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



HEALINGS OF SOUL AND BODY: SAINT BASIL OF OSTROG THE WONDERWORKER

translated from the Serbian by Ana Smiljanić

Testimonies from the book HEALINGS OF SOUL AND BODY SAINT BASIL OF OSTROG published by Svetigora are typed by sister dr Radmila Maksimovic for the site of Monastery Lepavina



Nestled high up in the forbidding mountains of Montenegro, far away from the noise and bustle of big cities and tourist resorts, lies the monastery of Saint Basil of Ostrog, a rare jewel of the living Orthodox faith in today’s world. Every day countless people stream to the Ostrog monastery to bow down before the Holy Relics of Saint Basil and to venerate them, to entreat him in prayer to fulfil their spiritual or physical needs, to ask for the intercession and protection, or simply to give thanks to him for having helped them and guided them in life’s many temptations and challenges.
 
The holy monastery of Ostrog is first of all, a wonder of nature. Underneath it flows the turbulent Zeta river crossing the Bjelopavlovichi plain, while high above it is a rocky mountain wreath, resembling a giant eagle’s nest, with the Ostrog cave where St.Basil lived in unceasing prayer and ascetic struggles. His Grace, the metropolitan Amphilochius of Montenegro and the Littoral, says in one of the most beautiful descriptions of the sanctuary of Ostrog: “It is as though this rocky nest had waited for centuries to become the home of an uncontainable sanctuary and the scene of many a crucial historic event. Thus this miracle of nature has become at the same time a wonder of history. The monastery of Ostrog has for more than 300 years been the focus of the history of not only the Ostrog region, but of a much wider area as well. This miracle is made even greater by the fact that all these historical events belong not only to the earthly, or horizontal plane: the Ostrog monastery has been and still is a historical stage of both heaven and earth. In Ostrog and around Ostrog, heaven and earth embrace. The earth rises up and is joined to the heavens, and the heavens come down to the earth, revealing to all people the greatest of mysteries in the person of the God Man, Jesus Christ. In this way, the Ostrog cliffs have become our Mount Sinai, where God reveals to us, just as He once did to Moses, His Name, which is above all other names on earth and His Divine person. Indeed, in the Teheanthropic person of Saint Basil of Ostrog, the ancient saying comes true: show me your man, and I will show you your God. He who sees and experiences the Saint of Ostrog becomes a vessel in which and through which the God Man, Jesus Christ, reveals Himself.”
 
For three hundred years without stopping, a constant and uninterrupted river of pilgrims flows to the monastery every day of the year, and especially on great feast days. People from all walks of life, from all parts of the country and abroad come to venerate the Saint and to pray to God before his Relics. They bring with them their sorrows and illnesses, their doubts and weaknesses, their sins and their repentance. It is truly touching to see many of them walk barefoot up the steep and rocky mountain slope to the Upper Monastery, perhaps unknowingly and unconsciously obeying God’s command to Moses on Mount Sinai: “Take off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you stand is sacred ground.” Upwards they walk, in fear of God and in deep reverence for the holy father Basil, the Wonderworker of Ostrog. Upon reaching the tiny chapel set in the face of a giant rock and upon venerating his holy Relics, they unburden their souls in contrite and repentant prayers. They leave with an abundance of spiritual gifts: many of them are blessed with the gift of health, others with the comfort in their sorrows. The spiritual eyes of some are opened at this holy site and they leave as people reborn and transfigured with faith in the One Living God. Perhaps this is the greatest miracle of all – the miracle of faith being born in the hearts and souls of unbelievers and doubters. In this respect, the holy monastery of Ostrog has become, through Saint Basil, the Serbian Mount Tabor, our mount of the Holy Transfiguration
 
The twentieth century has seen many migrations take place from the old country to foreign lands, especially in the period immediately following the turmoil of the Second World War, as well as in its last decade, when the Serbian lands were ravaged by war and economic sanctions. Under such circumstances, hundreds and thousands of people were, for many different reasons, forced into emigration. Upon arriving and letting down roots in their new countries, they brought with them their faith, their love for God and His Saints and the love for the Fatherland, all of which they passed on to younger generations of Serbs. In this way, a part of Heavenly Serbia has been brought and transplanted onto the soil of the New Continent and wherever Serbs live. Heavenly Serbia, an expression which is commonly misused and misunderstood today, is a phrase coined by another great son of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the holy bishop Nikolai of Zicha and Ochrid. There is a poem written by our beloved vladika Nikolai, which clearly illustrates the deeper meaning of the expression. Heavenly Serbia is not a physical place. Its existence is real, but only in Christ and through Christ. It exists in the blood of our martyrs, in the sacrifice of our fathers and brothers, in the love of our mothers and sisters, in the unwavering faith of our people, in the prayers and ascetic struggles of our monks and nuns, in the patient long-suffering of our people and in the Cross they bear, in our repentance. Heavenly Serbia exists, but it is not in this world and not of this world. One may catch a glimpse of it if one looks deep into the inner chambers of one’s heart, a thing which is possible only through prayer and repentance. Our holy father Basil, as one who has even during his lifetime achieved holiness and boldness before God, is one of the beacons of Heavenly Serbia which lights up the way for the faithful wherever they may be.
 
And so, even today, far away from the Fatherland, new immigrants from Serbia, as well as older generations of immigrants in countries all over the world still call upon the name of our Christ-bearing father Basil, the Wonderworker of Ostrog. Churches are dedicated to him and his feast day is celebrated with vigils and holy liturgies wherever “two or three Serbs are gathered in the name of Christ.” His name is uttered with reverence and vials containing oil from the vigil lamp that burns over his Relics are brought by travellers from Ostrog and lovingly shared among the faithful. From Toronto to Johannesburg, from Stockholm to Sidney, from Chicago to Buenos Aires and from London to Vancouver, Melbourne, New York, Caracas and God alone knows where else, Serbs of all ages and generations light candles and pray: “Help us, pray for us and protect us, o holy father Basil, Wonderworker of Ostrog and pleaser of God!”
 
And Saint Basil hears their prayers. A saint is like a ray of sunshine, identical in its nature to the Sun itself, which along the countless other rays shines upon the earth. The soul of a saint, having become one with God as with a spiritual Sun, illumines as part of this Sun the whole universe seeing and knowing the hearts and minds of all people and hearing their needs and prayers.
 
O, holy father Basil, God-pleaser and Wonderworker of Ostrog, you who even during your earthly life took care of your spiritual flock and interceded for them before the Throne of the Most High! Look also upon us living in strange lands, far away from the land of our fathers, pray for us and guide us that we may never stray from the path of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, wherever we may be. Entreat Him to grant us forgiveness of our many sins and transgressions, to straighten our steps and to endow us with the gift of faith, hope and love, that we may one day find Life Eternal, along with the choirs of our holy forefathers of Heavenly Serbia. Holy hierarch Basil, Wonderworker of Ostrog, pray to God for us!
 
Ana Smiljanic

 

A SHORT LIFE OF SAINT BASIL OF OSTROG
From the Prologue of Ochrid
 
Saint Basil was born in Popovo Polje, a village in Hercegovina, of simple and God-fearing parents. From his youth he was filled with love for the Church of God and when he reached maturity he entered the monastery of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos in Trebinje and there received the monastic tonsure. As a monk he quickly became renowned because of his genuine and infrequently-found ascetic life. Saint Basil took upon himself mortification upon mortification, each one heavier and more difficult than the last. Later, against his will he was elected and consecrated as bishop of Zahumlje and Skenderija. As a hierarch he first lived in the monastery of Tvrdosh and from there, as a good shepherd, he strengthened his flock in the Orthodox Faith, protecting them from the cruelty of the Turks and the cunning ways of Latins. When Basil was exceedingly pressed by his enemies and Tvrdosh destroyed by the Turks*, he moved to Ostrog, where he lived an austere ascetic life, protecting his flock by his ceaseless and fervent prayer. He fell asleep peacefully in Lord in the sixteenth century, leaving behind his incorrupt Relics, incorrupt and miracle-working to the present day. The miracles at the grave of Saint Basil are without number. Christians and Muslims alike come before his Relics and find healing for their gravest illnesses and afflictions. A great people’s assembly (sabor) occurs there annually on the Feast of Pentecost.
 
