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June 27, 2010

The Beneficial Lesson of Saint Severus the Presbyter

Saint Severus the Presbyter (June 27) during the sixth century served in a church of the Most Holy Theotokos in the village of Interocleum in Central Italy. He was noted for his virtuous and God-pleasing life. One time, when the saint was working in his garden, cutting grapes in the vineyard, they summoned him to administer the Holy Mysteries for the dying. Saint Severus said: "Go back, and I'll catch up with you soon."

There remained only but a few more grapes to cut off, and Saint Severus dallied for awhile in the garden to finish the work. When he arrived at the sick person's home, they told him that the person was already dead. Saint Severus, regarding himself as guilty in the death of a man without absolution, started to tremble and loudly he began to weep. He went into the house where the deceased lay.

With loud groans and calling himself a murderer, in tears he fell down before the dead person. Suddenly the dead man came alive and related to everyone that the demons wanted to seize his soul, but one of the angels said, "Give him back, since the priest Severus weeps over him, and on account of his tears the Lord has granted him this man." Saint Severus, giving thanks to the Lord, confessed and communed the resurrected man with the Holy Mysteries. That man survived for another seven days, then joyfully went to the Lord.



By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

When a dead person came to life, men asked him;
"Tell us, where were you and who awakened you?"
"In the place of fear and horror, I was,
In the company of black ones, wolves and dogs,
In the depths, full of every uncleanness,
In the bottomless pit of darkness, without a single ray.
And when my soul, despair overcame
By the hand, a radiant young man took me.
Then, from the depths, a cool current blew
And against me charged black ones with heads of dogs:
'This one, he is ours, he is ours, where are you taking him now?
As a citizen of Hades, do you not recognize him?'
To that the angel said: 'Severus, for him, is praying!
And by the will of God, I am taking him,
In the body once more he must appear,
Behold, to confess him, Severus is seeking!
To confess him and Holy Communion to administer to him.
Armies of evil and recalcitrants, stay away!'
Thus the angel said and, with me, flew away
Throughout the cold Hades, throughout the bottomless darkness,
Until at holiness arrived, even to my body.
That is the history of me, the deceased."
O, to be confessed, what a treasure it is
And Communicated to enter into the world of eternity!