November 10, 2009

St. Arsenios of Cappadocia Heals a Woman of Despair and Saves Her From Suicide

St. Arsenios of Cappadocia (Feast Day - November 10)

By Elder Paisios the Athonite

One time, a Farasiote woman had fallen into despair, because her husband had died a few years after their marriage, and now she did not want to have anything to do either with her village or with people, and was living on wild plants, in caves, because she had also been a factor in his death.

After about three years, unrecognizable because of what she had been going through, she visited Father Arsenios, and said to him:

"Hatzefendis, your blessing. You turn the world upside down. Can't you bring back my Vasilakis? Is it difficult for you?"

Father Arsenios answered her:

"My child, you've had a very hard time with your mourning. If you want, I give you my blessing to be married."

Said she:

"No, what I want is to see my Vasilakis. Won't you be upset if I kill myself?"

Father Arsenios was deeply pained and begged her:

"Don't do that, child. Don't give your soul to the demons."

But she was in a terrible state and kept saying that she would, too. Then Father Arsenios calmed her down and told her to go back to the cave where she was living and that Vasilakis would appear to her there, so she could see him and be reconciled. And he continuously prayed, with grievous pain.

Hardly had she arrived at the cave when Vasilakis appeared to her in a vision and said to her: "You villain, have you come here as well? But I know who sent you. Hatzefendis, who has great boldness towards God." His repentant wife then begged his forgiveness, and when she had been given it, Vasilakis disappeared once more and she returned peacefully to the village where she now lived quietly and in repentance.

Although the Evil One had played a part in making her, too, a cause of her husband's death, the same Evil One then brought her to despair so she would commit suicide. The Good Lord, however, did not allow her soul to perish, through His faithful servant Arsenios.

Apolytikion in Tone 3
Your godly life well-spent, as a vessel of the Spirit, honourable, you shone, Arsenios inspired by God. Endowed with the grace of miracles, you swiftly send aid to all. Beseech, Blessed Father, Christ our God, to grant us His great mercy.

Kontakion in Tone 4
Cappadocia's new-sprung flower and precious vessel of virtues, Holy Arsenios, let me hymn. For as an angel he lived in the flesh, and now resides with all the Saints. With them, he ever prays to Christ to grant us forgiveness of our sins.