MANASTIR LEPAVINA - SRPSKA PRAVOSLAVNA CRKVA

MIRACLES AS A GIFT TO THOSE WHO CRY UNTO THE LORD: THE WORKING OF MIRACLES AMONG THE ORTHODOX - To be continued…




  WARNINGS OR PUNISHMENTS – MIRACLES WORKED AS A SIGN OF THE VIGILANT CARE OF THE SAINT
 

Maksim Jovovic wrote in 1959:

“In the 17th century in the village of Zhavorovo (near Vrazhegrmci), municipality of Danilovgrad, there lived an old man whom everyone called “Eagle Nose” because of his long eagle-like nose. He lived in perfect harmony with his family of six sons and four daughters and was the object of the envy of many. When he was ninety years old all of his sons died from an infectious disease, one by one. Finally his wife died, too. He was left with his two daughters to lament his loss. His neighbours feared that he might kill himself in his state of depression but the good man only repeated the words of the long-suffering Job, “The Lord gives, the Lord takes away. Glory and thanks be to Him forever.”

Vladika Basil, Metropolitan of Zahumlje and Herzegovina, who was the latter St.Basil, heard about this case and sent for “Eagle Nose” to come to Ostrog to see him. While the building of the little church in the Upper Monastery was in progress the old man came and presented himself to the Metropolitan.

Seeing his good heart Vladika said to the poor man that he was to take a woman of 40 years of age and to marry her, without tarrying.

When the old man answered that he did not need a wife at his age, Vladika told him to heed his advice and that he would be blessed with many sons and would have many descendants.

The old man obeyed St.Basil and took a wife as he had instructed him. He had three sons from this marriage. Today three large families, descendants of the old man live in Vrazhegrmci, where his seed is multiplying, blessed by God.

 
AN UNUSUAL HEALING

Maksim Jovovic documented the following testimony of M.G., from the village of S., municipality of Bar:

“I spent lot of time and money seeking medical help for my stomach problems in Turkey but without any success. The doctors prescribed a strict diet for me which did not help cure me of any affliction at all. I was in constant pain and the frequent vomiting along with the state of depression I was in gave me no peace. I went from doctor to doctor looking for a cure until one day I fell into bed with no hope of getting up. I could not keep down even the mildest of foods. The doctors told my wife that there was no point in wasting any more money, that there was simply no help for me. They began to prepare her for my death.

My wife insisted in 1949 that I be taken to Ostrog. I was barely able to get out of the car when we reached the Upper Monastery. We spent the night there and stayed for the vigil service. The following day we returned home.

The third day after returning home I felt a change in my stomach. I felt a very unusual pang of hunger as well as a strange sensation of “pins and needles” in my abdomen, but without any pain. I suddenly had an apetite and I asked my wife to bring me some cookies and milk. The milk tasted good and as I drank it I expected to vomit, but I never did.

Since then my condition has improved and I am able to live normal life, all without the help of any medication, thanks be to God and St.Basil.”

THE HEALING OF A GRAVELY ILL ALBANIAN WOMAN

Hieromonk Seraphim Kasic wrote down this entry for September 23rd in the archives of the Upper Monastery:

“Prenta Ljaicevic from Druma near Tuzi visited Ostrog with her husband Franjo. Prenta was very ill with a painful stomach disease. She also had frequent migraines. In the past month, as her husband said, they had gone from one doctor to another, but there had been no improvement. Her husband then accompanied her to Ostrog, where she wished to pray to Saint Basil the Wonderworker and entreat him to deliver her from the intolerable pain. The monk said prayers for her and they stayed for the vigil service. After that they went home. I gave Franjo the monastery address and asked him to write about Prenta’s condition.

Here is Franjo letter, written in broken Serbian:

Dear Priest Monk, greetings to you. I wanted to write to you about my wife who I brought to your monastery. My wife was in much pain. She has very little pain now, and no headache. May Saint Basil grant that you be healthy, too. I have nothing more to say. Kind regards from me and my wife. Glory to the Holy Basil!”

ST.BASIL APPEARS TO A MUSLIM
 
Hieromonk Georgije M. from the monastery of Kosijerevo told archivist Maksim Jovovic the following story in 1959:

“I was at Ostrog in 1957 and was present when a well-to-do Muslim farmer from Bosnia recounted how he had brought his father, who at that time was suffering from the consequences of a nervous breakdown, to Ostrog. He said that the pilgrimage had been in vain, just like his many visits to various clinics and hospitals. Then one day, said this man, continuing his story, he met a strange monk in his orchard. The monk asked him whether he and his family gave alms to the poor and whether they felt a decrease in their wealth because of the alms-giving. He answered that they often gave alms, but that they gave of their surplus. The monk said that such almsgiving was not profitable for the soul of the giver and that it was no wonder that his father had not been cured at Ostrog.

When the elders of his family met after their evening meal that night, the man proposed that they perform more substantial charitable deeds in honour of the upcoming bayram (Muslim religious holiday), for the recovery of his father. The family agreed, and when the bayram came they gave their best cow to a poor neighbour who had never owned so much as a calf. They gave another poor farmer an ox. Since there were hundreds of sheep in their fold, they decided to give away every tenth sheep to the poor in their village. They also gave away a significant number of lambs and fowl. Their countrymen were amazed and full of gratitude for their generosity and God-pleasing work.

Some time later the son saw the same monk in the orchard, who said, “Because your sincere charitable deeds your prayers have been heard. Your father shall be healed.” Having said this the monk vanished, just as he had the first time.

From that day on his father was healthy. He recovered from his illness completely and was again capable of managing and overseeing the work on the farm just as he had before, the only difference being that now his wealth was multiplied. Every year a member of the family pays a visit to Ostrog, or if they are not able to visit personally they send donations.”
 
THE HEALING OF A MENTALLY ILL SLOVENIAN

Maksim Jovovic recorded the testimony of Djuro D. from a village near Bar in the early seventies:

“In 1962 on the Feast day Sts. Peter and Paul I stayed at Ostrog for three days. As always there were a great many pilgrims from all over the country and from abroad at the monastery. A great multitude came together to celebrate the feast day – about ten thousand people in all.

A young girl of about eighteen from Slovenia caught everyone’s attention that day. People eyed her with pity for she kept shaking uncontrollably and waving her arms, unable to speak a word. Her aunt, who had brought her there, was clearly having a very difficult time with her. The girl behaved as one possessed.

There was an incredible change in her after the two had gone into the church to venerate the Relics of Saint Basil. While going down the steep slope from the Upper to the Lower monastery the girl finally spoke, and she seemed very happy. When they reached the grounds of the Lower monastery the girl started dancing with other young people who were making merry there. She was clearly overjoyed that she had been made well again.

The other pilgrims looked on with amazement and there was no end to our wonder at this quick and remarkable healing.”
 

