“Where is our Misha?”
In the autumn, when the foliage turned yellow, it sheltered the monastery, guests came to the monastery: mother, father and son of fourteen years. Parents had to go on a long trip, and they were afraid to leave the boy and grandmother. The thing turned out to be this: my son spent all the time at the computer, refusing to sleep and eat. With difficulty his parents sent him to school, and from there he managed to run away to his only joy – a computer. There was no hope for grandmother: she watched TV shows and lived mostly for the adventures of their heroes.
Hegumen Savvaty listened attentively to his parents, looked at the yearning Misha and allowed him to leave the boy in the monastery for the duration of their business trip. The school was located ten kilometers away, and two schoolchildren were already taken there — children of the priest who lived near the monastery.
The first two days, Misha was in shock. The questions were answered briefly and gloomily and, apparently, bore the dream of escape. Gradually began to revive. And then he became friends with a novice Peter. Petya was the youngest in the monastery, he graduated from school a couple of years ago. And now the role of mentor youth warmed his soul. He generously patronized Misha, and sometimes he was fond of himself and frolicked like a boy on a par with the ward. And the monk, Father Valerian, looked after both for obedience.
After classes in the village school, Misha carried obedience at the stable and fell in love with the monastic horse Berry. It seems that Berry was the first pet, which turned out to be next to Misha. He cared for the horse, to the surprise of the brethren, with tenderness. And so they fell in love with each other, that after a couple of weeks, Misha and Peter in turns famously rode around the monastery astride Yagodka, albeit under the watchful eye of Father Valerian.
Maybe that’s why the stars in the blue winter twilight here were shining unusually bright, the white paths were striking with purity, and the dark dawn of the year was illuminated only by the light of the windows of the fraternal cells. Frosts and winds, snow and snowstorms knocked on the monks’ doors, and then the fire in the furnaces cracked quietly and tenderly, competing with bad weather.
After obedience, Misha and Peter brought the custom on a sled from the mountains to ride. Petya, however, was embarrassed at first: such an adult – and sleds … And who will see the brethren … You will not get the ridicule. But none of the brethren and did not think to laugh at them, and gradually Peter became interested. They run, it means, on sledges and the bell ringing, all in the snow, ruddy, funny, hungry – in the refectory.
And there – although the post Christmas, but everything is delicious. Monastic food is always the same, even if it is lean soup or pies on the water. The brotherhood prepares with prayer – that’s delicious. Ruddy shanezhki potato or tender pie with cabbage, ear monastic and fish straight from the oven on Sundays – the spirit of them is so fragrant! And then cranberry kissel or lingonberry or fragrant tea with herbs, and to it crackers with raisins …
The older brother ate little by little; Schiarchimandrite Zechariah will eat a couple of spoons of cabbage soup and pinch a piece of cake. Even father Valerian, tall, broad-shouldered, ate a little. Well, they have been in the monastery for a long time … And the confessor blessed to have Peter and Misha, he has his fill. They tried.
At Christmas, according to tradition, the brethren made a den. Right next to the temple in the middle of a winter snowdrift is an ice cave illuminated with lanterns, there are wooden nurseries in it, in a manger a real hay, near a rag horse with a donkey and, most importantly, the Most Holy Mother of God with the Infant Christ on the canvas.
Another father tree Valerian from the forest brought – such a fluffy Christmas tree. Misha and Peter brought balls and icicles from the pantry, brilliant rain. Balls – bright, voiced – straight crystal. I would never have believed Misha before that it is possible to decorate a Christmas tree with joy: this is a lesson for kids … And now he decorated and listened to the oven hums and crackles in a warm, cozy refectory. Wonderful, delicious smells came from the kitchen, and there were snow-white trees in the frost outside the ice-covered windows. Snowflakes quietly circled.
In the evening, Father Savvaty Misha and Petya called to his cell. These were the most desirable moments. In the cell of the priest it smells so wonderful – incense of Athonite, icons around, books. And how Father Savvaty will begin to talk about Athos, about mountain paths, about Athos monasteries …
When they left the Igumen cell, a blue night descended on the monastery. In the sky poured huge stars. A light burned in the cave of Rozhdestvensky Den, and the light of its Holy Inhabitants lit the path to the cells.
We stopped for a minute at the snow cave. They stood. And Misha suddenly felt an unusual fullness of life, such that it is impossible to convey in words. He could not. When Peter asked: “Mish, why did you stop talking then?” He said only quietly:
– You know, Petya … But it’s good to live in the world after all!
I was afraid that my friend would not understand, laugh, scare away the mood. But Petya understood and seriously answered:
“Yes, Brother Misha, well …” I see, I hear, I am happy – everything is in me … “This is Bunin, brother …
Christmas was coming. They waited for frosts, and after the meal all the younger brothers drove firewood from the woodshed to the cells and to the refectory on the sleigh and on the sled in order to celebrate Christmas and relax without worrying about the firewood. All in felt boots, jackets, with earflaps. Worked well.
