Sunday, July 10, 2016

Little Dimitri with the gift of insight...

In September of a certain year, there was a great deal of turmoil observed in the Department of Oncology of the University Hospital of Rion. Little Dimitri was asking urgently for the Hospital's priest. He was insisting on immediately receiving Holy Communion...
He was 13. He had been in that specific clinic for about one and a half years. A minor headache had led him there. The doctors had diagnosed brain cancer. His native town was Fieri of Albania; his parents unbaptized. They had lived in Patra for several years. Shortly after his admission to the Hospital, the young boy had asked to be baptized. He had heard about Christ, and wanted to become a "child" of His. He was baptized, "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" - after the necessary catechesis of course.
Everyone in the clinic was extremely fond of him. The cancer had progressed considerably, and had by now deprived him of his sight. He was entirely unable to see, anything and anyone. But he could listen, with the utmost and amazing patience. He never complained. He would say that God loved him very much. He prayed, and would ask his parents to do the same.
All those who visited him could perceive that there was something different in that boy. He spoke constantly about God. He was always courteous and happy. His face shone. He wanted to partake of the Precious Gifts frequently. When his mother would sometimes be in another area of the clinic, he would shout out to her:
"Mother, come quickly! Papa is coming, with Christ! He is coming up the stairs! Come and get me ready!"
And that was exactly what would happen: the priest would come, and he would find little Dimitri sitting upright in his bed, with his mouth wide open and crossing himself with reverence. Even though he never knew the exact time of the priest's arrival, he could "see" him coming, with his gift of insight - and despite the two closed doors that came between his room and the corridor that the priest was coming from. This has been verified by the pious Mrs. Maria Galiatsatou, who had volunteered to look after that boy.
"Mrs. Maria, I want to tell you something", he said to her one day. "When Papa comes together with Christ, I can see him approaching as he walks up the stairs, and next to him are two tall, beautiful people with pure white gowns, who lean towards the Holy Chalice to protect it, with their arms outstretched."
One time, when the doctor asked him: "How are you, my little Dimitri?"
He replied: "Mister Doctor, can I tell you something privately? I am just fine. But you shouldn't worry so much because your wife went away. God will be with you, because you are a good person."
The doctor remained frozen for an instant. No-one else knew about the grievous incident that had occurred the previous day at his place: that his wife had abandoned him, to be with another man.....
"Now that is a child of God" was what those who had met him would say.
The last time that he received Holy Communion, he was unable to sit up in his bed, but he did receive Christ with joy and longing as he lay there.
"Thank you very much", he whispered and then went to sleep forever. When the priest went to the morgue the next day to read the Trisaghion Prayer over little Dimitri, he remarked:
«It's the first time in my life that I have seen a corpse like this. His face was was aglow.... and it had the colour of amber».
His parents came to love Christ very much, and they now want to be baptized also....
* One of the signs that Orthodoxy acknowledges in a reposed saintly person is also the colour of the skin, which takes on a translucent amber appearance.

Taken from the book: "ASCETICS IN THE WORLD" , pp.378–380, ISBN: 978-960-89593-2-3,
Publications of the Sacred Retreat «Saint John the Forerunner», Metamorphosis, Chalkidiki