A MUSLIM COUPLE IS RECONCILED BEFORE THE RELICS OF SAINT BASIL OF OSTROG

 The abbot of the Upper Monastery, Father Seraphim Kasic, includes a personal account about an incident he witnessed:

In August of 1958 a Muslim married couple from a village near Sjenica in Sandzak visited Ostrog, along with the many other pilgrims of different faiths that usually visit this holy place. Both of them were very young and obviously very upset, with worried and unhappy looks on their faces. They bought five candles costing one hundred dinars each, lit them and approached the Reliquary. The woman held three candles in her hands and the man held two. I watched them as they argued over something for a few minutes and then asked them to either venerate the Relics in silence like everyone else or else to leave the church. At this the man turned to me and said, “Reverend father, I am convinced that my wife has been unfaithful to me. I know that she has committed adultery on three occasions. She says this is not so; therefore I have brought her to swear before the Relics of St.Basil the Wonderworker that she is innocent. Only then will I believe her. Otherwise there will be no reconciliation between us. Let her swear an oath!” Hearing this, I addressed the wife and warned her to think well before saying anything and to tell only the truth, for she was about to swear an oath before a Saint of God.
 
She then swore solemnly that she was not guilty of adultery in the three instances that her husband had accused her off, or on any other occasion, adding to her oath the words “so help me God and Saint Basil!” The husband did not comment on her words at all and seemed quite satisfied. After she had given her solemn declaration of innocence I turned to her husband and said these words to him, You must now swear never to look with desire upon other women while your lawful and wedded wife is living. From now on you are to live with her in peace, love and harmony.” I insisted that they kiss and reconcile before me and told them that they must forget any doubts there may have been and any insults and begin all over again, living in a harmonious and love-filled marriage. They obeyed me without a word kissing and making peace with each other. Then, after having venerated the Relics and the Holy Cross, they took their leave of me. They returned home rejoicing that divorce had been prevented and that there was no reason for jealousy and doubt.”

  A MUSLIM IS HEALED FROM A SKIN DISEASE BY OIL FROM A VIGIL LAMP FROM OSTROG


V.P., a pensioner from Bar, told Maksim Jovovic the following story in 1957. Jovovic then made a written record of it in the archives.

 “Last year, in 1956, I met a friend of mine, a Muslim from Krajina, who told me about his remarkable experience at Ostrog.
 
He had long suffered from an undiagnosed skin disease. Most of the skin on his head was covered in sores and his face was full of boils. He had tried different kinds of ointments and injections but nothing helped. He had also lost a lot of weight and life had seemed pointless. One night he had a dream in which a white-bearded Elder came to him and told him to anoint himself with oil from a vigil lamp in the Upper Monastery at Ostrog and that thus he would be healed.

He went to Ostrog soon after that and asked the monk to say a prayer for him. He also asked for some oil from the vigil lamp. The monk said prayers for his health and anointed him with the oil. That same day the sores on his head and face started peeling off like fish scales. After he had anointed himself a second time, there was almost no sign of disease on his skin. He returned home joyfully, glorifying God and His Saint.”

A MUSLIM PAYS OFF A DEBT BY THE INTERCESSION OF SAINT BASIL

In the 1960’s archivist Maksim Jovovic recorded the following testimony as recounted to him by M.D., a devout and wealthy Muslim from a village near Bar:

“I have always had a strong faith in God and His Saint, the Holy Basil, Wonderworker of Ostrog. In the midst of life difficulties, whenever I offered up a warm and sincere prayer to Saint Basil and entreated him to intercede for me, my prayers were always heard. I have had a happy marriage and a good family life. God has given me four sons and a daughter.

 Last year, in 1960, God saved me through the intercession of Saint Basil from a terrible tragedy that threatened to destroy my family’s life. I was given only twenty days to pay off a debt and returned the money I had borrowed for my daughter’s wedding. As there were no offers for my olive grove which I had hoped to sell in order to return the 4.500.000 dinars I owed, I decided that I would rather take my own life than lose face before the whole village. I called my wife and asked her to pray with me to Saint Basil and asked for his intercession. When all seemed lost and when it was evident that I would not be able to pay off my debt and fulfil my obligations, just one day before the deadline, a man who I never would have thought could have helped me came to my home and offered to lend me the money. I needed to pay off my debt. He did not ask for any interest. I took the money and paid off my debt. Soon after that I sold my olive grove and returned all the money to this kind man.

I am here at Ostrog with my wife to give thanks to God and Saint Basil for having saved my family from ruin.


THREE SIMULTANEOUS HEALINGS

In December of 1965 Hieromonk Seraphim Kasic copied into the monastery records a letter handwritten and signed by the priest Mile Vulovic from Prijepolje in which Father Mile describes three miraculous experiences of pilgrims from Prijepolje. The original of the letter is enclosed:

“Dear brother in Christ, Father Seraphim,Glory be to God, my family and I are well. I am writing this letter in a state of great spiritual joy. I trust God that this letter will find you in good health, through the prayers of Saint Basil the Wonderworker of Ostrog and of all the Saints.Dear brother in the Lord, do forgive me for taking so long to write this letter.All of us who went on pilgrimage to Ostrog have returned home with great gifts of mercy and compassion, through the prayers of our Holy father Basil. It is with great joy that I am able to tell you that a member of the first party of pilgrims who visited Ostrog from Prijepolje, Abdullah Bechirbashich, a man with a long history of manic depression, has been made completely well.

Another member of the group, N.N., an Albanian from Pec, who had spent all of his fortune on medications and therapy in the hope of curing his deadly illness, was also healed. He was preparing for death when he had a dream one night in which he was told that his only hope was Saint Basil of Ostrog. He joined our party of pilgrims, prayed before the Relics and was healed.

I am sure you will remember the forstkeeper Pavle Anichich. He had suffered a stroke and as a result his arm and leg had remained paralyzed. Through the intercession of St.Basil, his leg is now healed and he can walk.

How great art Thou, O Lord, and how great are Thy works! O Saint Basil, pleaser of God and Wonderworker, pray to God for us!

O fathers, keepers of the great and holy shrine, pray to God for us. You are in our prayers, too. May God give you strength and patience, that you may endure in your efforts!

Dear Father Seraphim, please give my kind regards to all the brethren, keepers of the holy shrine.

I greet you with the joyful words: “Christ is Born!”

A prosperous New Year to all of you.

Asking for your holy prayers, I remain.
  Priest Mile, a sinner

A PUNISHMENT FROM GOD


Maksim Jovovic writes in the 1950’s:

“Not far from the Ostrog Monastery, in a little village of the Pjeshivac region, there lived at the turn of the 20th century a wealthy villager who was known to be an atheist.

He had a habit of using blasphemous words concerning the Holy Mysteries and anything to do with the Church. One spring this foul-mouthed man called the neighbours to help him dig around the corn crop on his farm. While they were digging he began, as usual, to ridicule ancient Orthodox customs. The villagers warned him not to do that lest he die an unnatural death.

The following month he again called the villagers to help him with his corn crop and again from his mouth came blasphemous words about the Church and the Faith.

Suddenly there was a loud crashing noise. The blasphemer fell to the ground dead.

The villagers witnessed a most unusual sight; their host was lying on the ground with a smashed skull. A few yards away on the ground was a huge tortoise of about two kilograms (4-1/2).

An eagle had dropped the tortoise from a great height, with the intention of smashing it against the ground so that it could feed on its meat.

That day a great many eagles where seen circling above the Ostrog caves. Everyone wondered at this terrible accident that is still being talked about among the people. They mourned the tragic death of their countryman and his terrible destiny, which without any doubt was the consequence of his godless ways

A TURKISH WOMAN HAS REGRETS ABOUT HER JEWELLERY

Maksim Jovovic also documented this story:

“At about the end of the 19th century the daughter of a Turkish baig, a landowner from Sarajevo, fell ill. Her arms and legs were paralyzed so that she could not so much as bring a spoon to her mouth. She was taken to many clinics at home and abroad but there seemed to be no help for her.

