Most Holy Theotokos intercede for us!

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Blessed Nicholas Ivansen

'Elder Zosima [in schema, Zachariah] had a dear friend in the St. Sergius monastery, the blessed Nicholas. He was a wonderful person. His full name was Nicholas Alexandrovich Ivansen. His father's name was Oscar. He had changed his name and adopted Orthodoxy. His mother's name was Natalya. The blessed Nicholas was a soldier by profession, but he did not keep his health for long. He bore a heavy cross of illness; once he had fallen ill he did not rise from his bed for forty years. At first he lay in a private flat, but afterwards he was moved into the monastery almshouse. His parents had died and there was no one to look after him, he was a stranger to everyone. With courage he endured and prayed.

For his exceptional endurance and humility, the Lord endowed him with clairvoyance. Father Zosima began to go to see him often and the blessed man became very fond of him. . .

Several times in succession angels brought him Communion, coming to him in the guise of monks, with the abbot at their head, who confessed him. The monks sang wonderfully. They came to him by night. The blessed Nicholas did not realize that this was a heavenly favor shown to him, but took the angels for monks and thought: "This is how well the abbot and the brothers behave to me; they have no time during the day, so they come by night on holy days and comfort me in my great suffering."

Father Zosima did not know about this, and when he learnt from the brothers that Nicholas was lying seriously ill in the monastery almshouse and that for more than thirty years no one had administered Christ's Holy Sacrament to him, he went to give him Communion and confess him. The blessed Nicholas thanked him and said: "I am so glad that on all the great feastdays the abbot and the brothers give me Communion," and he told him everything.

Father Zosima stored up the blessed man's words in his heart, but he did not say anything to him, and only after his death did he learn of the wonderful miracle shown to this suffering soul, which had borne its cross with great endurance.'

(Edited. Excerpted from "An Early Soviet Saint: The Life of Father Zachariah," by one of his spiritual daughters. Pages 47-49)


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Rejoice, O Virgin Mother of God, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, for thou hast born the Savior of our souls.