 
St. Nicolai of Zicha
 
*A new church was built in our day upon the ruins of the Old Tvrdosh monastery by Nikola Runjevac from the village of Poljica near Trebinje – a wonderful and glorious monumental church (zaduzbina) before God and before his people.
 
THE GLORIFICATION OF ST.BASIL OF OSTROG
 
Immediately after the falling asleep of St.Basil in 1671. people started coming in great numbers to pray at his grave, just as they were accustomed to doing during his earthly life. Many miracles began taking place at the site of his grave and they have not ceased to this day.
 
Seven years after giving up his soul to God, in 1678., St.Basil appeared in a dream to father Rafailo (Kosijerevac) the Abbot of the St.Luke Monastery in Zhupa near Nikshich, and ordered him to go to Ostrog and open up the saint’s grave. The Abbot paid no attention to the dream and did not go. He had the same dream again but he again ignored it. St. Basil then appeared to the Abbot a third time, dressed in a bishop’s vestments, with a censer in his hand. The Abbot woke up in fear and trepidation and told the brotherhood of his monastery about his dream. They agreed at once to make a hasty journey to Ostrog. 
 
Upon their arrival they first informed the Ostrog monks of the Abbot’s dream and then look upon themselves a strict fast, all the while serving the complete cycle of daily prayers with Holy Liturgy. They did so for seven days. On the seventh day, they censed the Saint’s grave and opened it.
 
Before them appeared the Saint in a glorified body the colour of pure wax, giving out the fragrance similar to that of basil leaves. Then the monks placed his incorrupt body in a case and took it to the Upper Monastery, to the church of the Presentation of the Most Holy Theotokos, where it rests to this day.
 
News of the glorification of St.Basil’s body quickly spread and people began to flock in great numbers to venerate his holy and wonderworking Relics. Not only Orthodox Christians, but also Roman Catholics and Lutherans, and even Muslims came to seek help at the great Sanctuary of Ostrog. According to their faith in the mercy of God and that of St.Basil they received help and found consolation.
 
Even today pilgrims from all parts of the country, of all nationalities and religions come before the Wonderworker of Ostrog. Many people travel to Ostrog from abroad. From the holy reliquary arise prayers in many languages. Many parents bring their children to be baptised before the relics of St.Basil and many name their offspring after the Saint. Many a marriage ceremony has been performed at Ostrog, countless confessions have been made and many people have partaken of the Holy Mysteries before the Holy Relics, while countless others have asked for prayers to be read for their health and salvation.
 
Many sacrifices and donations are brought to the Holy Father at the Ostrog monastery, but the greatest sacrifice of all is that of sincere repentance and the will to cleanse one’s heart before God and Saint Basil. Even the godless and atheists respect and honour St.Basil and utter his name with fear. For, as everyone knows, one did not make light of St.Basil while he lived, and one certainly does not make light of him now when he is glorified.
 
Before the merciful Ostrog saint the Serbs pour out their sorrows and pains and offer warm prayers for their living and departed relatives. Having prepared for this encounter by fasting and prayer, pilgrims from near and far, on feast days and on weekdays gather at Ostrog in great numbers to venerate the Saint, to tell him of their sorrows, to weep before his Reliquary and to confess their sins and receive a blessing. Besides the regular church fasts the people often promise to take on a special fast. This fast is called “the week of the Holy Father Basil”, and it usually precedes his Feast Day. Pronouncing the Saint’s name is traditionally accompanied by the words, “Glory and mercy be upon him”. Many an oath has been sworn before the relics of St.Basil, many a promise made …
 
The Power of God and the Temptations of History
 
During his earthly life the Saint was never left in peace but was persecuted by many enemies of God and by the chief enemy of our salvation. After his repose his holy Relics were not spared by the evil one, either.
 
The first time that the Ostrog monks had to conceal the Relics of St.Basil was in 1714., when Numan-pasha Chuprilich attacked and devastated Montenegro. The monks buried the relics below the monastery, near the Zeta river. The river overflowed and flooded the area where the relics were buried, but miraculously the water penetrated neither the reliquary, nor the relics of the Saint.
 
The second time the relics had to be hidden was during the siege of Ostrog in the winter of 1852. The Turkish commander Omar Pasha encircled the monastery and the siege lasted for nine days. Thirty Montenegrins, headed by the great vojvoda (duke) Mirko Petrovic, father of prince Nikola, courageously defended the monastery. When they succeeded, with the help of St.Basil, in driving away the Turks, they served a thanksgiving molieban to God, the Most Holy Theotokos and St.Basil in the little church of the Presentation. After that the Montenegrins took the Saint with them to Cetinje and placed him in the Church of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin, near the Relics of St.Petar of Cetinje. There they remained until the spring of 1853, when they were again returned to Ostrog. During the war with the Turks the monastery of Ostrog was burned and looted. Many Ostrog treasures, as well as documents dating from the time of St.Basil, disappeared forever.
 
The third time the relics of the Saint were transferred was during the war in 1876-1877. They were again taken to Cetinje, where they remained for about a year. They were brought back to Ostrog in a majestic procession in 1878.
 
During World War II, in February 1942, when enemy grenades rained upon Ostrog, the monks, fearing that the Church of the Presentation might be hit and destroyed, took the holy Relics into a little cave behind the monastery building. This fear proved to be unfounded, for the grenades flew all around the monastery and fell and exploded, but the monastery itself was never hit, nor was anyone injured during these attacks. The Saint guarded his flock as he had always done before …
 
Archimandrite Justin of Chelije
 
THE RELICS OF ST.BASIL OF TVRDOSH AND OSTROG – THE FOUNTAIN OF THE INVINCIBLE POWER OF GOD
 
“BE NOT FAITHLESS, BUT BELIEVING” (St.Basil of Ostrog appears to a priest of weak faith)
 
It was in 1940 that bishop Nikolai asked the Very Rev. Jovan Boskovic from Orja Luka (municipality of Danilovgrad), “Do you believe, Reverend Father, that God’s saints live?”
 
“How can I not believe that, when they have themselves appeared to me and witnessed that they are living!”
 
One day my popadia (priest’s wife) asked me to go to Ostrog with an offering for some misfortune that had occurred in our family. I was somewhat grieved and angry. “What should I bring?”, I asked. “Leave those dead bones in the Ostrog cave to rest in peace! It is the living you ought to turn to for help!”
 
The day passed.
 
That night I had a vision of St.Basil. He struck me with his staff and shouted at me, full of wrath, “I am alive, not dead as you think! And be not faithless, but believing!” In great fear I jumped from my bed and asked popadija for the offering she prepared for my pilgrimage. I immediately went to Ostrog and took the offering to St.Basil. Since then I have been firm in my belief that God’s Saints are living, not dead!”
 
“COME HITHER AND FEAR NOT” (An Illumining Second Appearance of St.Basil to the Same Priest)
 
Of this second miraculous occurrence which took place in Ostrog, the Very Rev. Jovan Boskovic rarely spoken and even then, only to his closest friends. His experience was documented by Maksim Jovovic:
 
“Early at dawn one morning”, recounted the old priest, “I had sent my altar server to bring some food which was needed from the Lower Monastery. I ordered him not to tarry and to ring the bell for matins as soon as he had brought the food. At that time, except for myself, there was no one else at the Upper Monastery.
 
I walked out in front of the monastery to enjoy the fresh morning air and to listen to the songs of the many birds that dwell in this wonderful, far-off place.
 
Then I took the key to the little church in which the case containing the holy relics is kept and opened it. I blessed myself with the sign of the cross and stood petrified, for I saw the Saint sitting up and leaning against the lid of the case. I started trembling and, as it was still dark, I rubbed my eyes. Then I heard a clear, resonant voice saying, “Come hither father, and do not fear!”
 