After much hesitation her parents decided to take her to the Ostrog monastery, to try healing her with prayers. At the monastery she was taken to venerate the Relics of St.Basil. Prayers were read for her and by the time she left the church the young woman was feeling much better. The following day she was completely healed. She left all her gold jewellery near the Reliquary as a gift to the monastery.

When she returned home all their relatives and neighbours hurried to congratulate her father and to wish his daughter well. The girl told everyone, “The Christian Saint healed me in return for my golden jewellery!”

The following morning the girl cried out from her bed. Under her pillow she found her golden jewellery. She was in great pain, the same as before. She tried to pray again but her prayers went unanswered this time.

This incident is well known all over Bosnia.”


A WARNING TO A FORGETFUL MAN

Hieromonk Sarephim Kasic documented another testimony by Petar Djerkovic from Bejzova on March 8th, 1964:

“In 1898 the late Petar R. Mickovic told me this story: “I was on my way to Ostrog to pray and to venerate the Relics of St.Basil. As I was passing through Bjelopavlovichi I met a man who was ploughing his field. I greeted him and he asked me where I was going. I answered that I was going to the Ostrog monastery to pray to St.Basil. He then asked me to take his donation, a silver coin, to the monastery and leave it on the Reliquary. I promised I would, took his money and went on my way.

When I came to the monastery I venerated the Relics and left my donation, but completely forgot about the silver coin the man had given me. I was going to step away from the Reliquary but suddenly I went rigid as a tree and could not move from the spot.

The monk who stood by the Relics asked me what was wrong with me. I could not answer him for I did not know. He then asked me if I had perhaps committed a grave sin. I answered that I could not remember. And then it dawned on me: I had forgotten about the donation that man had given me and I told this to the monk. At that moment I was free to move again. I took out the silver coin, placed it on the Reliquary and went home.

Petar told this story not only to me, but to many others from our village.”

The testimony was signed by the said Petar Djerkovic, Dobrica Popovic, Janko Drma, a student at the monastery and the archivist Hieromonk Seraphim Kasic.


THE GOLD-EMBROIDERED WAISTCOAT

Maksim Jovovic documented this incident in the 1960’s:

“M.A., a merchant from the town of P., was paralyzed from the waist down for many years. He could not walked but moved around in a wheelchair, using his hands. He was always in national dress and was never seen without his gold-embroidered waistcoat.

His friends insisted on taking him to Ostrog and at long last he agreed. He went there and returned home healthy.

Upon his return his friends came to visit him and to congratulate him on his health. It was then that he said this to them: “I have been healed thanks to Allah and I do not regret leaving a generous donation at the monastery. My only regret is that I left my gold-embroidered waistcoat there.” The following morning found him crippled and paralyzed, as before, to the dismay of his family and friends. He remained paralyzed for the rest of his life.

The same year a crippled young baig from Skadar was healed at Ostrog. By the power of God he rose from his bed after the unsuccessful attempts of various physicians to cure him. Finally he went to the Ostrog monastery, where he was healed. He left a generous donation in gold coins as a token gratitude for his healing.

After some time, while talking with friends who were visiting him at home, he said these words: “I was completely healed thanks to God and St.Basil, but he had to be bribed. I have to leave a great deal of money at the monastery.”

That very same night as he was sleeping his old illness came back. He remained bedridden and crippled for the rest of his life. He died after many years of suffering and exhaustion.”


THE MIRACLE OF THE CHILD WHO FELL TOGETHER WITH ITS CRIB DOWN A ROCKY MOUNTAIN SLOPE AT OSTROG AND REMAINED UNHARMED


Hieromonk Seraphim added his own remarks to this story on August 22nd, 1957. The exact year when this incident took place is not known:

“In connection to this afore mentioned letter I will try to add details concerning the incident of the child in the crib, as I had had them related to me by older people during the time I spent at Ostrog from 1939 to this day.

Nearly every visitor to Ostrog asks to be shown the exact place from which the crib with the child in it fell down the rocky slope. Many people have told me that the place which the crib fell from was near the spring. When I was tonsured a monk in 1952, knowing that I would be asked that same question, I went to my spiritual father Archimandrite Leontije (Mitrovic) and asked him about the details of the incident, since he had been abbot of the monastery for a long period of years.

This is what he told me: “The child in a crib fell from the place where the water springs from the rock near the bell tower, at the time when the old monastery building still stood. This is how it happened.

In those times water was brought only from the spring in the rocks. One day many visitors chanced to be waiting at the spring for their turn to draw water. A woman with a crib slung to her shoulder also came to get some water. In order to rest a little bit she leaned the crib against the wall near the spring. At that moment there were many people at the spring and space was tight. Someone from the crowd inadvertently jostled the woman and the crib with the child in it slipped away from her, fell down the monastery roof and into the garden below. Everyone rushed down. The younger and quicker ones got there first; they found the crib broken and the child safe.”

This is how Archimandrite Leontije related this incident to me. He said that an eyewitness, General Blazo Djukanovic from Cetinje, personally told him this story. He was one of those who had rushed down to the monastery garden to help the child.

It may be assumed, especially if one considers other testimonies, that this incident took place some time before the First Balkan War in 1912.

A SIX YEARS OLD CHILD SURVIVES A FALL DOWN THE OSTROG ROCKS

 Niko M. Djurasic, a most pious, modest, intelligent and honest man from Gluhi Do (Crmnica), told the archivist Maksim Jovovic of his pilgrimage to Ostrog in 1913:

“When I returned home after the Balkan War and the battle on Bregalnica, my first thought was about how to get to Ostrog and pray to God before the Reliquary of St.Basil of Ostrog and to thank Him for having preserved me in battle.

I went to Ostrog at the end of summer in 1913. There were not many pilgrims there at that time. I remember that I met three woman and some men from a nearby village. A six year old child was with them. After prayers in the monastery church an old monk told us the life of St.Basil of Ostrog and about the miraculous healings that took place here. We listened to him eagerly while the child played and ran around the wall that was erected along the 30 meter long rocky slope.

 Suddenly we heard the cries of the child, who had carelessly climbed the wall, slipped and fallen down the steep rocky slope. The mother of the child screamed in alarm. “Do not be afraid; he is all right,” said the old monk and we all ran down to where the child was. To our amazement we found him unhurt, without so much as a scratch, and took him up again. Five minutes later the child was playing again as if nothing had happened.

The monk told us how a few years back another small child in a crib had fallen down the same rocky slope and that that child, too, had remained unhurt.

This miraculous incident made me cleave even more to my faith and my church. I believe in the wonderworking power of the Saints of God.”

THE DECEITFUL


M.L., a sharp-minded and intelligent ninety-year from the village of G., municipality of Bar, told Maksim Jovovic the following story which he documented in the archives in 1959:

 “My old friend M.N. a Muslim from Podgorica, suffered from arthritic pain in his spine for many years. He hobbled around nearly bent over and was in constant pain, for which the doctors could find no cure.

