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Batushka’s last days.


"...On December 9, I went to Kronstadt to my husband’s grave and after that got ready to go to Batiushka to thank him for this cure. From the cemetery I went to Elizabeth, and she said to me: ‘Olenka, you have to go to Batiushka. They’ll let you in, although he is already so weak that he served his last Liturgy on the fourth, while he now partakes of Holy Communion— in such a bad state is he...’ I asked Vera Pertsov to find out whether I could come. Batiushka said: ‘If she wants to receive my blessing, then let her come now, but if she wants to have a talk, then at 6 o’clock.’ So I had to remain overnight in Kronstadt, which I had no intention at all of doing. When I came to him at 6 o’clock, I stopped on the porch, not expecting such a change... He sat in an armchair covered by a robe, all skin and bones.

"‘Hello, my white angel, hello, my happiness! How pleased I am to see you! Thank you for your faith! Why, you rose up from the dead! And you were already one foot in the grave! I say now that I am not what I was, that I have become worse.’

"And he says: ‘If you lose faith, then who will there be to believe!’ and asked me strongly to maintain my faith...

"Only one single little lamp was burning in the room, before an icon of St. Seraphim, which I had brought to him from the Sarov monastery. He conversed with me for a long time. Then he said, seeing my tears: ‘Don’t imagine that if I leave, then all is over! Over there, before the Throne, I will pray in the same way and you must continue to tell me everything. I will be even closer, standing before the Throne of the Most High; and I will hear you and will fulfill your request... While now, we must thank the Lord for your cure! Tomorrow I will celebrate my last Liturgy. Only I am very weak, so you come running. Don’t be late!’

"As a parting gesture, Batiushka rose and even sat me down to sit awhile in his armchair...

"When I told them at the Working House that Batiushka would serve tomorrow, no one wanted to believe me, and even convinced me that I did not understand as I should have, that this couldn’t be possible. But anyway, in the morning, albeit with doubts, we went with Grandma Liza to church, not hurrying especially... and suddenly, coming abreast to the house where Batiushka lived, we saw the gates swinging open, and from there, covered in pillows, he rode out... And we were indeed forced to run...

"And so, on December 10, 1908, Batiushka served his last Liturgy and even delivered a sermon. During celebration of the Mystery, he pierced himself with the spear and later, standing on the solea, turned to those standing close to him and said, pointing to the oozing blood: There, I have stabbed myself!’ He was given a handkerchief to use as a bandage... As he was giving me Communion, Batiushka uttered: ‘God’s servant Olga is receiving Communion of healing and salvation.’ These were the last words of dear Batiushka which I heard from him here on earth."

St. John passed away, as is known, on December 20, 1908.

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