I came closer to the Reliquary, fell to my knees and kissed the saint’s hand.
 
He bade me stand and spoke to me, with a sweet look on his face. We spoke of many things for about half an hour. Then he said to me, “Now you can lock up the church and go out to prepare for matins!” I kissed his hand again and the panagia on his breast and went out.
 
The altar server came back at that moment, rang the bells, and after some ten minutes we went into the church together with some newly arrived pilgrims. The holy reliquary was closed and we venerated it as usual. The matins service began and when it ended we went out. I was confused and somewhat saddened the whole day and told no one of what I had seen.
 
The next day I told some brother priests in the Lower Monastery what had happened and I thanked God and St.Basil for having bestowed upon me, a sinner, the great honour of such a miraculous and rare conversation. This happened to me only once in all my 40 years of serving in the monastery. I have nourished the remembrance of his miraculous occurrence all my life as my most wonderful, significant and unforgettable memory.”
 


ST.BASIL REVEALS HIS MOTHER’S GRAVE TO A VILLAGER
 
The Belgrade weekly “Vreme”, in its issue of September 18th, 1937, features the following article by V.M.
 
“Eighty year old Tripko Milutinovic, a villager from Mrkonjic, has erected a large stone monument in the vicinity of the Orthodox Church in his native village in memory of the mother of St.Basil of Ostrog. It is known that she died in the village of Mrkonjic; however, the location of her grave remained unknown until Milutinovic discovered it last year.
 
“It was right after the feast of St.Basil last year”, recalls the old man, “that I rose up early in the morning to put up a stone fence around my vineyard. As I passed by the church, I met an old monk whom I had never seen before. A boy of about eight years of age was at his side. When I had come close to him, the monk called out a greeting and asked me, in a strange voice, whether this was a village of Mrkonjic and whether this was the old Orthodox church. I assured him, that it was, whereupon he bade me come with him that he might show me the grave of the mother of St.Basil of Ostrog. I followed him without saying a word. When we approached the church, he said: “Here it is. Remember: the grave of the mother of St.Basil of Ostrog.” As I was looking at the tombstone and the cross, the monk disappeared.
 
Other villagers had also seen the old monk walking through the graveyard and near the church. The accountant, Petar Milosevic, says that he, too, had met him. After this, old Tripko Milutinovic decided to erect the monument at the grave of the mother of St.Basil of Ostrog.”
 
THE VISION OF A VILLAGER FROM GRBALJ
 
Vujadin Cejovic had moved from Montenegro to the village of Stara Krimovica in Grbalj, Boka Kotorska in 1907. It was on Sunday, October 31st, 1937, that he led his cows to pasture in a dense evergreen forest about two kilometres away from his home.
 
Suddenly he saw a man in bishops’ vestments with a golden epitrachelion and a pectoral cross standing in a small clearing in the forest. His face was the colour of wax and his robes very luminous. Vujadin was overcome with fear and trembling such as he had never felt before, not even in the fiercest battles he had fought against the Turks. His hair stood on end so that his hat fell off.
 
The man stood watching Vujadin for a little while and then, in a gentle tone of voice, asked him what he was doing there. Vujadin answered and complained that the previous year had not been good. The saint answered that worse was yet to come, for people had stopped honouring God and His saints; therefore times of lengthy suffering lay ahead.
 
When Vujadin told him, with trepidation, that since the last war (1912-1918) the people had become corrupt and had taken an ungodly path, the saint warned him, “You will forget that war when the next war comes, with its misfortunes and suffering that will be brought on by the misdeeds of the people. Young and old, male and female, all blaspheme against God with every step they take; no one heeds the Church or keeps the Faith. A terrible punishment must come upon this people if they do not turn from their evil deeds and vice. Tell your fellow villagers what you have heard from me, that these words might spread.”
 
When Vujadin timidly remarked that he would not be believed and that he would most certainly be mocked, especially as he was a new-comer to the village, the Saint answered sternly, “Regardless of whether they believe you or not, you must still tell them my words. Also, you must remind your priest to finish the work he promised to do last year for the church (it turned out that the priest had promised to repair and renew the old Church of St.Nicholas’). Having said this, the saint vanished.
 
A few years later the winds of war descended upon the Serbian people, bringing with them unspeakable horrors.
 
THE SAINT TURNS AWAY A GOOD-FOR-NOTHING YOUTH
 
In the monastery archives Hieromonk Seraphim Kasic documented the following incident which took place in 1958:
 
“On the Feast of the Falling Asleep of St.Basil of Ostrog in 1958, P.B., a fourteen year old lad from Niksic, came to our monastery begging to be accepted as a pupil. The elders of the monastery promised to take him in, on the condition that one of his parents come to the monastery in person to make arrangements. The youngster’s father had died in the war, so his mother came to the monastery to arrange for his stay. As she had no male child other than him, they asked her to give him up to the Ostrog monastery and, should he prove diligent, obedient and honest, to see him become a monk one day, God willing. To this she answered, “Father, I have tried very hard to bring him up well, as hard as I, a poor widow, could. He has finished elementary school and it was my wish that he continue his education in secondary school. I am not well off, but I do get some help from the government, and I was ready to do without if only he would go to school, get some education and start earning his own bread. But he will not listen to me; he has no inclination for learning. He has expressed the wish to go to a monastery and become a monk. Father, I would rather he be tonsured a monk than have him end up on the streets as a good-for-nothing and a thief.” The elders of the monastery took pity on the poor woman and so young P. was admitted to the monastery.
 
What happened next? Young P. was initiated into the monastic way of life and he performed certain chores, as all other pupils do, but it was evident from the very beginning that he was the most disobedient of all the boys. The monks watched over his every move with a vigilant eye. They pointed out his wrong doings and encouraged him to do better. They provided good guidance for him as to how one must behave in a monastery and how one must strive against sin.
 
And so the days went by. It had been four months since young P. had come to the monastery. Barely had the fourth month passed, when one morning he came up to me and said, “Father Seraphim, would you like to hear about the dream I had last night?” I answered, “Yes, P. Tell me your dream.” And he started recounting his dream:
 
“I was in the church where the saint is. You, Father Seraphim, were serving matins, and there were other people in the church too, about ten of them. The candles and vigil lamps burned brightly and lit up the church, so that was pure bliss standing there. Upon finishing the matins service, you opened the holy reliquary as you always do, that we might venerate the saint, which all of us did, one by one. When we had all venerated the relics, we lingered on in the church for a little while. You were standing by the open reliquary when suddenly a voice boomed out. You could hear the voice but you could not see who it was that was speaking. The voice said, “Everyone, leave, except for P!”
 
Then you, Father Seraphim, and all the others filed out. The Reliquary was open. When everybody had gone out and I was alone in the church, a voice coming right out of the reliquary said to me, “P, come closer!” I went up to the reliquary and stood there, looking at the Saint.
 
And I saw him well and clearly, just as when I had venerated him. Suddenly, the covers from his head and chest slipped off and I saw his face and his hands folded across his chest. It was such a wondrous sight; I had never seen anything like it before. His face and hands were thin and yellow, like wax. I could see his eyes; they were shut, as though he was sleeping. His hear and beard were not as long as they look on the icon, but shorter, and gray – with not a single black strand. Suddenly he opened his eyes and looked at me asif he were alive; he looked straight at me! I was a little bit shaken up, but still I looked right at him. He didn’t take his eyes off me. Then all of a sudden, he shook his head as if in disapproval and closed his eyes again. The covers slipped back on and covered him just as he was before. That’s when I woke up.”
 
When young P. had told me his dream I did not answer for a long time. I do not pay much heed to dreams, but this one seemed especially interesting and quite disturbing, too. We stood there in silence, the two of us. At length, I answered him: “P., St.Basil shook his head at you. That means you haven’t been good. He sees all our actions and he will punish all who do not do good in his home.” I advised him to obey old people, to be quiet and to study. I especially stressed that his hands must be clean and he must never take anything from the monastery without the elders’ blessing. Then I told him: “Go now, do your chores and do good at all times.”
 