 One night in 1915 he had a dream in which he was told to visit the Ostrog monastery. A neighbour, A.S., took him there. Prayers were said for him before the Reliquary after which he left a donation of several gold pieces on the Reliquary. Then, after having kissed the Cross and the Relics, he left the monastery.

 While walking to the forest between the Upper and the Lower monastery he felt increasingly better. When he got to the Lower Monastery he was a healthy man. He thanked God and St.Basil for this miraculous cure.

The same evening when he returned home neighbours gathered at his home to celebrate. Talking about various experiences in life my friend told them, “I have never been more sorry in my life than when I had to kiss that Christian Saint in the Reliquary. I regret it now, but it is too late.” His neighbours told him, “Do not worry about it. Allah will forgive you. The main thing is that you are well now.”

The following day while he was saying his prayers, upon touching his forehead to the ground he saw some gold pieces on his prayer rug. He recognised them at once; they were the same gold pieces he had left on the Reliquary of Saint Basil at Ostrog. He tried to stand up and cried out in pain. His old sickness was back, worse than before.

Soon he was completely bent over. The pain never left him until, tired and exhausted from so much suffering he gave up his soul.”
 

THE CASE OF THE CRIPPLED MUSLIM


In 1929, Ilija Zlaticanin wrote down this sequence in the archives from memory:

 “He was a Muslim and lived in our neighbourhood. We were about the same age, only I was healthy while both of his legs were shrivelled. The only way he could move around was in a sitting position, by hoisting himself up on his arms.

One day as we sat together in the sun we talked about a great many things. During our conversation the subject of his illness came up. These are his words:

“I fell ill when I was seven years old. My father and uncle tried everything but there was nothing that could be done to help me. Many people told them to take me to St.Basil’s at Ostrog, but they were very reluctant to do so. My father at long last began to soften a little and contemplated going to Ostrog, but my uncle was adamant, telling him to “stay away from Christians.” My mother, on the other hand, knew about the many healings that took place at Ostrog and she never stopped begging my father to take me.

At last my father managed to convince my uncle and one day the three of us set off for Ostrog. When we entered the church we spoke with the monk there, who explained that I was to spend the night under the Reliquary of the Saint. So I did.

The following day they took me to the miracle-working spring. I washed my face and drank the water and suddenly felt the life in my legs. I informed my father and he helped me up. I walked a few steps tottering, like a baby learning to walk.

Alas, my happiness was short-lived. While we were eating my uncle, looking at my father’s bandolier, suddenly asked, “Suljo, where is your silver knife?” My father answered that he had left it at the church near the Reliquary as a gift to the monastery. My uncle stood up, walked back to the church and took the knife. As soon as he had been given the knife back to my father I felt the symptoms of my illness returning. And so here I am to this day, a cripple. I will curse my uncle as long as I live.”
 

ANOTHER GIFT IS RETURNED


Maksim Jovovic wrote down this testimony in the archives in the 1960’s:

“Milica B. from the village of P., not very far from Ostrog, suffered from an affliction of the nervous system. She was extremely irritable and often very depressed. She was never taken to a mental institution, for she was not threatening, but her parents did seek help for her from doctors, who could not cure her of her mental illness. For many years it never occurred to them to take her to the best Doctor – God and His Saint, the Holy Basil, Wonderworker of Ostrog, to whom countless sick and suffering people come from all parts of the country and from abroad to pray for deliverance from their sorrows, and whose sincere prayers God hears and thus grants them healing.

Finally in 1925 it dawned on them to take her to Ostrog. The mother took her sick daughter and they spent the night. In the morning after matins the girl felt much better and was healed. Upon venerating the Relics of St.Basil, she took off her golden necklace and laid it near the Reliquary as a gift to the monastery. Mother and daughter returned home overjoyed.

One day a friend of the family came to her home. In front of everyone the girl, talking about her experience at Ostrog, said without thinking, “I was cured in return for my golden necklace.”

In the morning they found her ill again. The golden necklace was found hanging on a nail in the kitchen wall. The girl remained sick and soon died in a wretched state.”


GOD SHOWS HIS MERCY TO THOSE WHO REPENT


Ilija Zlaticanin wrote in 1929:

“This rich Bosnian was not only a very wealthy but also a very educated man. He had a beautiful wife whom he loved and respected. One day his wife took to her bed and after a short illness was left a cripple. Doctors came and prescribed various medications which did not help. The village women were called to cast spells but she remained bedridden. One night she had a dream in which her late mother urged her to go to the Ostrog monastery. She began to beg her husband to take her there but he, an educated man who did not believe in these folk tales, would not hear of it. Not only did he refuse to take her there, but also mocked her for being so simple as to think that going to a monastery would help. Slowly the love he had for her began to wane. She never stopped begging him to take her to Ostrog and one day he finally gave in, for her begging irritated him very much.

When he arrived at Ostrog with his wife and stood before the Relics, the Reliquary suddenly began to rock to and fro. The monk, seeing that there was no one else in the church, and that the woman was crossing herself with piety while her husband looked on with an air of indifference, immediately ordered him out of the church. As soon as he had gone out the rocking stopped.
 
This incident made a great impression on this man. He changed completely. When he entered the church again it was with reverence and faith in God. He crossed himself and prayed to God and St.Basil to save his wife from her crippling illness. The good God and His Saint the Holy Basil heard his prayer.

From that on day, the man began to go to church and to pray, help the poor and lead a blessed life. God shows His mercy to those who repent.”
 

A NEAR-FATAL CHANGE OF PLANS


Maksim Jovovic wrote down this testimony as told by retiree Novica Nikolic:

“An incident that happened in Niksic in the summer of 1938 has remained strongly engraved in my memory. I can still see those four educated young men who, after spending some time in a café in Niksic, decided to drive to the Ostrog monastery. Soon they were on their way, singing.

Halfway to Ostrog, they changed their minds and decided to go and have a good time somewhere else, and to leave the monastery for “some other time”. When they came to the Great Cross crossroads, where the road divided, they turned right, towards Danilovgrad and Podgorica, instead of going left towards Ostrog. They had barely driven two kilometres down the road when, due to a fault in the engine, the car skidded off the road and tumbled down, turning over, into a creek. They all suffered more or less serious injuries. Some of them went to the hospital, and some went home.

One of the party, who had very much wanted to see Ostrog, later said that he had had a bad feeling deep inside as soon as they had turned away from Ostrog on the road. He told his friends that this car crash was a good warning and mild punishment for them all for having broken their promise to visit a holy place. He said that for him, pilgrimages to holy places would always be more important than “having a good time”.

ST.BASIL RETURNS THE GIFT OF AN UNGRATEFUL MAN

Jagosh M., from the vicinity of Bar, dictated the following story to Maksim Jovovic:

“My friend Hassan D. from the village of M., municipality of Bar, had a son who as a child had been very weak and sickly. As he grew, his condition worsened and the poor boy became severely crippled. He was completely dependent on others. As the years passed, his parents’ lives became very difficult. They took him to many doctors, private and state clinics, village healers, herbalists and even asked the hodja for an amulet, but all these efforts were in vain.

 Finally, in September 1938 the father went to Ostrog to pray for his son, along with some other pilgrims from his village. He left six gold pieces as a donation to the monastery after the monks had read prayers for his crippled son.

