March 4, 2011

A Contemporary Miracle: Fr. George Florovsky and the Wild Child

The following story was told by Fr. Stephanos Anagnostopoulos in a recent talk that can be heard here in Greek.

Let us behold a contemporary miracle. A priest, Fr. Nicholas, whose last name is not told, said the following about Fr. George Florovsky, the great Russian Orthodox theologian and teacher at Harvard University in the United States.

He was indeed a great Orthodox theologian. He was noteworthy and a miracle-worker, as well as a man of great sacrifice. He also was educated in spiritual psychology as well the psychological study of the effects of alcohol and drugs. He studied these and other subjects with much love and patience.

"In order to understand the greatness of this man", said Fr. Nicholas to a doctor, "I will tell you a story about him of which I was a witness of a miraculous healing. A woman brought her eighteen year old child, who was suffering from insanity, to Fr. George. His situation was extremely difficult and untreatable. Fr. George asked to receive the young man in his custody. The young man was taken by Fr. George to a place of retreat of many acres of land. They both entered the house there - the wild child and Fr. George - and Fr. George shut the heavy door, locked it, while putting the key in his pocket. After three days the child was returned to his parents healed and healthy-minded. This child became educated and is still healthy. In fact now, as of two years ago in 2008, he is an Orthodox bishop in the United States.

When I asked 'Fr. George, how did this happen?' he answered me saying: 'I took the child and told him 'My child, I will sit on this log. The entire property is yours. Do whatever you want, and when you want, come so we can talk. Three days and nights he did what he wanted. He destroyed the refrigerator, the library, the flowers, the chairs, the tables, everything. When he calmed down, we talked. As long as he wanted. I was sitting on this log and waited, without being afraid of what was going on around me. I did not get up from there for three days, nor did I eat or drink water. After three days the child serenely kissed my hand, and raised me up to walk since I was as if dead. We opened the door and I presented him to his parents healed and healthy-minded. This is as we read in the Gospel reading from this past Sunday about the the demon possessed man who roamed among the tombs, who after his exorcism the demons left and entered the swine who drowned in the lake, and was later seen to be healed and healthy-minded.'

'But Fr. George, in those three days how did you take care of your natural needs? You are a man!' Fr. George responded: 'I did it all on myself. I didn't move at all. I wanted to offer a sacrifice for this child to God - my patience and this basic human need of life. I am nobody. God granted healing to the man. And from this he gave me a taste of the heavenly kingdom.'"

He did it on himself. He was without bread, without water, without sleep. Only with prayer. And the demon left.

What do we do for our children? Nothing like this.

Such a man was this true theologian. A man primarily of the Orthodox Divine Liturgy, and, moreover, of every sacrifice.

Translated by John Sanidopoulos