The article Virgin Mary’s sites in Italy mentions Mary’s apparition that occurred on 26 May 1432 near the town of Caravaggio. That was a true miracle. However, nobody gives information on Mary Magdalene’s apparition in our days, although such event did take place and is recorded in Vladimir Lermontov’s book Delphania.
Summary of the book: Bad occurrences were faced by Maria and Constantine, when they went on a tour to the New Athos caves. Their son disappeared without a trace, and they failed to find him. Constantine sent Maria back home to Kazakhstan on a train to get prepared for their second child birth, while he himself stayed to continue searching for the son. He was advised to find a sagacious elder and hermit named Nectarios in the Caucasus, who might tell where his son was. He spent six months looking for the hermit and finally found him.
“Well,” Nectarios said, “sit down, my dear, closer to the hearth. Let’s warm ourselves and drink some tea.”
Nectarios took a smoked teapot and hung it on a hook hammered in the rock right over the hearth. The teapot was full, and some water spilled from its mouth into the fire. There was hissing. Such copper teapots may be seen in museums only, Constantine thought and grasped that the elder had been waiting for him, since the teapot was already full and a bundle of wood was prepared. Indeed, Nectarios as if sees everything through and reads one’s thoughts, as Constantine noted.
“There is no miracle in reading thoughts, Costya!” Nectarios smiled, taking a seat closer to the burning fire. “Basically, there is no need to read them. The main thing is to have silence and peace inside. Your mind must be like a blank sheet, in such case you will hear and see everything.”
The hermit grew quiet, looking at the fire, and Constantine did not dare to continue talking either. The two bearded men – the centenarian hermit and the middle-age pilgrim – were sitting in the cave near the fire, warming themselves. For each of them their meeting was very important, perhaps, the most important in life, for both of them met at a turning point of their knotty destiny roads.
When water started boiling, the elder leisurely rose, put some herbs into the teapot, retrieved antique copper mugs from somewhere, and put a piece of honeycomb with honey into each mug. After a while he filled the mugs with the infused tea. The cave got filled with aromas of herbs and honey, and turned home-like warm and cosy. All that time both men kept silence.
“Drink, Costya, drink,” Nectarios said gently. “I know what you expect from me. Therefore, my dear, refresh yourself with tea before you hear the story.”
In the hermit’s words Constantine caught affectionate notes as if intended to comfort, meaning the elder’s news would probably be sad rather than cheerful. A lump came to his throat, and his heart started throbbing with emotion.
“My son… What happened to him?” Constantine asked in a quiet voice. “Don’t keep me in suspense, father! Is he alive?”
“Your son is alive, he is!” the hermit smiled. “He is fine, Costya,” Nectarios waved his hand. “Do you want more tea?”
At that moment Constantine felt such a relief as if a load has been taken off his head. He even felt a little dizzy. He gave a deep sigh and took a sip of the herbal tea.
“The Lord saved him, Costya.”
“Yet, what happened to him, father? We looked for him everywhere around but failed to find him, as if the earth had swallowed him up.”
“True, Costya, quite true,” Nectarios said puzzlingly. “It exactly swallowed him.” The elder pointed at the ground.
Constantine looked at the elder in perplexity, wondering whether he was in his senses, but the elder detected such a silent hint and said:
“No, my dear, my mind and senses are totally fine. Let me explain everything to you.” Nectarios poured himself more tea, put dried fruits on the table, and went on with the story. “Once you came to Georgia, they followed on your heels.”
“How did they follow? Who did that? Why?” Constantine bombarded the elder with questions.
“They wanted to kidnap your son and hold him to ransom,” the hermit responded calmly.
“Ransom?” Constantine’s eyes got wide open.
“Yes, my dear, there is plenty of evil in the modern world. Elders of the Athos said in these times evil spirits and demons would crawl out of the earth and take root in people, and people would become like demons and excel primitive humans in atrocity. Murder, theft and filth will become customary, and people will even compete with each other in spreading evil. They will have neither fear of God, nor sanctity, nor humane norms. Saint Nilus the Myrrh-Gusher of Mount Athos predicted that in our times people would be dominated by censure, envy, rancour, hatred, enmity, covetousness, adultery, and lechery bragging.”
Constantine felt the elder was agitated: his face flushed and his eyes began to blaze. Nectarios rose and walked to the remote dark corner. Soon he appeared carrying a big old book in а leather cover with metal clasps. He took a seat near the fire again, opened the book where the text was written in Old Slavonic letters in ink, and started reading:
When the 20th century draws to a close, people will become unrecognizable. Human mind will be clouded by carnal passions, dishonour and lawlessness will further strengthen. People will turn wild and cruel like beasts. Parents and elders will not be respected, love with vanish. Modesty and chastity will disappear among people, lechery and dissipation will reign. Falsehood and greed for money will reach the summit, and many will live for accumulation of wealth. Christian pastors, bishops and priests will be impious, vain, proud, and not distinguishing between right and left. Churches will be repaired, domes will be covered with gold, but it will not be good for Christians to enter those. Churches and priesthood will be seen everywhere, but all this will be mere appearances with no faith inside. The number of Christians will be growing, but most of them will confine themselves to looks and external rites.