Upon his return home, he found his son in front of the house, doing some work in the garden. He was joyful, for he could stand up straight and walk like a healthy person. The father rejoiced together with his son, but instead of thanking God for his son’s miraculous healing, he announced in front of his whole family and neighbours: “I am sorry I left those six gold pieces to the kaur (an insulting Turkish word for Christian) saint. I believe my son was cured thanks to the amulet hodja gave him.”

The following day, when the father had risen from bed, he found his son crippled and in pain, just as before. On his pillow were six golden pieces, the very same ones he had so reluctantly left at the Ostrog monastery.”

 
AN UNBELIEVING WOMAN DISCOVERS THE FAITH

Maksim Jovovic wrote down this story in 1960:

“M.T., an engineer from Shavnik, decided to visit Ostrog as a tourist in the spring of 1939 with his wife and some friends. The engineer’s Belgrade-born young wife went out of mere curiosity, and did not have any deeper spiritual reasons for coming along this trip.

They parked their car at the foot of the Upper Monastery and walked uphill the rest of the way. While they were walking, the engineer’s wife kept making ironic remarks about how stupid and nonsensical it was to believe in saints. She said, may God forgive us, that “there was nothing in that Reliquary but some dirty old cloths before which simpletons bowed down and crossed themselves and left money on them.” Her friends warned her not to say such things, but she would not stop.

Upon arriving in front of the Upper Monastery, they had barely reached the door of the church when this young woman fell to the ground unconscious. The monks and her friends hastened to her side, but she remained unconscious for about half an hour. When she came to, she made the sign of the cross and, to everyone’s surprise, went in to venerate the relics with piety and trepidation. Afterwards she told her husband and her friends that she had never believed such a radical change in one’s soul was possible. She went home a changed person, with completely different concepts about life and the faith.”
 

A WARNING TO A WOMAN OF LITTLE FAITH

Hieromonk Seraphim Kasic wrote down this story, as told by Mrs. Mara Ljubibratic, wife of the doctor Savo Ljubibratic from Sarajevo:

“Our daughter Cvijeta, went to the Ostrog monastery once in 1939 or 1940. she got very tired on the way and started working up a temper and complaining. When she reached the little church at the Upper Monastery, she could not go in. Just like that – she stood rooted to the ground and could not make one step forward.

A monk came out and told her to go in, for, as he said, “St.Basil is good and forgives.” Only then was she able to move.

 There was a woman from Dubrovnik with us who had had some doubts about this place on the way. When she went into the church she was moved to tears and was so full of trepidation that she was barely able to venerate the Relics.”


ONE SHOULD NOT MAKE LIGHT OF SACRED THINGS

Maksim Jovovic documented this story as told to him by Pavle M. from the village of D., municipality of Bar:

“My fifty-year old neighbour Marija had lost her sight completely after a severe illness and had spent many years at home, in darkness. As the doctors were unable to do anything in her case, she decided to go on a pilgrimage to the Ostrog monastery and pray to God and St.Basil to help her.

She went there with her son and a friend from her village. After venerating the Saint, they spent the night in the monastery guesthouse. The next day, after the services and a blessing from the priest monk, Marija’s eyesight was restored. As a gift of thanks for her healing, she left her gold-embroidered blouse at the monastery.

They all returned home in joy and gladness. Marija was happy for a few months, working around the house.

One day, while talking to her friends, Marija unconsciously and recklessly remarked how much she missed her gold-embroidered blouse and that she believed she could have been healed anyway, even if she had not left it as a gift at the monastery. As soon as she had spoken these words, she felt nauseous and went to bed with a terrible headache. In the morning she discovered that she was blind. Beside her bed was her gold embroidered blouse. She lived for two more years in darkness and died a sorrowful death.”

THE VISION OF THE ITALIAN GUARDS


Maksim Jovovic wrote down the story in 1959:

“In the village of Zupci, near Bar, people still talk of the incident that happened to some Italian guards in the World War II.

It took place one dark night in 1942 when the occupying Italian army was guarding its positions at Ribnjak, in a church dedicated to St.Basil of Ostrog which was had been by King Nikola.

As the Italian soldiers were building a fire in the church and preparing their supper, suddenly the entire church was bathed in a strange light. A white-bearded Elder clad in the robes of an Orthodox Bishop appeared before them.

He ordered them sternly to clean up the church and leave at once. The church went dark and the elder disappeared in the darkness. The soldiers were filled with fright and ran out of the church and all the way down to the foot of the hill. They prepared their supper there and would not on any account ever eat and prepare food in the church again.

One day one of the Italian guards saw an icon of St.Basil of Ostrog in the home of a local family. He said: “This is exactly what the Bishop who turned us out of the church looked like!”


A WARNING AGAINST IDLE WORDS

Hieromonk Seraphim wrote down this incident on April 30th 1962, as recounted to him from memory by Aleksandar Dzodic from Belgrade. An anonymous woman from Sarajevo related this Dzodic at Ostrog in 1960:

“I was still a young girl. My parents were devout Orthodox Christians and quite well off. My mother often went on pilgrimages to churches and monasteries, especially the Holy Monastery of Ostrog. On one occasion we went to Ostrog together to venerate the relics of St.Basil and to pray. It was a great ordeal for me to get there on foot. Also, when we were descending from the Upper to Lower Monastery I was finding it very steep and difficult. At one point I turned around towards the monastery and said: “Hey, St.Basil! you couldn’t have picked a more inaccessible place up there in the mountain! I doubt I’ll ever come here again!”

At that moment I felt a sharp pain in my foot, especially in my ankle. I barely managed to make it to the Lower Monastery. We spent the night there and drove home to Sarajevo next day. I am now married and have a nine year old daughter. I go to Ostrog every year. So much for my words, “I doubt I’ll ever come here again!” I bring my daughter every year and I pray to God and St.Basil to forgive me for my idle words. For years I have been going to Ostrog once a year and I’m happy. Glory to God and to our Holy Father Basil!”

A MAN IS SHOT DOWN BY HIS OWN MACHINE GUN
 
Maksim Jovovic wrote down the following story:

“In the fall of 1944 a group of soldiers from a machine gun unit of the National Liberation Army came to the Lower Monastery and picked corn from the monastery field. That year a famine had struck the entire region and the crops were very poor, but whatever there was had to be available for the military. Having taken the corn to their barracks, the soldiers proceeded with their drills. They erected a machine gun in front of the Lower Monastery from which the soldiers shot at a target. They had been firing shots and stretched ammunition belts the whole day when suddenly the machine gun jammed and could not fire a single shot. The soldiers spent an hour trying to fix the gun and to pry out the jammed bullets, without any success. Finally, the soldier N.S., who had commanded the others to take the corn from the monastery, walked up in order to fix the machine gun. There was no one near the gun at the moment when he stood in front of the barrel. Suddenly there was a blast and the man fell to the ground, dead.

Everyone was struck with fear and horror. The machine gun had fired on its own, for no one had been touching it at that moment.”

ANOTHER CHILD IS UNHARMED AFTER A FALL DOWN THE ROCKS

Hieromonk Seraphim Kasic wrote down the testimony of Njegosava Celebic from the village of Goricani (Zeta) on June 30th 1963. The testimony is signed by Njegosava Celebic, Prenta Arapovic, Danica Batricevic, Andja Pantovic, Stanka Juncaj and Camaj Filja.