After his dream we noticed that P. never did what he was told to, that he was very obstinate. A few minutes we caught him in various misdeeds. He was forgiven and told that he would be expelled from the monastery if he continued to behave thus. And so he stopped being a pupil at the monastery and St.Basil’s prophecy that was manifested in his dream came true.”
 
 

THE HEALING OF A PARALYTIC
 
Hieromonk Simeon Mihailovic of Ostrog wrote in 1932:
 
“At the time that Vidak Djurovic, son of Miro, was a pupil at the Ostrog Monastery, some time in the late 1800’s, a very ill man was brought into the Church of the Presentation of the Most Holy Theotokos, in which the Relics of St.Basil rest. The man had had no use of his legs foe several years. They placed him under the holy reliquary.
 
Some time later, while the afore-mentioned pupil was serving coffee to those who had brought the paralytic, the afflicted man stood up by himself, walked out of the church and unexpectedly appeared in the old monastery guesthouse where the others were drinking coffee.
 
His appearance startled his companions at first, but soon they were overjoyed and they all embraced and kissed him, as though he had been born again or had risen from the dead. According to Vidak’s testimony the ill man, whose name he does not recall, was from some village in Sandzak.”
 
THE HEALING OF AN INSANE MAN
 
Hieromonk Serafim Kasic copied out the following letter written by Jovanka Vujicic from Kotor on August 22nd, 1957. The original of the letter is also preserved in the archives:
                                    
“Venerable Father, I am writing in regards to our conversation and your wish to describe in as much detail as possible the healing of my uncle. Also, I have been able to verify a few more facts about the incident.
 
My late uncle, Danilo Zlokovic, son of Todor (born in Bijela, municipality of Herceg Novi in 1866 and died 1924), travelled to Ostrog on foot every year, beginning when he was twenty years old, in order that he might venerate the Wonder-Worker of Ostrog and might thank him for having healed him. In his early youth (around 1883) my uncle has become insane. For two or three years he was heavily afflicted with this illness and would wander alone in the mountains. One day they caught him, tied him up and brought him to Ostrog.
 
He fell asleep under the Saint’s reliquary, while the old-priest monk read prayers for him. He slept for a long time, until Djuro Malevic, one of the men who had accompanied him to Ostrog, saw him awake from his sleep. He returned home by himself, healthy and sane. Until his death he remained in good health, always joyfull and good-humored and very well-liked in the village.
 
My late uncle related that he was present at Ostrog when a crib with a child in it fell down the Ostrog rocks and the child remained unharmed. I remember this very clearly. My uncle told us of other miracles he had witnessed at Ostrog, but as I do not know the details of these miracles, I am not able to write about them.”
 
 
THE QUICK HEALING OF AN INSANE VILLAGER
 
M.L. from the municipality of Bar dictated the following to Maksim Jovovic in 1959:
 
“My neighbour M.P., a married man of about 40 years old, lost his wits suddenly one night. He shouted and swore and beat the children. He became dangerous for the community and there was a fear that he might kill someone during one of his fits. Before putting him in a mental institution his father decided to take him to Ostrog first, so that the monks might read prayers for him. This took place in 1905.
 
He was restless during the trip and his father barely managed to keep him subdued. When they entered the monastery he was forced to get down on his knees before the reliquary so that the monk could read prayers for him. This was achieved with great difficulty.
 
When the monk had finished reading the prayers he got up. His father left a donation for the monastery. He walked out of the church as a sane man. He travelled home peacefully and this illness never appeared again in his life.”
 
A REMARKABLE HEALING
 
A written testimony contributed by Stana Marjanovic from Dubrovnik:
 
“M. Kasikovic became ill in 1948 and had several crisis until 1950. That year she became bed-ridden and spent a long time in hospital. She underwent surgery but the doctors said that it had not been successful and that there was no help for her. She then went home to await death.
 
Seven years passed. She had wilted away and only skin and bones were left of her.
 
In 1957 we sent a dress belonging to M. to the Ostrog monastery. It was placed under the relics for one night. Then the dress was sent back to her and she put it on.
 
Gradually life returned to her and she felt increasingly better. Soon she was up on her feet. Now she does all the housework and takes care of her little grandson.”
 
CURED OF CANCER
 
Maksim Jovovic wrote down the following story in 1960:
 
“Mara M., a housewife from Dubrovnik, had stomach surgery after an x-ray revealed what the doctors thought was an obstruction in the lower intestines. However, when the surgeon cut her open he saw that what she really had was cancer. The poor woman was discharged from hospital and sent home, where she awaited her final hour.
 
She lay in bed for many years with no hope of recovery. One day her mother suggested that she send an article of clothing to the Ostrog monastery so that could be blessed and prayers be read for her. She sent a dress and when it was brought back to her, she put it on and prayed to God. The same night her condition improved and in a few days she got up from her bed.
 
Soon she was up and about doing her chores, much to the joy of her family. She is still alive and well today and is a very hard working housewife.”
 
THE HEALING OF A DISABLED WOMAN
 
On June 24th, 1960, Hieromonk Seraphim Kasic recorded the following story, verified by the signatures of the cured Sanda Loncarevic, her children Ruzica and Milivoje Loncarevic and witnesses Radoslav and Branko Kalik, students at the monastery:
 
“In 1957 Ruzica and Milivoje Loncarevic from Gusinje brought their severly disabled mother Sanda to the monastery. Sanda had been completely paralyzed for over a year. They had taken her to see many doctors, but they all agreed that her condition was irreversible.
 
They transported her from the Ostrog railway station to the Upper Monastery on horseback and took her back the same way. She spent the night at the monastery after prayers were read for her before the reliquary.
 
When they returned home they all had a rest that night and in the morning, to everyone’s amazement and joy, the mother was up on her feet, feeling quite healthy!
 
Here she is again today at Ostrog with her children Ruzica and Milivoje, to give thanks to God and to St.Basil for the great gift of mercy she received.”
 
A MOTHER’S PROMISE
 
Hieromonk Seraphim Kasic recorded the following story on May 27th, 1957
 
“Ljubica Rakocevic came to venerate the Relics of Holy Father Basil with her daughter Milka, together with Dr. Savo Ljubibratic and some other visitors from Sarajevo. She told everyone the story of how, while her daughter had been very ill, she had made a promise to St.Basil. after she had made a promise, her daughter felt better and soon recovered completely from her illness. As they were in a hurry to catch their train, I gave Ljubica my address and asked her to describe her experience in more detail and send it to me by mail. She wrote back and her letter has been copied and filed into the archives of the Upper Monastery. Parts of this letter are as follows:
 
Three months ago, on May 25th, I visited your monastery with my daughter Milka, where we were very well received. We both felt so joyous, as though born again, that we will never forget that day.
 
Our daughter Milka (who is now eleven years old) suffered from a serious case of rheumatoid fever for three years. This past winter was the worst; the doctors said that she would not live. I did not know what to do and then I remembered that it would be a good thing to make a promise to St.Basil. That is what I did. I fasted for nine weeks and sent a donation to the monastery. I prayed to St.Basil and promised that if my little girl got better I would take her to Ostrog within two years.
 
From that day on our little daughter’s condition improved. By the grace of God and St.Basil she is now attending the fifth grade in school and is just like other children in every respect.
 
Not even a year had passed since I made my vow when I fulfilled my promise and took Milka to the monastery were we were warmly welcomed … I promised also to bring my other children. I have four other children, two sons and two daughters. I want them also to get to know this holy place and to thank the saint who saved their sister…
 
Could you please help me understand the meaning of a dream I had recently? The night before the feast of the Dormition I saw in my dream a great multitude of people going somewhere. I asked them where they were going and they answered that the bishop was coming. I found myself together with all those people in a church, right beside the bishop’s throne. The bishop came into the church and walked towards me. He gave me his hand and asked, “How is your child?” I wanted to answer, but then I woke up in fear. Please tell me the meaning of this dream when you have time.
 