Monks will abandon their caves and move to rich cities where in place of desert dwellings and small monastic cells they will live in majestic buildings resembling royal palaces. Having rejected poverty, they will enjoy accumulating wealth; pride will substitute for humility; and many will be proud of knowledge rather than love. In place of abstention gluttony will increase, and monks will no longer differ from laymen in anything but clothes. They will live among everyone else, but call themselves hermits, i.e. monks.
Theft and murder will prevail in the whole society. People will behave like madmen, and those who don’t behave so will be accused of being mad because they don’t look like everyone else.
Hermit Nectarios closed the book; the sweat stood out on his red face. He wiped his forehead, rose, took the book where it was kept, returned and sat down, looking at the fire in silence. At that, he was as if looking somewhere into the distance. Constantine was digesting what the elder had read, peering at him very attentively. Nectarios was silent for quite a long time. To all appearances, he was filled with thoughts and feelings. Suddenly the elder broke the silence.
“Yes, Costya, they were following you and decided to kidnap your son when you went to see the caves. Do you remember a woman who sold tickets to you?”
Constantine nodded his agreement.
“She was the one to execute the whole thing, while other kidnappers were waiting in bushes nearby. Her task was to entice the boy with something and take him away from the cave.”
“So, what happened, father?”
“That woman was going to take your son aside, but he vanished before her very eyes.” Nectarios smiled exultantly. “She was so frightened!” The elder totally brightened up.
Constantine looked at the hermit with no comprehension again. He was talking about an unintelligible disappearance. “Maybe, the old man is indeed insane?” Constantine thought and desponded, for quite possibly the hermit had lost his mind due to his old age or prolonged solitude.
“Mind mind is clear as never before!” Nectarios uttered reproachfully.
“Forgive me, father,” Constantine was embarrassed and apologized. He was still unaccustomed to the elder’s ability to hear thoughts.
“I don’t know, my dear, how to explain this to you in academic language, so that you would understand.” Nectarios looked in meditation at Constantine and went on. “In the world there are, so to say, tunnels that pierce through our earth, but these tunnels are not literally holes in the earth, but as if hollows in time and space. Through such hollows one can get to any part of the earth and even to another time. Generally speaking, the Lord saved your son and yourself then. If he did not get into that tunnel, all of you would have perished.”
“Where is my son now, father?”
“This is what I cannot tell you, my dear, for I have no idea. Such information is concealed from me. However, I do know he will be fine. The Mother of God will take care of him, don’t worry.”
It hurt Constantine deeply that he had just found his son and as if lost him again. All of a sudden he felt the elder was standing right beside him, having put his hand on his shoulder. Constantine turned around and looked straight into Nectarios’ eyes. Tears in the hermit’s eyes were gleaming in the light of fire. Suddenly Nectarios strongly, even painfully pressed Constantine’s shoulder with his lean palm and uttered in a tremulous voice:
“As for your dove Maria, she perished, Costya.” Constantine began to moan. “She flew away, my dear, to the heavenly abode, like a swan!”
Leaden silence fell in the cave.
“Did she reach Kazakhstan?” Constantine whispered, feeling his body growing cold with terror.
“No, Costya, your lovely swan was taken from the train and imprisoned.”
Cramp pierced Constantine’s body.
“Cry, my dear, cry,” the elder said tenderly. Constantine could stand it no longer and buried his face in the hermit’s hair, giving vent to tears.
“While you are crying, my dear, I will tell you joyful news: you have a daughter – bluebell Anna who will do many good deeds and help Russian people live through difficult days. She will show them a way to revive the motherland Rus.”
Constantine was sobbing for a long time, hiding his face in the elder’s hair. Finally, the elder put his hands upon Constantine’s head and said:
“Well, now it’s time for you to have a rest, my dear. You are too tired of roads and news. Sleep, Costya, and have sweet dreams.”
After these words Constantine suddenly felt nectar of heavenly peace and bliss flowing into his body through the elder’s hands. The cave started whirling in a fantastic vortex. He immediately plunged into deep child’s sleep and indeed saw sweet, light dreams.
Nectarios picked the pilgrim up and took him to the couch. He caringly covered the man with a fell, having tucked it up to eliminate draught. He made a sign of the cross over Constantine three times and kissed his forehead.
“Sleep tight, my dear Costya. Everything will pass. Everything will indeed pass. Your life is only starting, while mine is in the twilight.”
Then he went outside and stood under the stars, reading prayers and counting his beads. The hermit had not been sleeping for many years, preparing himself for the ultimate road, and on that day the road was so close that it could be touched.