It was in 1947 that I came with my little daughter Persa to bow down before the relics of St.Basil of Ostrog and to pray. After the keeper of the Holy Reliquary had opened the church for us, we went in and venerated the relics, prayed for a while and then went out.

When my little girl went out of the church she started running around and playing on the small terrace in front of the monastery. Suddenly she slipped and fell down the rocks. She disappeared from sight. When I saw my child falling I cried out in panic, thinking that she would not survive the fall. But when she had stopped rolling down she called out to me: “Mummy, I am all right, it doesn’t hurt! Please don’t scold me!”

I went down to her and to my joy saw that there was not even a scratch on her. Her dress, though, was thorn to shreds.

I turned to St.Basil in prayer and thanked him for having saved my child. I promised, while still standing at the place where my daughter had fallen, to buy a kilogram of incense for the monastery.

Glory be to God for all things, I received the incense from England and here I am, back at Ostrog, to fulfil my promise.

I have never ceased praying to God and St.Basil and asking for their protection.
 

THE HEALING OF A MAN OF WEAK FAITH

B.I., a landowner from the vicinity of Bar, told this story to Maksim Jovovic:

“Until the year 1948 my faith in God and in the existence of a spiritual realm was very weak, unsure and unstable. Here is what made me change my mind about these things.

While working on the construction of the Niksic – Podgorica railway line in 1948, I went home to rest for a few days. My wife told me that she intended to go to the Ostrog monastery to pray to the health and the health of our family. I tried to dissuade her from going, but she was very persistent and wanted to go as soon as possible, because of some dream she had had some time ago. Finally we agreed to travel together to the railroad construction site, from where she should go on by herself to Ostrog, which was not very far from the site.

My wife filled two bottles with home-made plum brandy for me to take to my companions at the construction site. She filled the third bottle of the same size with olive oil for the Upper Monastery vigil lamps. We set off, carrying the bottles in a bag, and stepped off the train at the Ostrog station.

While we were stepping off the train, I lost my balance and slipped. The bag with the bottles fell on the hard stone pavement and the bottles broke. To our amazement, when we looked inside the bag, one bottle was intact – the one with the olive oil. The other two were smashed and the brandy had all poured out. This made me think twice and I decided on the spot to join my wife on her pilgrimage.

We went the following day, left the oil there as a gift and venerated the holy relics. We stayed for vespers and prayed.

After that we saw three women who wanted to enter the church but did not dare to, because the holy reliquary had started rocking to and fro. The monk who was in the church ordered them to come in one by one so that he could see which one of them was causing the rocking. When we had determined which of the women could not go in, he sent her to the Lower Monastery for confession and told her to come later. What happened afterwards I do not know, but one thing is for certain: this trip to Ostrog caused a radical change of my way of thinking. Since that time I have had deep faith in the power of God and in His Divine Wisdom.”


BAPTIZE YOUR CHILDREN!

Vaso Dj., from the village of G. near Bar, told this story to Maksim Jovovic:

In 1948 I was employed at the Ostrog railway station. One day while I was standing on the platform with several of my fellow workers, an army officer arrived at the station with his wife, who was carrying a beautiful baby girl in her arms. The officer told us what had brought him to Ostrog.

A son had been born to them in 1946. One night he had had a dream in which an old man had come to him and had told him to have the child baptized at the Ostrog monastery. He had paid no attention to the dream and five days later his son had died. Another son was born in 1947 and the same old man appeared to him in a dream telling him to baptize the child. Again he disobeyed and two days later the child died.

A few months ago a girl was born to us. My wife and I love her dearly. A few days ago, to my astonishment, I had the same dream. The old man appeared to me a third time and told me that he had taken my two sons since I had refused to have them baptized. He said that unless I baptized my daughter, he would take her as well and my wife would never have any more children. This is the reason why I am here at Ostrog with my family today – to carry out what the old man has ordered. Let anyone say whatever they want, but I am now convinced that there is a Higher Power, unseen by us, that governs our lives.”
 

EVEN THE MOUNTAINS TREMBLE AT THE SINS OF MEN

R.D., a housewife from Bar, recounted the following incident to Maksim Jovovic in 1959:

“During my visit to Ostrog in July 1949 I witnessed a remarkable incident that I have not been able to forget ever since. I had venerated the Relics of St.Basil together with a group of four young men who had come to the Upper Monastery from a nearby railway construction site. There was also a woman who was going to enter the little church with us, but as she crossed the threshold, we all heard and felt the rock tremble violently, as though it was going to crash down on the monastery. The monk who was in the church told the woman to leave, as soon as she had gone away from the church the tremor, which was very much like that caused by an earthquake, stopped. She tried to come back into the church three times and three times the rock shook and did not allow her to enter the holy place. The monk then told the woman to go to the Lower Monastery for confession. In the meantime we went into the church.

Afterwards I heard one of the three youths say, “Do you not see, my friends, that there is something that is hidden from our eyes and our understanding, and that we are very much mistaken in our feeble-minded reasoning and our search for logical proof!”
 
AN INVISIBLE SNAKE TORMENTS A WOMAN

Maksim Jovovic wrote down this testimony:

M.B., a hard-working woman from the village of O., municipality of Bar, never took much notice of feast days and celebrations of God’s Saints. She took pride in doing her work on Sundays and feast days, working even harder then on ordinary days. Many of her neighbours tried to dissuade her from doing so but she would not listen.

One Sunday she baked bread and went to gather firewood near her house. As she bent down to gather the branches a snake threw itself on her head from a nearby bush and stayed there. She screamed and ran home, where she tried to shake the snake off, but neither she nor her neighbours could take the snake off her head. To make things worse, nobody could even see a snake on her head.

She decided to seek help at Ostrog and to pray to God to deliver her from this plague. While she was walking through the dense forest between the Lower and the Upper Monastery, the snake suddenly jumped off and hid in the bushes. She continued on her way and spent the night at the Upper Monastery. The next day, while she was passing through the forest on her way back, the same snake shot out of the bushes and draped itself around her head again.

She spent a year in agony, trying to rid herself of the snake, but she could not. That year she died a painful death.”

A WOMAN IS SAVED FROM DESPAIR

Staka P., from Bar told Maksim Jovovic this story in 1959:

“I had been very pious all my life. I believed in God and honoured His Saints. I led a happy family life until one day everything changed: I lost my only son and all of my grandchildren and I was left alone with my husband. To make matters worse, our cattle died and I was thorn into despair. My nerves were on edge and I nearly lost my wits. I stopped going to church and for seven years I neither prayed nor partook of the Holy Mysteries. I complained and insulted God, asking why He had let all of these bad things happen to me. I considered my life was over and I awaited the day when they would put me in a mental institution.

One night St.Basil of Ostrog came to me in a dream. He told me not to lose hope and faith and that God in His great mercy would save me and help me. He said that he, Saint Basil, would be my protector always. When I woke up, I felt more at peace, encouraged to go on with my life. The desire to pray reawakened in me. I felt like a different person.

 I began to go to church again and to celebrate our Patron Saint’s Day, our Slava. Each year I make a pilgrimage to Ostrog to thank God and Saint Basil, the Wonderworker of Ostrog, who saved me from impending death, physical as well as spiritual. Also, our cattle multiplied and we doubled our income in a year.”
 