I am sending you a small donation of 3000 dinars for now. In the future I will try to send regular donations, even if they are smaller amounts. Please light a candle for Milka’s health and one for Milivoje, Ljubica, Radmila and Zivko. May the Holy Father Basil protect you from all harm!
 
THE SAINT DRIVES OUT UNCLEAN POWERS
 
On November 27th, 1957, Hieromonk Seraphim wrote down and enclosed the written record of a conversation he had in the Upper Monastery church with pilgrim Jelika Zecevic from Vinicka (Ivangrad-Berane):
 
 
When I first met Jelika, she approached me with these words, “Dear Father! I have come to fall down before God, Saint Basil, and you the keeper of the relics, and to entreat you to help me in my terrible suffering.”
 
Before me stood a dishevelled, weeping woman. I asked, “What is it, sister?”
 
“Oh, Father! It has been nearly a year now that some unseen thing has been coming into my house by night, making a frightful banging on the doors and windows and on the floor. My little granddaughter and I are beside ourselves with fear. Sometimes it’s so bad that we are forced to sleep in the home of some neighbours. Other times they come to sleep at our home so that they can see and hear for themselves the terrible night racket and they, of course, can’t sleep a wink for fear! I told our parish priests about this. They came and read some prayers and for a few days the banging was not as loud, but then it got bad again. I am a wreck. My life has become an ordeal for me. My daughters, who are married, have invited me to come and live with them. They are afraid I might go insane if I stay in my house any longer. But how can I live in someone else’s house and leave my home? And so I have come here to ask God and St.Basil to save me from this torment which is worse than any disease I can think of. I beg you, tell me what to do.”
 
I asked, “Has the house in which you live been blessed?”
 
“I don’t know,” Jelika answered. “I just know that the priests came when I aksed them to and read prayers and sprinkled water all over the house.”
 
I again asked, “Have any of your close relatives died without a Christian burial or a parastos service?”
 
“I don’t know,” she answered. “Perhaps some of them died without parastos. Some of them died a natural death and a few were killed. You know as well as I do, Father, all that we have been through in this last war.”
 
“Tell me the names of all your living relatives. I am going to write them down,” I said.
 
She told me their names and I said a prayer for their health and salvation.
“Now tell me the names of your departed ones.”
She did so, and I served a parastos for them, that God might grant peace to their souls. Then I gave her some holy water and incense. I told her to sprinkle the house with holy water and to burn the insence.
 
“Have faith in St.Basil and pray. Perform good deeds. He will help you.”
 
I gave her my address and told her to write. “I don’t know how to write, Father, and the little granddaughter who lives with me is just beginning to learn.”
 
I said, “Very well. Let the girl write as much as she is able to. I will understand everything. You tell her what to write, and I am sure she’ll do fine!”
 
Here is Jelika’s letter:
 
Greetings, Dear Brother!
 
I just wanted to let you know that I am better now. When I got home, I did not hear a thing (in the house), whereas before even some windows were broken – I forgot to tell you about this. Now I only sometimes hear the noise, but very rarely. The whole thing began before the feast of St.George. I should have come to you earlier. Oh, my brother! Nobody believes what I’ve been through. It was a torment worse than any illness. And I forgot to give you four more names of my departed family: Drago, Janjo, Vuceta and Luda. Please forgive me if I am bothering you. These 200 dinars are for the Saint. I will send some brandy for the monastery. I am not trying to pay, accept it as a gift.
 
Wishing you all the best,
 
Jelika Zecevic

 

A SMALL, BUT LIFE-SAVING PROMISE TO GOD
 
Maksim Jovovic documented the following:
 
“Blazo B., a clear-minded old man from the village of M., municipality of Cetinje, had been afflicted for many years with recurring and very painful headaches. The pain was at times unbearable. His visits to numerous doctors were all fruitless. He also sought help among herbalists and village healers and had even resorted to occult practices by local women. He became so despondent that he contemplated suicide on more than one occasion. One day during a particularly painful headache it occurred to him to make a promise to God to give a small donation each year to the Monastery of Ostrog for his recovery. The very next day he gave some money to a pilgrim setting out on a journey to Ostrog and told him to leave the money beside the reliquary. He solemnly promised God that he would send the same amount to the monastery every year. His headaches ceased and since then they have never returned, nor has he ever been afflicted with any other serious illness.
 
The year 1959 was a bad one and he had no money to send to Ostrog for a long time. Then his son, who worked as a teacher in Zrenjanin, came to visit him and gave him a thousand dinars to spend as he wished. As he had not been able to send money earlier, he decided to immediately send half of the sum that his son had given him to Ostrog. He was worried because there seemed to be no way for him to send his donation, and so he decided to ask a neighbour for advice. It just so happened that this neighbour was planning to go to Ostrog the very next day. Taking Blazo’s donation, the neighbour remarked, “You are a blessed man, indeed. Be thankful to God and to Saint Basil of Ostrog, for you have found the path of salvation, and both your body and your soul have been healed.”
 
THE HEALING OF AN EPILEPTIC
 
Kolja P., from the village of Dj., municipality of Bar, dictated the following story to Maksim Jovovic:
 
“I have only God and St.Basil of Ostrog to thank for the fact that I am still healthy at 80, without the help of any man-made medications.
 
Until my 30th year I had been very prone to nervous fits and seizures. No medications or doctors were able to help me. I became very despondent, hated life and very often wandered about like a lunatic.
 
In the summer of 1911 my brother and a few friends took me to Ostrog. We spent the night there and returned home the next day. I did not feel at all well during the journey back. We were ferried across the Skadar Lake in the direction of Krajina. When we arrived at Liman Bay I had a seizure. I fell to the ground in a convulsion and shouted, “Help me, can’t you see these snakes attacking me? They are going to squeeze the life out of me!” I was unconscious for a few hours and after that felt so weak that I could hardly stand. Late that night we arrived home and went straight to bed.
That was my last seizure. I have never had even so much a headache since. I still work as hard today as when I was young.”
 
THE ADVICE OF THE HOLY ARCHANGEL MICHAEL TO A YOUNG BOY
 
Maksim Jovovic wrote the following testimony of M.D., a villager from the vicinity of Niksic, in 1959:
 
“My son had become ill with the disease that the doctors had no cure for. He had completely lost the use of both his legs and could not even stand up.
 
One night my son saw the Holy Archangel Michael in a dream, who told him, “Go to the Ostrog monastery and you will be made well!”
 
I took my son to Ostrog in May of 1941. I asked the hieromonk at the Upper Monastery to pray for him. Soon after the prayers my son said that the pain in his legs was considerably less, but he still could not stand up.
 
The following day we went to Holy Liturgy at the Lower Monastery and when we had come out of the church, my son stood on his legs for the first time.”
 
Maksim Jovovic adds: “The boy returned home on foot and did not require help to walk. Although his parents were worried that the disease might come back, it never did.”
 
THE HEALING OF A POSSESSED WOMAN
 
Maksim Jovovic wrote in 1959:
 
Anka I., the wife of a state clerk from the municipality of Bar, suddenly lost her wits and became insane. Her gestures were those of a madwoman. She has taken to see many doctors, who could not help her in the least. When her illness took a turn for the worse and the signs of her madness became even more evident and she became a threat to her family and neighbours, her husband took her to the Ostrog monastery. This was in 1944.
 
They were seen by the abbot, Father Gerasim. He himself read prayers for the deliverance of this woman from unclean forces. After these prayers the woman felt much better, her mind cleared and she calmed down considerably. The following day she went home with her husband, joyful and content and her children welcomed her relief, for she had caused them much suffering with her illness.
 
The illness never recurred and this woman always remembers her pilgrimage to Ostrog and is thankful to God for having healed her.”
 
THE HEALING OF A MUTE AND DEAF GIRL
 
Seraphim Kasic, a hieromonk at the Upper Monastery at Ostrog, told the following story to Maksim Jovovic in the early 1960’s:
 
Along with the multitude of pilgrims who flocked to Ostrog from all parts of our country for the Feast of Pentecost, a woman from Focha came with her thirteen year old daughter. The girl was both death and mute from birth and had never spoken a word.
 
