Saturday, April 9, 2022

How Saint Raphael Brought a Muslim Man Back to Life

In late August (around 2014), Mrs. Alkestis called the Monastery of Saint Raphael at Ano Souli, Marathon from Mykonos Island, asking for information regarding access and accommodation nearby, in order to be present at Saint Raphael’s, during the celebrations of the Monastery’s feast day on the 2nd of September.

While on the phone with one of the fathers, she asked him to light a candle to Saint Raphael for the brother of the cleaning lady that she had at her place to help with the housework, as he had suffered a stroke and eventually fallen into a coma. She had learnt that the doctors had said that it was almost impossible for the patient to recover and had recommended that the relatives be prepared for the inevitable. They all feared that even if he did survive –which was highly unlikely- he would not be able to move his hands and legs, nor would he be able to speak properly and coordinate his thoughts, due to extensive brain damage. As a result, all of the patient's relatives (of the Muslim faith, as was the patient) were extremely upset, as was Mrs. Alkestis, as she shared their pain.

So, on the same day that Mrs. Alkestis made that call and the fathers lit a candle to Saint Raphael, the patient showed some slight movement. His relatives noticed this. On the 2nd of September, when Mrs. Alkestis was attending the Feast of Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene, the patient moved his arm and his leg and began to show signs of life. His relatives also noticed it, and were greatly impressed, as it coincided with the Saints’ feast day. When Mrs. Alkestis returned to the island, the patient’s sister -albeit a Muslim- asked for an icon of Saint Raphael and began to kiss it, weeping and beseeching him to help her brother.

Fifteen minutes later, she received a phone call from Bulgaria where her brother and the remaining relatives were, and they told her that her brother had suddenly begun to move his head, he had woken up and spoke to them, asking "Have you been coming to see me for many days?” and then fell into a coma again. Her joy and her emotion were indescribable. She prayed with sobs to Saint Raphael and kept telling him that she believed in him and was certain that her brother would get well.

In fact she even promised to bring him to Saint Raphael’s Monastery. Mrs. Alkestis also gave her some oil from Saint Raphael’s oil lamp and told her to send it to her brother, along with an icon of the Saints. She immediately agreed and sent them off through her son - who "by coincidence" had come to see her (four years had passed, and yet he hadn’t visited her at all) - and was going to return to Bulgaria.

No sooner had the icon and the oil from Saint Raphael departed, than the patient came out of the coma permanently and had asked to eat and go home! Everyone was amazed and impressed. Saint Raphael had worked his miracle! In fact, as soon as the icon of Saint Raphael had arrived at the Hospital, the patient was discharged and sent home.

The doctors said that it was very clearly a miracle, for a patient who was in intensive care and comatose, to go straight home. Many people learnt of this miracle, and the patient himself also came to believe in his miraculous salvation by Saint Raphael, and slept with the Saint's icon above his bed, and would say on his own: “You didn’t anoint me with the Saint’s oil today... anoint me with the oil!"

A few days later he even said the following to his sister: "I am fully aware of what happened to me. I died, and he brought me back. I had seen that I was dead and was being taken to our cemetery. But I noticed a Christian Church there, and a Christian priest who said to me: 'You should have died now, but I’m doing you the favor to send you back, for your son and for your daughter... '."

The lives of those people had changed. Whichever home the icon of Saint Raphael had entered, the people became more active, more cheerful and had begun to show more love towards each other, and they themselves felt and confessed that change and believed that it was due to Saint Raphael.

Indeed, great is the Grace of Saint Raphael and his companions, and many are the blessings of God bestowed on people who invoke His saints, whether they are believers or unbelievers. Glorified be their names. May we have their blessings. And may the people respond with gratitude to the blessings of the Saints, and may they end up in salvation and in Heaven, through the Church and Her Mysteries. Amen.