ANOTHER FALL DOWN THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SLOPE

Milica V. from the vinicity of Bar tells of her experience at Ostrog to Maksim Jovovic:
 
“Four of my friends and I went to Ostrog in September of 1949. I wished to ask the monks to serve a panikhida for the departed members of my family. My friends went for the same reason. We took six large bottles of olive oil for the monastery vigil lamps. We took turns balancing a large basket with the bottles on our heads. We arrived at the Ostrog train station in the late afternoon because the train was delayed. There were a few other men and women who got off at Ostrog and walked with us in the direction of the monastery. It was already getting dark as we walked uphill along the winding mountain road. After about half an hour we saw that we were lost. Feeling our way about in the moonless night, we stumbled upon a steep rocky gorge. I was carrying the basket with the bottles of oil on my head. Suddenly, I lost my balance and slipped, sliding and tumbling into a creek about 5 metres deep. The bottles rolled out into the bushes and I remained lying in the creek, stunned, for several moments. One of our companions helped me up, asking if I had broken any bones. Remarkably, I had not even bruised myself while falling, as though I had fallen on a soft carpet. We found that although all the bottles of oil were scattered around the creek not one was broken, so we picked them up and took them to the monastery.

After my fall we quickly found the right way and made it to Ostrog.”

SAINT BASIL WARNS AND ENCOURAGES A WOMAN IN HER DREAM

Olga, a hard-working housewife from Bar, told this story to Maksim Jovovic:

“For a long time there was no peace at our house because things were not going well for me and my husband, who was a state employee. One night in 1950 I had this dream: I was walking uphill through a forest when I met a thin old monk who looked at me and said, “You are very worried and tense. You must not fall into despair. Pray to God and St.Basil of Ostrog and you will find help!” Then he gave me a green cup filled with water and went his way. Next I met a woman with a child in her arms. I gave the child a drink from the cup the monk had given me and then woke up. Thinking about my dream, I felt encouraged and my soul was filled with a quiet joy.

In a short time, we completed the building of our home. The work in the fields was fruitful and we had a good harvest. I often visit Ostrog to thank God and St.Basil for their help.”

A BLASPHEMER IS STRICKEN DEAD

Maksim Jovovic wrote down this story in 1959:

“A great many workers from the surrounding villages worked on the construction of the new Niksic-Titograd (Podgorica) railway line. They worked with the enthusiasm, clearing up the rocky terrain and building the “Road to Progress”, as the authorities had named it.

Not far from the Ostrog monastery, in 1950, there worked a group of men of whom several where regular visitors to the monastery, although their piety was frowned upon by their superiors.

One Sunday, while the workers were resting in front of their barracks, this small group of pilgrims decided to go to the monastery for Holy Liturgy. They stayed a little longer than they had planned and were late coming back to the barracks for lunch. When they went into the barracks some of their colleagues started mocking them, saying: “No lunch for you today! Let God and St.Basil give you lunch!” A certain Spiro M. from Bar was the loudest. He swore and blasphemed, using the foulest words to describe holy places and Christians.

The pilgrims asked him to stop, saying they did not mind being left without lunch. “We are spiritually satisfied,” they told the others.

While they were talking a large rock flew in from nowhere and hit the blasphemer in the chest. He fell to the ground dead.

Everyone gathered around and looked at the dead man and the rock. They were stunned, as there had been no dynamite explosions nearby the whole day. The only explosion had taken place in a quarry that was about a kilometre away from the place of the tragedy.

THE HEALING OF AN UNBELIEVER

Hieromonk Seraphim Kasic recorded the following testimony by Drago Pivljanin from a village near Pljevlja on the Day of Pentecost in 1957. The record is verified by the signatures of Drago Pivljanin and witnesses Milan Dragnic and Branko Kalik:

“In 1948 I started having epileptic attacks. The attacks were very frequent and I sometimes had several a day. This was very debilitating and I sought help at several clinics. I also contacted spiritual healers, a psychic, a Muslim hodja and some herbalists. Of course none of this helped. I was also becoming mentally unstable and I started having suicidal thoughts. And then in 1952 I had a dream. In my dream I saw the Reliquary of St.Basil and heard a voice say, “Drago, go to Ostrog to venerate St.Basil’s Relics; only he can help you.” I was complete atheist at the time and decided to ignore this dream. Soon afterwards I had the same dream again, only this time the voice told me, “Do not doubt, Drago! Go to Ostrog. There is a true Saint there who is merciful to all who cry out to him for help. He has saved many a wretched one from disease, insanity and pain.” This time I obeyed. I went to Ostrog that same year, accompanied by my brother. As soon as we had entered the Reliquary church, I felt better. Later, I came back by myself to give thanks. My life had changed for the better.

Earlier on the doctors had advised me against marrying for, as they said, there was a strong possibility of my children inheriting the same disorder I was suffering from. However, I had another dream in which I heard the same voice say to me, “Drago, you have Saint Basil’s blessing to marry!” And so I married and now I have a little son who is already two years old.

This is my forth time at the monastery. I have come to give thanks to Saint Basil for delivering me from a condition which had threatened to destroy my life. I will always pray to him and I will visit the monastery whenever I can."

A CRIPPLED MUSLIM WOMAN IS HEALED AND HER UNGRATEFUL HUSBAND IS PUNISHED

Maksim Jovovic write down the following testimony of F.O., a Muslim from Podgorica in the 1960’s:

“I was very ill for a few days. The disease left me crippled in my whole body and I was completely disabled; I could not go anywhere by myself. My family took me from clinic to clinic but my condition was hopeless. One night in the spring of 1952 I had a dream in which someone told me that I should go to the Ostrog monastery and that I would be healed there. However, my husband would not allow me to go to Ostrog. Finally, after my neighbours begged him to let me go, he relented and allowed me to go one afternoon on the condition that I return the following morning.

And so I went with two neighbours accompanying me. It was a strenuous trip for I was not able to support myself or even stand on my feet, let alone walk even one step. Prayers were read for me at the church. I left a gift on the Reliquary of Saint Basil: a few gold coins from my necklace. When I woke up the following morning I was healed! Deeply grateful to God and Saint Basil, I went back home in joy.

However, my husband was very angry at me for having left the gold coins in the kaur (Christian) monastery. He shouted and swore at me without ceasing for two days. On the third day we woke up to find himself crippled just as I had been. My neighbours took him to Ostrog where he prayed for help, but he remained a cripple. He suffered greatly for about two years and then he died. Neither medicine and prayer helped him.”

AN UNEXPECTED FRIENDSHIP EN ROUTE TO OSTROG

Maksim Jovovic made the following entry in the late 1960’s:

“Savo Vukosavljevic from the village of Sotonici, municipality of Bar, had lived and worked in the USA for many years. He retired recently and came back to live in his native village.

In December of 1954 he decided to fulfil his wish of a lifetime and visit the monastery of Ostrog to pray to God and His Saint, the Holy Basil, Wonderworker of Ostrog. On the train from Podgorica to Ostrog he shared the compartment with a man who was also on his way to Ostrog with his wife and two unbaptized children.

The older child ran about noisily while the 5-6 month old baby, who did not talk yet, sat in the mother’s lap and kept looking right into Savo’s eyes, smiling with the pure innocence of an infant. The mother, seeing how intently the baby watched old Savo, said playfully, “Say hello to uncle Savo! Say hello!” To her astonishment the infant child spoke out in a clear voice and said, “Not my uncle, My kum! My godfather! He paused and then said over and over again, all the while looking at Savo, “Godfather! Godfather!”