The mother brought her daughter to the Reliquary two times, where prayers were offered for her. After the second day of prayers the girl spoke out in a clear voice, to the utter amazement of her mother and all those present. Everyone who witnessed this miracle glorified God and praised Him for having healed this girl through St.Basil the Wonderworker.
 
The girl’s hearing was still not good, and I have not been advised whether it improved later on.”
 
HEALING FROM A SERIOUS ILLNESS
 
Vojislav R. Jokanovic from Krushevac, who had told father Seraphim Kasic the story of the healing of his mentally deranged father in 1924, now tells of his own experience at Ostrog. He does not specify the type of illness he suffered:
 
“In 1952 I was seriously ill and was discharged from the hospital. Although I was hundreds of kilometres away from Ostrog I decided to travel there, trusting in the Saint’s help. With the help of God I made it to the monastery and went into the church to pary before the Reliquary.
 
Upon my return I felt as though I had been reborn. I was a healthy man. Out of gratitude I decided to take a few days off from work and go on a pilgrimage to the monastery to give thanks to the Saint and to ask for his protection and intercession for myself and my family.”
 
THE HEALING OF A BLIND MAN
 
M.M., from the village of Sh., municipality of Bar, told Maksim Jovovic the following story:
 
“A neighbour of mine who is still alive today had been blind since 1926, when he was a schoolboy. The doctors had no clue as to why he was so suddenly struck blind and were powerless to help him. His parents took him to see the best eye specialists but it was all in vain. He remained blind and his family cared for him until 1953, when his two brothers took him to Ostrog.
 
The monks read prayers for him and they spent the night in the monastery. To everyone’s astonishment the blind man was able to see the next morning and he returned home happily with his brothers. Today he is a healthy man working in and around the house as though he had never been blind.
 
The brothers are frequent visitors at Ostrog, where they pray and give thanks to God and the great Wonderworker of Ostrog who restored the eyesight of a pious pilgrim.”
 
 

THE HEALING OF A MAN WITH AN UNDIAGNOSED BONE DISEASE
 
Vladimir L. from the village of Z., municipality of Bar, was an eyewitness of the following incident which he related to Maksim Jovovic:
 
While I was working as a janitor at the clinic near Ostrog in 1953, I was present when a thirty year old man from the Kuchi clan was brought to the monastery by car from Risan. The young man had spent a long time undergoing therapy for an undiagnosed illness in a clinic for bone diseases in Risan. Upon his request he was discharged from the clinic in order to make the journey to Ostrog. As he was unable to walk his companions carried him to the Upper Monastery on a stretcher. He spent the night under the Holy Relics and around noon the next day he stood up on his feet by himself. He was very happy and got into the car and drove away to his village in Kuchi, to surprise his family and friends by the sudden and miraculous healing he had received by the Grace of God.
 
THE HEALING OF A YOUNG BOY
 
On Aug 6th, 1961, Filip Zekovic told the story of his experience at Ostrog in the presence of Hieromonk Separphim Kasic, who wrote it down in the archives. Zekovic signed the written account:
 
“If I remember correctly, the incident I wish to tell you about took place in 1953. The abbot of the Ostrog monastery had summoned me to see to some construction work that was going on at the time. It was then that I saw a thirteen year old boy who had been brought to the monastery by his mother and aunt. His aunt said that before coming to Ostrog the boy had known neither his mother nor his aunt, but that as soon as he had gone into the church he had become quite normal.
 
This boy had suffered an emotional stress in early childhood. Once when he was guarding the sheep with his sister, a huge boulder crashed down and crushed the girl. Her brother lost his wits after the shock but his mind cleared as soon as he set foot on the monastery grounds.”
 
THE HEALING OF A YOUNG WOMAN’S AFFLICTION CAUSED BY A MAGIC SPELL
 
Darinka V., from stari Bar dictated her story to Maksim Jovovic:
 
I married in 1925. As is the custom for young brides, I went to fetch fresh water for the household from the village well early one morning.
 
On my way there I met other young woman. On the ground we saw what looked like a bundle of hair pins all twisted and joined together and tied up in a ball. I bent down and even though my friends warned me that if a spell had been cast over them they might bring me evil.
 
It was not long before I felt a tremor all over my body. I became feverish and started shivering. For a whole year I felt ill, medications and home remedies did not help. My nerves were starting to get frail and I was in bad shape.
 
My husband, aware that my condition might worsen, took me to the Ostrog monastery the very same year. We spent the night in the Upper Monastery, where they read prayers for my health. We returned home the following day.
 
I felt as though I had been born again on the return trip home. To this day I am very healthy, thanks to the mercy of God which He bestowed upon me on the day that I visited Ostrog.”
 
THE HEALING OF A DEMENTED MAN
 
Monk Makarije documented the following story in the 1930’s on a separate sheet of paper:
 
“In January of 1928 a certain Djuro Tomanovic of Djenovici sent word to the Ostrog Monastery that his brother Vojin was completely healed and had become quite normal and sane within a month after having been to the Monastery, for which they are most thankful to God and St.Basil.”
 
THE HEALING OIL FROM THE OSTROG MONASTERY
 
Maksim Jovovic documented the following story in 1959:
 
“Aleksandar Ratislavov, a hydrotechnical engineer from Russia, was employed at the Niksic waterworks in 1928. That year his wife had a baby girl, whose head was covered in boils. The parents went to several doctors and hospitals, but the boils only multiplied and soon they covered her whole body. They tried every available medicine, travelled to far-away clinics, used all sorts of ointments and baths, but nothing helped the child. They suffered along with their little girl and at one point would rather have seen her die than endure such pain.
 
One night the mother had a dream in which an unknown man appeared to her and told her to take the child to the Ostrog monastery and to anoint the boils on her body and head with the oil from the vigil lamp burning closest to the Reliquary. He told her the child would become well. She told her neighbours about this dream and they advised her to do as the man had said. She did so; she took her child to Ostrog. They slept at the monastery and in the morning she anointed the boils with oil from the vigil lamp. The next day she returned home, having taken a little oil with her. She put oil on the child’s wounds two more times. There was no need to anoint her a third time, from the wounds from the boils had healed, the crust had fallen off. In a matter of days the girl was well and today she is a happy and healthy schoolgirl.”
 
THE HEALING OF A LITTLE GIRL WITH A SHAKING HEAD
 
Ilija Zlaticanin writes in 1929:
 
“There was a little girl, a two year old from Serbia. Her mother and father brought her to Ostrog. They said they had come on foot, out of respect for the Saint. The little girl’s head was shaking uncontrollably. It was sad to see the baby suffering so much. When I had seen her, I thought, “Are not such afflictions the result of our sins and sins of our forefathers?”
 
The following day at the Lower Monastery I saw the same woman with the same child, who was not shaking any more. She was completely healthy. Her mother was breastfeeding her, filled with joy and gladness that God and St.Basil had helped her.”#
 
HEALED FROM UNCONTROLLED HICCUPPING
 
Ilija Zlaticanin also wrote down the following story in 1929:
 
“This is a case of a middle-aged woman from Hercegovina.
 
It is a common thing for people to get hiccups now and then after meals, or at other times. This goes on for a while and then stops. However, I have never seen such hiccups as this woman had. It was not a sound of normal hiccups, but rather like the snapping of a dog.
 
I was at Ostrog when this woman came to seek help from the Saint. She spent the night under the reliquary after venerating the relics.
 
The following morning I met her again. She was washing her face at the miraculous spring. Not once did she hiccup. Oh, how glad she was! She turned and smiled at everyone, as though she wanted to tell them how God and St.Basil had helped her.”
 
