you!” I proclaimed to her assuredly. “Not I, of course, but St. Panteleimon…”
I opened the little bottle. I inserted the clean end of a matchstick (there was nothing else available at the moment), read the “Our Father…” and put my mother’s baptismal cross to her forehead.
And though twenty years have passed since that moment, I’m still amazed at what happened next.
Totally unexpectedly for my mother, and even more so for me, absolutely black blood began pouring from her nose! Black as pitch! Mama raised herself, and I just managed to put my cupped hand under her nose so that the blood wouldn’t pour all over the bed. I shouted to my sister, “Bring me a bowl!”
My sister brought a bowl and helped mama to sit up on the edge of the bed, while the blood just poured and poured, filling the bottom of a rather voluminous vessel.
Then the bleeding stopped, just as unexpectedly as it had started. And then three bright-red drops fell upon on that black, liquid mass—without dissolving into it.
We looked at them in amazement.
Mother turned her head this way and that, and then smiled, saying, “It doesn’t hurt!”
It seemed to me that this was even more surprising to her than the black blood in the bowl.
“Oh, son! You’ve healed me!”
“Not I, mama, but Holy Healer Panteleimon!” and I finally kissed my mother. “He sent us oil, just for healing. After all, as you used to tell us, you always loved to adorn his icon in the church with flowers! Well, here is a ‘hello’ from your childhood.”
It’s also amazing that my mother’s headaches completely went away from that time on.