Chapter 23: A Sign from God

Not many weeks later, Fr. Gregory, early one morning, was driving the Archdeacon Fr. Barnabas to the hospital to administer holy Communion to one of the faithful who was ill. On the way home, Fr. Gregory and the archdeacon were casually speaking.

Father Gregory said, “Who is serving today?”

The deacon replied, “Well, it is certainly not Fr. Isaac.”

Father Gregory said, “Why?”

The deacon said, “Don‘t you know? His right hand has become numb. Haven‘t you noticed in trapeza (dining room) that he is not eating with his right hand, but with his left, and that he hasn‘t served since his trip to New York?”

Father Gregory said, “No. No one made any announcement.”

The archdeacon said, “Yes. I wonder why?”

Father Gregory said nothing, but certainly understood why. He came back to the monastery and began to take notice of Fr. Isaac‘s inability to use his right hand. Weeks passed. Then, the only open announcement was made very casually, at the end of a trapeza meal, when the abbot said, “Everybody pray for Fr. Isaac. He is going to see the doctor about his hand.”

The next day Fr. Gregory went to Bishop Constantine, who was the bishop of Boston and resided at the monastery, and explained all that had happened and asked if he knew about Fr. Isaac‘s hand.

Bishop Constantine said, “Yes, but the doctors don‘t know the cause or the cure.”

Not many weeks later the Orthodox world heard the very sad news that Archbishop Andrew had reposed. He departed to the Lord on one of his name days, the feast of the Twelve Apostles, June 30, 1978.

At this juncture, Fr. Gregory almost fell into despair, not imagining how he could possibly obtain a release without Archbishop Andrew still alive. He wanted to go to his burial and weep for his spiritual father, an angel that God had provided for him. He thought within himself that he had nothing to lose, so he asked Fr. Isaac who himself was going to the funeral that he also wanted to go. Father Isaac, who still had his right arm hanging from his shoulder like a dead piece of meat, looked at Fr. Gregory and smirked, as if to say, “Fat chance you‘re going to go see him again,” and then he said almost the same.

Father Gregory said, “Just ask Fr. Panteleimon for a blessing.” Deep inside, Fr. Gregory understood that he would be going, because of all that happened to Fr. Isaac‘s arm, for how could he refuse, seeing that this scourge was a direct rebuke from the archbishop? What hope would Fr. Isaac have of obtaining forgiveness and a miracle of healing if he were to deny Fr. Gregory access to the archbishop for a second time? The next day, Fr. Gregory was informed that he would be going to the funeral with the monastery clergy.

That day the weather was rainy from the early morning hours, and the rain continued until noon. The drive down to New York was in continuous rain and fog. People were somewhat saddened that the funeral of such a great person was going to be marred by this weather. Many bishops had gathered, including Bishop Nektary, who was a disciple of Archbishop Andrew from Russia. When the Boston delegation arrived, they all immediately went to the convent church of the Dormition where the body of Vladyka Andrew was lying in state.

The
      Repose of Archbishop Andrew

All did reverence, and needless to say, Fr. Isaac did not hesitate to go to the body and place his hand on Vladyka‘s remains. The rains continued throughout the ceremony. Then, at the end of the service, when the remains were to be taken to the grave site for burial, all of a sudden, the rain subsided and the sun shone brightly all around the convent. All were amazed. The body was taken three times around the church and then to the grave site.

The
      Repose of Archbishop Andrew

The clergy followed behind the casket, and then the bishops and then the monks, and then the laypeople. Father Panteleimon, however, did something strange. He did not take his place with the clergy, but he endeavored and succeeded in walking underneath the casket. People were commenting why he was acting in this manner. Few understood the abbot‘s need of repentance for acting the way he had and also his need to have Fr. Isaac healed. The abbot had groomed Fr. Isaac from his very first entry into the monastery to be his successor, and for him not to have the use of his right hand would be an inconvenience that could not be calculated. In the end, Archbishop Andrew healed Fr. Isaac, for from the time of the funeral his hand gradually became better, and completely healed.

During the funeral procession, young Russian girl scouts who were in attendance were granted a vision, and the only way they could describe it was that angels were escorting the soul of Archbishop Andrew into the sky.


Archbishop Gregory
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Last Updated: July 12, 2011