A YOUNG WOMAN IS CURED OF AN ECHINOCOCCUS INFECTION
 
Stana M., from Dubrovnik dictated her story to Maksim Jovovic:
 
“My friend Slavka M., a young woman from the village of S. near Trebinje, suffered from an echinococcus infection. She had had several surgeries, was very anemic and had spent a long time in hospital. A team of physicians agreed that she would not live through another operation and that there was practically nothing they could do for her. She was sent home to die.
 
In September of 1948 her mother took her to the Ostrog Monastery where they both prayed to God that Slavka be delivered from her illness. The priest-monk read prayers for her health before the Reliquary of St.Basil. The next morning the woman was feeling better and told her mother that she would have no more operations and would stop seeing doctors.
 
They went home happy. The young woman’s health improved day by day. The following year she married and moved to Cavtat. Once, when one of her doctors saw her, she remarked that he was glad they had misdiagnosed her illness.”
 
FAITH IN THE WONDERWORKING RELICS OF ST.BASIL
 
Stana Marjanovic from Dubrovnik testifies:
 
“In the spring of 1950 I had an appendectomy and was discharged from the hospital after ten days. I felt that something was bothering me from the inside. The incision became infected and I had to see the physician again. I told him I had the feeling that something had remained in my insides after the surgery. The physician scornfully replied that such a thing was impossible and that I was imaging things. After a few days the pain in my insides became intolerable and I had to be operated again. After they had opened me up again they found a wad of cotton inside, all covered with puss and blood. After that operation I felt somewhat better, but I had lost a lot of blood and had to stay in hospital for six months. My condition became worse so I called my mother, asking her to go to Ostrog, to take one of my dresses there and to leave it under the Reliquary of St.Basil for the night. I told her to ask the monks to read a prayer over it and to bring me back the dress so that I might wear it. My mother did as I asked and brought back the dress which had been blessed on the Relics of Saint Basil. As soon as I had put it on I felt a lot better. I was discharged from the hospital the next day to continue my recovery at home. After a few days I was feeling perfectly fine.”
 
THE MIRACLES OF ST.BASIL AMONG THE NON-ORTHODOX
 
An anonymous archivist wrote the following
 
Even the Bosnian Muslims come to Ostrog, just as they go to Studenica, in order that they may venerate the Holy Relics and have prayers read for them. They usually leave a donation. A recent example is a certain Hadzi-Alija Vezirovic from Niksic, who had been childless for many years. He and his wife visited Ostrog many times, attended Holy Liturgy and vespers, venerated the Relics and left generous donations. His wife at long last bore him a son. Since then this Turk has been sending the monastery a box of pure beeswax each year.
 
Archimandrite Nicifor (Ducic) met this Vezirovic on the Feast of Pentecost in 1864, as well as a certain baig Ljubovic with his family from Nevesinje, who had come to Ostrog to venerate the Holy Relics.”
 
THE HEALING OF A BLIND TURK
 
Simo Tomov Stanisic from the village of Potocilo (Vrazegrmci) told Hieromonk Seraphim Kasic the following story in 1961 and signed the written testimony:
 
“My father Tomo and my uncle Rasho, as well as many older people from our village, among them the well known commander Risto Damjanovic, told me this story. They in turn were told of this by their fathers. The story is a about the rich Turk from Skadar who was, as they say, a high official in the Skadar court. This man went blind and had no use of his eyes for a very long time. He sought help in many Turkish places of worship and finally decided to turn to Saint Basil, the Wonderworker of Ostrog and to pray to God there, for he knew of the wonders of Saint Basil before and after his repose.
 
When he arrived at the Upper Monastery the keeper of the Relics, a monk, took the Turk to the Reliquary which the blind man then venerated. The monk read a prayer and then took him to the fountain of water that springs out of a rock. The Turk washed his face with the water. After this the man said that he could see light. His companions asked the monks for permission to spend the night at the monastery and they were welcomed warmly and hospitably.
 
The following day the Turk’s eyesight was completely restored and he followed the monk to the Reliquary where he venerated it again.
 
Then he again washed his face in the spring from a rock and returned home to Skadar. Out of respect and gratitude to the Saint he did not want to ride a horse, but walked through Bjelopavlovichi all the way to Skadar.
 
After returning home with his eyesight fully restored he sent generous gifts to the monastery. As this took place a long time ago the name of this Turk has not been preserved in memory. Perhaps it was during the first days that Archimandrite Nikodim Raicevic was about that this took place, as the old people remember him telling everyone the wondrous story about this Turk.”
 
AN UNUSUAL CHILDBIRTH
 
Maksim Jovovic wrote down this story in the 1960’s:
 
“In the town of Crmnica, people still talk about the unusual childbirth of a Turkish woman in the home of the local priest. It happened in the 1870’s in the village of G., municipality of Bar.
 
Priest Joko L., was visiting the town of Skadar. In one of the town’s cafes he heard the remarkable story that in one of the surrounding villages a certain Turkish woman had been pregnant for more than a year and could not give a birth. The people considered this a punishment from God not only for the family but for the whole village. When the priest heard the story, he asked the villagers who knew the woman to ask her husband and the whole village for permission to take her to Ostrog. He said that there was hope she would return from the monastery in good health, with a baby in her arms.
 
After he had given his word of honour that he would protect the woman they agreed to let him take her to the Ostrog monastery. They took the ferry across the Skadar lake, spent the night at the priest’s house and the next day arrived in Ostrog. There the priest read prayers for the woman together with the monks. The following day they stayed at the priest’s house again, where the woman started having labor pains. Finally she gave birth to a healthy male child. The priest’s wife helped her with her child for ten days, after which she returned joyfully with her newborn to Skadar.
 
The woman’s husband, all the while thanking God and St.Basil, invited the priest to stay at their home. He pledged a lifelong friendship with the priest and they became blood brothers.”
 
A GERMAN PRINCE IS AWESTRUCK AT OSTROG
Ilija Zlaticanin wrote in 1929:
 
“A German prince visited Montenegro in 1908. He was most especially interested in seeing the Ostrog Monastery for himself, for he had heard many things about that place which had confused him a great deal. He expressed his wish to Prince Nikola, who asked Metropolitan Mitrophan to accompany them to Ostrog. Upon their return to Podgorica, they stayed at the hotel Rogoshic, where the Very Rev. Dushan Petrovic visited them. Asked how he liked Ostrog, the prince answered:
 
“It was out of pure curiosity that I decided to visit Ostrog. I did not go as a believer with a desire to venerate this holy place; I only wanted to see this mountain cave to which people flock from every part of the country to find consolation and remedy for afflictions of their souls and bodies. So I went and I now I admit quite frankly: the trip from the Lower to the Upper Monastery wiped out any curiosity I might have felt in the beginning. A compete turnaround took place in my soul and when I entered the Upper Monastery I went in with the utmost respect and fear. I cannot explain it. I entered with piety, as though anticipating something heavenly, something that assured me of the proximity of God and His greatness. I am now bringing this new experience with me to my country: Ostrog is not only a sacred place of the Orthodox, rather it is a beacon to believers of all existing religions in the world.”
 
ST.BASIL APPEARS TO A NORWEGIAN WOMAN IN AMERICA AND HEALS HER
 
M.P., from Nikshich told the following story to Maksim Jovovic in the 1960’s:
 
“It has been many years since I emigrated to America and married a Norwegian woman of my own age. After several years of married life my wife suddenly fell victim to a severe dysfunction of the nervous system. I took her to all the best clinics and consulted the best physicians but there was no improvement in her condition. At last an eminent specialist told me that there was nothing left to do but to put her into a hospital for the mentally ill.
 
As she lay there in hospital, one night an Elder who seemed to be clothed in vestments of gold appeared to her in a ray of bright light. He said to her, “Do not be afraid! I will heal you!” My wife asked him who he was and where he came from. “I am Basil of Montenegro!” answered the Elder. He drew close to her bedside and laid his hand on her head. He appeared to her for three nights and each time he would lay his hand on her head. She felt better each day.
 