“There is a main key to any magic on the earth, Costya. It is love, my dear. It is love, sweetheart!”
… I did not tell anything to Ilya about my fruitless efforts, but simply watched the boy attentively. There was some strangeness in him, which favoured the life he wanted to choose for himself. First of all, he immediately became friends with Assole, and she immediately recognized him although such attitude to unfamiliar people was not typical for her. Secondly, Ilya nicely got on and was friends with every animal he met, and animals themselves reached for and obeyed him. Someone was usually looking out of his pocket. Thus, once he found a squirrel, and it was obediently sitting in his pocket and showing out its little muzzle from time to time until Ilya let it go to the forest. In his bag there was sometimes a hedgehog; he took him into the house for a night, and the little animal was stamping on the floor until the morning, not letting anyone sleep. Then the boy god a grass snake, fed it with milk and said they could talk. In the evenings he went to the glade where a chapel and a bell tower had been previously located and brought there food remains to feed a hare that regularly came from the forest and ate from the boy’s hands. Birds also pecked bread crumps from Ilya’s palm. To be honest, I looked at such communication in astonishment and wondered where he could have learnt it, and once I asked him:
“Ilya, where did you learn to communicate with animals?”
He blushed and asked sincerely:
“You won’t tell anyone, will you?”
“Even if I wanted I would have had nobody to tell, for you know that I see people very seldom and only on a business.”
“Anyway, please promise you won’t tell anyone,” he insisted.
“I promise!” I uttered solemnly.
“OK, I believe you,” Ilya calmed down, thought for a moment, and shared his secret. “Uncle Vova, you see, I remember myself only from the point when I found myself in the forest. I was standing amidst big trees, crying and calling my mummy. She would not come, and nobody was around. So I simply started walking where my feet would take me. Soon the night came, and I turned scared and lonely. Suddenly I heard as if thunder, lightning flashed, and I thought thunderstorm started and it would be raining. I wanted to hide under a big tree, but then I saw a bright sphere on its branches, in which a young girl was hovering. She was very beautiful and wore snow-white garments. I immediately understood or rather felt she was very kind and affectionate.
“Don’t be afraid, Ilya, I won’t do you any harm,” she said.
“Where are you from?” I asked.
“From the heaven,” she responded.
You know, uncle Vova, I was not surprised and even not timid. On the contrary, I was very frightened in that forest, but with the girl I totally lost fear. Then she said to me:
“I will teach you not to be afraid of the forest and to talk to animals. They will understand and obey you.”
I asked: “Lady, are you the queen of animals?”
She burst out laughing and uttered: “Not just of animals, but of people as well.”
“In such case, why nobody told me about you, and why haven’t I seen you ever before?”
“I live there, in the heaven, Ilya,” she pointed up with her finger. “Many people know about me, while others don’t believe I exist.”
“In such case, why don’t you show yourself to people like to me now? They would come to believe you are the queen from the heaven.”
“I show myself, dear, but not very often because people must believe without seeing me. Everyone must make a little step in order to open his or her heart, and then it becomes possible to meet with me.”
“I haven’t opened anything,” I confessed honestly.
“Sometimes, my dear, I reveal myself to people, especially to those who are in trouble. I love every human being, Ilya. Even if a person is unkind and evil, I worry about him or her, and I lend a helping hand to everyone. However, I show myself very seldom, for I want people themselves to understand who helps them and to live in kindness, joy and concord.”
“Thank you, the heavenly queen,” I said to her. The queen of heaven, uncle Vova, gave me a paper bag with rusks which I immediately ate, and then I was totally unafraid to be in the forest even alone, and animals became my friends. Then the queen disappeared, probably she flew back to the heaven. Soon hunters found me and took me to Bakanka village.” Ilya plunged into pleasant memories and uttered:
“The rusks were so tasty. I never ate anything like that in my life,” he got silent for a while and then finished his story. “Probably, there is nothing tastier in the world than the rusks of the heavenly queen!”
I believe the aforesaid event should be recorded by Vatican according to the church custom. At that, books by Vladimir Lermontov – The Feast Forever, The Bible of Love, The ABC of Love, Delphania, The Power of the Singing Heart, and Avatar – are spiritual manuals. I wish these works would be included in the school program along with the books by A. Novykh. Quite interestingly, Vladimir Lermontov’s personality is very similar to that of Mikhail Lermontov, the writer and poet who was studied in Soviet schools. Both authors have the same writing style and enjoy describing the Caucasus as well as living there. It turns out the subpersonality from the past has determined the destiny of the personality living nowadays.
In V. Lermontov’s books there is plenty of spiritual knowledge or heavenly literacy, and grains of the truth available in them are simple, easily digestible, intelligible, and require no interpretation. As they say, “a chicken pecks seed by seed”. These books are like a road guide: “go here, do not go there, for you’ll have troubles at your head”.
Prepared by Alexander (Ukraine)