August 29, 2010

St. John the Forerunner and the Multiplication of Bread at Dionysiou Monastery

by Elder Chrysanthos of Dionysiou

Last year (1939) I was in charge of the trapeza (refectory). The feast of the Honorable Forerunner was approaching, during which we have a small celebration. The day before the eve of the feast I counted the bread, and altogether it was 250 breads. With this I had to do four service rounds, knowing that each service requires 70-80 breads. Furthermore, on the feast of the Honorable Forerunner I had to give to the visiting pilgrims one or two breads for a blessing.

After careful calculations of the breads I saw that we would not have enough to get by. I went to the abbot. I told him that the breads will not be enough and we need tomorrow (this was the day before the feast) to knead. The abbot, not knowing what he was thinking, said to me: "No, no, we will not knead."

"But Elder, the bread will not be enough for us, and we will be shamed before our visitors, not having bread on the feast of the Honorable Forerunner."

But he repeated, saying: "No, we will get by."

What could I therefore do? In order to not enter a dispute, I left sad and distressed. I went to the refectory and divided the breads into two hampers. In one I put 150 breads and in the other I put the other 100. This happened on Friday morning. I thought furthermore that for service on Saturday night I can dampen dry bread to economize the need.

On Friday and Saturday morning, for the two dining services which occurred, 150 breads were issued that were in one hamper. When the dining service was complete on Saturday morning, I took the empty hamper to the "outer cell" where we kept the dry bread and raki. There remained only 100 breads and I was saving them for tomorrows dining service for the feast of the Saint.

On Saturday evening I went to the "outer cell" to get the dry bread in order to dampen, as I had determined, when, lo, your miracle O Honorable Forerunner! I saw the empty hamper which I had left there in the morning empty, now full of fresh bread. I rubbed my eyes. Perhaps it was a deception of the devil? Perhaps I could not see correctly? In this hamper I had the 150 breads that I used in two days! What is this? What is that? This is a miracle of the Honorable Forerunner.

I ran then to my Elder with joy, and I told him the whole story urging him also to come and see the miracle. He came, he confirmed the miracle, and the both of us gave the proper honor and glory to the Honorable Forerunner. And the next day I noticed the ascetics and the visitors taking not only one, but five or six breads each, proclaiming to all the miracle of the Holy Forerunner.

From Counsels From Dionysiou. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.