Her doctor was amazed to see that her condition had improved significantly. He said to her, “Do not worry! We will heal you!” My wife told him that she knew she would be healed, thanks to another “doctor” who had “treated” her. The doctor smiled at her and assured her that there were no other doctors except the ones who were treating her and that the hospital was well guarded, so that no one could enter from outside. My wife answered that her doctor did not need to ask the guards for permission to enter and that no one could prevent him from entering. She soon recovered and was discharged from that hospital.
 
As her husband recommended, this woman sent a donation to the Ostrog monastery, vowing to do this as often as she could and to visit the holy shrine at Ostrog as soon as possible.”


THE HEALING OF THE WIFE OF AN AUSTRIAN OFFICIAL

The Very Rev. Jovan Boskovic told this story in 1940 to the archivist Maksim Jovovic:

“One year I chanced to be in Ostrog for the Feast of Pentecost. Metropolitan Mitrophan from Cetinje was there, too. Great number of people were present. Suddenly we saw a group of people leading seven horses. Tied up and sitting on the saddle of one horse was a woman, supported by men on each side of the horse. The other horses were loaded with food and luggage. One of the men, whom I knew, said to me, “Please help us. She is from Mostar and is the wife of the chief director of the Taxation Office for Hercegovina. She is totally insane. We brought her to Saint Basil; help us to get through to the Relics and find a monk who will read prayers for her.”

I told him to see Metropolitan, who appointed me to take care of the woman. I remember that her name was Milchika. I believe she was Roman Catholic.

We placed her under the Reliquary and afterwards we had to put her in a dark cell. She made a dreadful racket, smashed things and attacked people. Prayers were read for her every day for three days. On the third day she finally calmed down. We opened the cell. She was as quiet as a lamb. She asked us, “Tell me please, for the sake of God, tell me: where am I?” When we told her she started to cry. Her senses had returned; she had become healthy and was very quiet.

I was an eyewitness to this healing.

After some time this lady visited Ostrog again with her husband. They brought gifts for the monastery. The husband wore the Austrian uniform. Some Montenegrin said jokingly: “Here’s a Jerry; let’s kill him.” The man, frightened, left his gifts before the monastery gates and departed.”

THE HEALING OF A YOUNG ALBANIAN

Filip Zekovic from Niksic told this story to Hieromonk Seraphim Kasic, the monastery archivist, and verified the written story with his own signature:

“It was the Feast of Pentecost, in 1911, when many people from all parts of the country gather together at Ostrog. I was there when they brought a young Albanian man from Northern Albania whose hands and feet were tied up.

This was on Sunday. The following day, Monday, I saw the same man, only this time he was completely normal. All the people at the feast saw the miracle, too. The healed man prayed and even crosses himself many times.

Since then I have gone on a pilgrimage to Ostrog nearly every year.”

 

THE HEALING OF AN ANADOLIAN HODJA

Bajro B. from Stari Bar told this story to Hieromonk Seraphim Kasic, who documented the testimony in the archives:

“During the reign of the Montenegrin king Nikola, in 1913, a large steamship from Constantinopole docked at the port of Bar. Along with a few other passengers, a young hodja from Anadolia (in Asia Minor) came ashore. He was tall, thin and very pale. He walked with crutches, as his legs had been paralyzed for some years. Although he was rich he could find no remedy for his illness.

He found a room in Stari Bar where he met many of his coutrymen with whom he could communicate in his own tongue. He told them that he had had a dream in which he was told to go to the Montenegrian monastery of Ostrog and that he would be healed there. This was the reason for his long journey – he believed he would be healed in that holy place.

It was spring when he arrived at Ostrog. He later related how amazed he was by the majesty of this remarkable place and by the beauty of nature which surrounded it. A prayer was read for him before the Reliquary of Saint Basil after which he felt much better. He left a generous donation for the monastery as well as his crutches and walked all the way to Podgorica, where he took a train to Bar. He spent a few days in Stari Bar, walking around with ease without crutches or any other walking device. I accompanied him to the ship and helped him with his luggage.

The hodja went back to his country a healthy man, praising God and St.Basil who works miracles on those who pray fervently for help from God, regardless of the faith they confess.”

A FRENCHWOMAN’S PILGRIMAGE TO OSTROG

Todor Subota, president of the Orthodox church congregation in Kotor and Maksim Jovovic’s godfather, sent the following letter to the monastery in 1959:

“My aunt from Belgrade, who is an elderly but very alert lady, came to visit her sons in September of 1957. She travelled by train from Belgrade and shared the compartment with a Frenchwoman who had a handsome two year lod boy with her. They were accompanied by an older man from Dubrovnik. As my aunt spoke French, she started a conversation with the French lady and they talked during the whole trip until they reached Hum station, where the woman was supposed to catch another train to Niksic.

My aunt later told us, “After we had parted the gentleman from Dubrovnik recounted the Frenchwoman’s remarkable experience:

She had been in an airplane travelling from Paris to Lyons along with 40 other passengers. They were flying over a mountainous region where she felt drowsy and dozed off. At that moment she saw a bishop in golden vestments who came to her and said, “Do not be afraid; you will be saved on account of the little angel you have with you. All the others will die!” The woman asked him who he was and he answered, “I am a Saint from a far-off Monastery in Montenegro!” She awoke with a start and was very puzzled over this strange dream. Perhaps ten minutes had gone by when suddenly there was a shattering explosion. The airplane hurtled down. She felt the plane hit the ground, but she apparently was to be snugly cushioned in her seat and was unhurt. She stepped out of the burning ruins of the plane and watched as the flames consumed it and the forty other passengers that had been on board. Two hours later a group of men from a nearby village, who had seen the plane go down, appeared on the scene. They asked where she had come from and did not believe her when she told them she had been on board that plane. Nothing more is known about this case.”

Maksim Jovovic was reluctant to include this story in the monastery archives, for there was nothing to prove the truthfulness of the incident that his godfather Todor desribed.

 At the bottom of the page where Todor’s letter is copied into the archives, there is a note handwritten by Maksim Jovovic himself.

“One day in 1959 I was very happy to see Staka M., a frequent pilgrim to Ostrog. She told me that she had seen a foreign woman with a child standing at the entrance of the church at the Upper Monastery, trying to make herself understood. A man who spoke some French tried to help her. She kept pointing to the icon of St.Basil, who she said had saved her and the child.

The date when the foreigner and Staka M. visited the Monastery coincided with the date when I received the letter describing the Frenchwoman’s experience.”

 THE HEALING OF A ROMAN CATHOLIC GIRL

Maksim Jovovic wrote down this story in the 1950’s:

Petar Dj., from the village of S., municipality of Bar, had sought help for her eigth-year old daughter from many doctors but to no avail.

 The little girl had fallen ill in 1942 and could no longer stand up. Her legs had shrivelled and the doctors had pronounced her condition irreversible and incurable. In that part of Montenegro Roman Catholics and the Orthodox lived in harmony and understanding; therefore her parents had no had no qualms about taking their child to Ostrog, hoping and trusting in God that the little girl would get better.

 The idea of going to Ostrog came to them one day when the little girl had a very high fever and the mother brushed her with some oil from the Ostrog monastery. The fever came down immediately.

As soon as the war was over the paraents took their little daughter to Ostrog. At that time roads were scarce, but the mother managed to make it with her daughter in 1945. The monks advised them to leave the child under the Reliquary for a few hours. The girl slept, which was good sign that she might be healed. As soon as she awakened up, the little girl stood up on her feet. They returned home the following day, overjoyed that the child was feeling much better.

Today the little girl is a perfectly healthy schoolgirl who enjoys playing with her friends.”

 

ARCHIMANDRITE GAVRILO

Dear visitors of our web-site of the monastery Lepavina! Due to a high number of visits of our website, I am honoured to take the responsibility to describe you in English different events from Serbian Orthodox Church and monastery Lepavina. We would like to inform you that we will be also putting on our web-site some texts in English on different subjects from other Orthodox websites. I deeply hope and believe that our Lord will help me in that!

With God’s blessing, from monastery Lepavina Archimandrite Gavrilo.

Biography Archimandrite Gabriel (Vuckovic)

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