An Account from New York

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At the [headquarters of the] Synod of the Russian Church Abroad, in New York, I was given a copy of the October 2003 issue of magazine Pravoslavnaya Zhizn' (Orthodox Life), issued on the occasion of the anniversary of brother Joseph's death. Although brother Joseph has not yet been glorified, he helped me this Spring.

An acquaintance of mine brought me some oil from the vigil lamp at brother Joseph's grave. I had been in Jordanville three times, but had failed to notice that there was a perpetual vigil lamp at his grave. For the third year in a row, I have had terrible Spring allergies affecting my nose, eyes, sneezing, etc. In the past I used to buy medication from a certain company, but this year decided to save some money by buying the same medication from a different company, at one half the price. I took some, and felt better, but although I was to take the next tablets in four hours, the allergies returned within two hours. It was late in the evening, I could not go purchase the other medication, and I did not want to spend [any more] money. Then I remembered the oil, and thought to myself, what if it should help me as well? I had already read about brother Joseph in your magazine. Whenever I was at the Monastery, Fr. George Kallaur would serve a panikhida at brother Joseph's grave. I had seen two films about him, and a photograph of his grave is next to my icons. I was also touched by his concern for young people, as my children had not been Baptized, but last year my younger daughter Anna was Baptized; my husband is a Kazakh Muslim, and for that reason I had a special prayerful feeling for brother Joseph. Moreover, I was familiar with, or more accurately, I had heard of, the Montreal Icon of the Mother of God back in 1997. In the magazine Krestianka (Peasant Woman), it said that if you want to receive a little icon, write to Montreal. I thought to myself, I have no use for an icon, and perhaps someone else needs it more than I do, so I did not dare to write. I have held very difficult jobs. This is the fifth year I have been working in Manhattan, and have had the opportunity to attend the Synod.

So, when my allergies became worse, I simply said, without any kind of special prayer, "Brother Joseph, you see how sick I am; if you can, please help." Then I anointed my eyes and nostrils with oil from his grave. I did not even notice how it happened, but the allergies dissipated, and I peacefully fell asleep.

In the morning I got up, and at some point thought to myself that I must have imagined that I had allergies… Immediately, my eyes began to burn, my nose began to run, and I was unable to breathe. Once again I prayed, "Lord, forgive me! Brother Joseph, forgive me! etc." Once again, I anointed my eyes and nose with the oil, and once again felt better.

Nonetheless, I bought some of the former medication (and carried it around in my purse for thirty days), but I had no need of it. Each morning, three to five minutes after taking the medication, the allergies would come back with renewed force, I again would anoint myself with the oil, and the allergies would go away.

I have no doubt that it was by brother Joseph's prayers that my younger daughter Anna was Baptized. Forgive me for writing such a lengthy letter. I simply wanted you to understand that although I am only a new and helpless Christian, the Lord hears even weak and careless people such as I.

Svetlana Baigabulova
Pravoslavnaya Zhizn' No. 10, 2006

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