Misha was perplexed: his parents did not pay any attention to him. And they came to the woodshed, went around all the working monks, and hurried back. Returned to the frozen on the spot Misha and Peter and stopped nearby. Mom plaintively asked:
– Fathers monks, you did not see our Mishenka? Misha, our son?
And dad nodded his head confirming. Misha and Petya looked at each other in amazement, and mom mumbled more plaintively:
– Yes, what is it? Fathers dear! Have you seen our son, Misha?
And then finally speechless returned to Misha. He shrugged awkwardly:
– Mom, what are you doing? It’s me … Misha …
Peter carefully looked at his friend: a sweatshirt, felt boots and earflaps up to his eyebrows. But not clothes made him unrecognizable. Instead of a pale, dull-eyed boy who came to the monastery several months ago, a ruddy fat-faced Misha stood with a lively and joyful look.
Here is a Christmas story.
“I have not batted an eye”
Christmas came to the monastery guests. The hotel was overcrowded, and one of the guests, Volodya, was blessed to spend the night in his father’s cell, Valerian, whom he had come to visit. Put Volodia cot.
At bedtime, Father Valerian warned the guest:
– I sometimes snore in my sleep. You push me, if that.
On that and decided. It is night. Father Valerian immediately snored snoringly. Volodya did not have time to fall asleep, but now he could not. He whistled – father Valerian stopped snoring. It worked. – Volodya was delighted. But after about fifteen minutes it all happened again. And again … and again …
In the morning, Volodya, not getting enough sleep, decided jokingly to express his displeasure:
– Someone snored all night so that I could not fall asleep!
– I didn’t close my eyes at all: someone whistled all night!
Firewood for Father Theodore
– We have no order in the monastery! Is it so snow clean?
He grabbed a shovel from the hands of some monk and began to clean up in his own way – qualitatively! Everybody knew Father Theodore, but they also loved: after all, he was not out of malice. One day, the young hieromonk Simeon decided to secretly help the old man.
Father Theodore’s woodpile was almost empty, and I had to go far for wood. Knowing the scythe’s scrupulousness in everything, Father Simeon at night on a sled secretly brought the lightest firewood – one pole to one. Having filled the woodpile to the top, with a sense of joy from the work done, he went to his cell.
In the morning everyone was stunned by the cry of Father Theodore. Looking out of the cells, the brethren witnessed the following picture: the whole woodpile lay on the street, the remaining beautifully picked firewood flew out of the corridor.
– Who are these firewood brought ?! All blocked! And the old man clean up! What a smart guy! This is not birch, but completely aspen! Not firewood, but it is not clear what! There is no order in the monastery! – Father Theodore nailed.
If you thought that Father Simeon was offended, then listen to the continuation of the story: the next morning, the brethren were woken up by a loud cry of the old monk:
– Well, birch – this is what you need! Finally realized! Finally they thought of their empty head! No right to do everything right! Teach this youth order, learn – and all to no avail! We have no order in the monastery!
The brethren shook their heads, and only Abbot Savvaty and Schehiarchimandrite Father Zachariah smiled to themselves. They well remembered the monastic rule: “Whoever reproaches us, he gives us. And who praises, he steals from us. “
And they also knew that Father Theodore, shouted, would close the door in his cell, and there he would immediately calm down, as if he had not accepted the appearance of an angry man. Calm down, quietly stand on his old sick knees and will pray for a long time for his benefactor and the whole monastic fraternity.
“And to whom is this beauty prepared?”
Once, on Christmas, Father Theodore was very sick. Almost 90 years, the whole life in the works! The brethren were upset, but the monks always keep the memory of the mortal, and ordered a coffin and a cross for Father Theodore.
Hieromonk Father Simeon took the Holy Gifts and went to commune a seriously ill patient. Father Theodore was lying on his bed without movement, his eyes rolled up — everything testified to the approach of the mystery of death. Father Simeon congregated and communed the dying man with a drop of the Blood of Christ.
The next day, during the Christmas holiday dinner, the door to the refectory opened with a bang. On the threshold stood the very lively father Theodore! Not a trace of yesterday’s mortal weakness!
And on the way to the refectory, he noticed a new coffin, which was coss in the winter sun. The coffin was a beautiful work: the monastery worker Petya, his golden hands, thought up to decorate it with carvings – for Father Theodore, after all! Father Theodore loved the thread.
– And to whom is this beauty prepared? – entering, he loudly asked the brethren.
How Father Theodore prepared for the meal
Today, too, Dionysius did not run through the monastery with a bell, but Father Theodore was already sitting in order in his place — he was preparing for the meal. It was Christmas week, the brothers rejoiced, and Father Theodore also had a good mood. He crumbled bread crusts in his soup and smiled happily, glancing at the elegant Christmas tree in the corner of the refectory.
Father Valerian, casually looking into the refectory, saw Father Theodore and asked cheerfully: