Miracles for Unbelievers

From the newest issue of The Orthodox Word, Eternity Hidden in the Moment: The Life and Recollections of Elder Arsenie (Papcioc). He writes about how after he was ordained he was named spiritual father of the Neamt Monastic Seminary. He writes:

“One day I served with a deacon older than the others. I was telling the students [from in front of the Royal Doors] about the Holy Mysteries, Which can also appear as Flesh or as a little Child. For thus the Service Book instructs us: ‘If there appears, after the consecration of the bread and wine, a miracle, namely the form of bread as Flesh or a little Child, and the wine as Blood, and if this vision will not change (that is, if they would not revert to bread and wine) and thus they will remain unchanged, the priest should by no means commune, because these are not the Body and Blood of Christ, but a miracle from God, revealed only for unbelief or for other reasons. And the priest should take another prosforon (if the appearance of only the bread has changed) and, as shown above, do and say the Proskomedia on the prosforon and take out the Holy Lamb; and he should set aside the One miraculously changed, guarding It with reverence, and he should start from the prayer: With these blessed powers we also…., and he should do all things according to the order of service. And the second time he should not say anything above the Chalice. If the wine in the Chalice has also changed into Blood, he should pour It in another worthy cup, or into another clean vessel, pouring wine again saying over it the prayers of Proskomedia, and thus, in order, consecrate them also, following the typicon, and at the time of communion to commune after the custom, and the service to the end.’

“What was the deacon, with whom I was serving, thinking? For he was consuming the Holy Gifts at that moment….’Hmm,….it’s not quite as Fr. Arsenie says!’ And his mouth filled with Blood, and with Flesh instead of bread, and he fell to the floor and the Chalice fell to the Table of Oblation… I was a meter and a half from the deacon’s door, for the chapel was small. I turned around and reprimanded him, and they reverted to bread and wine…. He had doubted; he was not living through faith. Then why are you preparing for the priesthood?

“Thus it has been revealed, throughout the history of the Church, to emperors and to a whole series of unbelievers, how the Savior took the priest’s place…. how God did stop [being merciful] with the unbelievers, for only to them it is revealed … to satisfy them!… The Liturgy is not to be disputed; there is nothing symbolic; everything is true. What? Are you playing games with these things!?! God forbid!”

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2 thoughts on “Miracles for Unbelievers

  1. Randy,

    The deacon was consuming the gifts which is done after the liturgy when the priest, or in this case deacon, consumes the rest of the Holy Gifts in the Chalice. During this time, according to the story, is when the miracle occurred. It seems as though he was in the process of consuming the gifts when “when his mouth filled with Blood….”.

    God is still and always will be merciful to unbelievers and those, like the Apostle Thomas, who doubt and those like the Apostle Peter who at times prove to be weak in faith.

    Fr. Milovan

  2. Father,
    Are we to understand that, just prior to this moment, the miracle had appeared to the deacon, while he was consuming the holy Gifts? or had the miracle appeared while the Gifts were already in the deacon’s mouth? And how did God stop being merciful to unbelievers?

    In Christ,
    Randy

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