Everyone was amazed at this remarkable incident. On the way home from Ostrog the father of the child asked Savo to stop at their village of Zh. and be the godfather at the baptism of both his children. Savo accepted, knowing deep down that God had for some reason wanted him to be godfather to these children. Times were hard and baptisms were not looked upon favourably by the authorities. The baptism took place in the home of the parents. God Himself had, through Saint Basil, called the parents and Savo to the Holy Sacrament of Baptism of these children.”

A FORGETFUL PILGRIM RECEIVES A WARNING

Stana P. from the vicinity of Podgorica told this story to Maksim Jovovic:

“I set out for Ostrog with three friends of mine. Some devout neighbours from our village gave us donations to take to Ostrog for lighting candles for them before the Relics of Saint Basil. I put all this money in a separate place in my purse intending to spend it as my neighbours had said.

When we came to the train station and boarded our train, another neighbour came running and gave me a hundred dinar bill as a donation to the monastery. The train started moving, she got off and I put the money into my pocket. However, when we reached Ostrog I gave all the money that was in my purse to the monks and forgot all about the money that was in my pocket. When I had venerated the Relics and was about to leave the church, I suddenly froze right beside the church door. I could not move an inch. It was as though some unseen force holding me. My friends called me, urging me to hurry on, but I was fixed to the spot. One of them came back to see why I was just standing there and when I told her, she went into the church and asked the monk to come out. The monk asked me if perhaps I had forgotten to leave someone’s donation. It was then that I remembered the money in my pocket. I went back into the church and left the money on the Reliquary. Then I caught up with my friends and went home.

THE WOMAN WHO WORKED ON SUNDAY

Hieromonk Seraphim Kasic recorded this story in the monastery archives on June 14th, 1956. The record is verified with the fingerprint of the healed Sekica Djuric from the village of Mokra Njiva near Niksic as well as with the signatures of eyewitnesses Mara Mitrovic, Vida Gazivoda, Bosiljka Milosevic, Olgica Ivanovic, Stana Ivanovic, Veljka Mitrovic, Petra Kazic, Milos Mitrovic, Nenad Mitrovic, Jovan Mitrovic, Radusa Mitrovic and a student at the monastery Jovan Morunic:

“I was bundling hay into hatstacks last Sunday, June 8th, and this is what happened: my mouth became distorted and was drawn to one side of my head and my eyelids stuck. I could not see anything. My family called the doctor, who wanted to give me an injection, but I refused. Then they decided to send me to the clinic in Dubrovnik. I did not want to go there – my only thought was to get to Ostrog as quickly as possible. As soon as I started on my journey to Ostrog I began feeling a lot better. My mouth relaxed a little and some of the dried crust fell from my eyes, enabling me to see a little.”

Hieromonk Seraphim adds his own comment to this story:

“As soon as she arrived to Ostrog and venerated the Relics, her mouth returned to its normal positon and her eyes opened up.”

A MOTHER’S SIN IS FORGIVEN

In 1959 Maksim Jovovic documented the following testimony by Milica R., an employee of a state-owned company:

“While I was living on our farm in Montenegro my parents talked me into marrying a young teacher from our village school. I obeyed my parents and married him against my will. After one year a son was born to us. Disappointed by my marriage, I decided to leave my husband. One night when the baby was sleeping in his cot I left home, never to return. My husband begged me, through my parents and some friends, to return for the sake of the baby, but I refused to even consider going back. Some neighbours took care of my baby and fed it but it died very soon.

Feelings of guilt soon began to consume me; I had personality brought about the death of a human being, a child of my own womb. These thoughts gave me no peace.

My husband found a new wife and had beautiful healthy children with her, but I remained single for a long time. Finally, I, too, met a good man whom I married and with whom I am now living a very happy life. I had four premature births. None of the children lived in spite of the expert care of neonatologists at the Belgrade hospital. Deep down in my soul I felt that I was being justly punished by God for having abandoned my first child.

My mother suggested to me that I make a vow to visit the holy monastery of Ostrog as soon as I was able and confess my sin and pray for forgiveness. I obeyed her and made a vow. Since I was not able to go at that time my mother went instead and asked the monks for prayers. This was in 1957. today, thank God and His Saint, the Holy Basil, I have a healthy child who is growing and developing normally, to my joy and thankfulness.”

A WOMAN REPENTS FOR THE SIN OF ABORTION

Maksim Jovovic wrote in 1959:

“One day a young woman, a native of Boka Kotorska living in Belgrade, came to Ostrog. She worked for a large company, her husband held an important position as a lawyer and they were quite well off. We met in the front of the monastery gates and spent some time talking. She complained of physical exhaustion and depression for which doctors could find neither cause nor cure. She was irritable and despondent. She confided in me that earlier that year she had terminated a pregnancy in a Belgrade abortion clinic and that since then she had felt no peace. She said she had come to Ostrog to confess her sin and to pray for forgiveness. Soon after the abortion she had had the following dream: she was walking up a hill not far from her house. A little boy ran in front of her, crying “Mother, mother, what have you done to me?” When she reached the top of the hill the child suddenly fell into a crevice and screamed, begging her to come and rescue him. She looked into the hole and saw the child, blood gushing out of his wounds. Feelings of maternal love and tenderness overcame her as she tried to pulled him out of the hole. The child’s anguish was unbearable. She looked around for someone to help her pull the child out of the hole but all in vain. She woke up crying. Later she asked the physician who had performed the abortion on her whether the fetus had been a male or a female one. It had been a male. A great sadness came over her then, for she understood her sin and was convinced that God would punish her and that she would have no more children.

After her sincere repentance and the spiritual counselling she received from one of the monks at Ostrog, she was granted consolation before the open Reliquary of Saint Basil. She felt a deep conviction that the All-merciful God had forgiven her. She vowed never to repeat this evil deed. Her pilgrimage to Ostrog brought her peace. She said she was departing from the Holy Monastery of Ostrog with the hope that the Lord would be merciful to her and allow her to have more children, whom she would bear with love and would nurture and as the precious gift from God that all children are.”

A WARNING TO A FOOLHARDY MAN


Petar O. from the village of G., municipality of Bar, told the following story to archivist Maksim Jovovic in 1960:
 
“Ever since my youth I have felt deep respect and love for the great and holy monastery of Ostrog. I had made several pilgrimages to this holy shrine. In September of 1958 I decided to visit again and to ask the monk to serve a molieban and panikhida for my departed ones. I set aside a certain amount of money in my wallet for this purpose, intending to leave this sum on the Reliquary of Saint Basil. When I arrived at the monastery I venerated the Relics with the other pilgrims and left half of the designated money on the Reliquary. I decided to keep the other half and spend it at the fish market at Plavnica. When I arrived at Plavnica I bought a huge amount of fish, enough for the whole family. As soon as I had paid for the fish I felt a weakness and restlessness come over me. Sitting on the feery to Vir Pazar I felt quite ill. I barely made it from the ferry. I was puzzled by this strange feebleness. Suddenly I remembered that I had bought fish with the money set aside as a donation to the monastery. I grabbed the fish and threw it into the water. Immediately I felt better. I had understood the cause of the strange weakness that had come over me.”



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