Do they happen in your life? I myself am a weak poor sinful man who only seeks God and the best for others. This is the testimony of my spiritual brother Father Deacon Athanasius who was ordained this Sunday just gone:
Testimony of Athanasius Hall 2017
The Lord has graciously blessed me to have witnessed first hand many many miracles when I have been with Fr. James and no doubt many more occurred when i was absent.
It is opportune to share these experiences but I do so, not to be proud but to show God exists and His mercy and grace are sufficient for my own weaknesses.
I start with this scripture as it is tattooed on my right forearm with a Cross for this very reason:
"God forbid that I should boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus"
In the name of the Fr. Son and Holy Spirit. Amen
I consider the first miracle to be meeting Fr. James. I was living in a very poorly state and needed help desperately yet no matter what I did ... things only got worse. Despite my sinful and weak ways, God brought Fr. James into my path and lead me to a greater understanding of life, the Bible, Christ and what I needed to do to change and accept The Lord and Saviour as an Orthodox Christian.
By God's mercy Fr. James baptised me in September 2012 and has blessed me to witness the following miracles first hand:
1. Appearance of the Cross
This has occurred on numerous occasions, two of the most amazing were:
During a liturgy (mass) as I attended to chanting prayers with Fr. James leading the Liturgy and as he broke the bread (holy body) and lifted it from the tray a Cross of our Lord appeared on the silver tray under the holy body. This was not only witnesses by me but by Fr James and a deacon called Hany.
The second occurred when we lived in Thanes Creek, Queensland at a rural property. Under the direction of Fr. James we cut down two trees some 30 to 40 feet in length and made a Cross from them.
After the Cross was erected, one clear night we noticed a faint but visible glow around the Cross with a distinct beam from the sky into the top of the Cross. At first I stood in awe and stunned thinking I was having delusions... Fr. James could see it too... thereafter night after night it glowed and was witnessed by 2 other men at the land on numerous occasions and a non Christian neighbour who came to visit one night.
For me this was the most amazing miracle to see at that time and to this day remains one I still can't comprehend.
2. The acts of evil and God's grace
You may not know but Australia has 23 of the world's deadliest snakes in the world.
One day at the land Fr. James and I were working near some shipping containers, when a deadly (potential to die within 30 minutes if they bite you) snake charged at Fr. James. Fr. James was running backwards to keep his eyes on the snake and as I turned to see where it was Fr. James tripped on some wood and fell very hard to the ground smashing the back of his head hard into the ground and almost knocking him out. As we looked up to check the snakes where abouts it vanished into nothing... the grass was very short and there was only open and flat ground between us so it had no where to hide. June Bridals wedding pieces with detachable skirt
By the grace of God despite smashing his head on the ground Fr. James was ok and the snake had vanished before our eyes.
On a second occasion we were serving food and drinks to the homeless on the streets of Brisbane one night. Many of the homeless are drug addicted, many are drunks and many others violent, some mentally ill too.
Normally we have table set up next to our van and volunteers help from the church. I often acted as an extra set of eyes to watch the homeless and be ready to protect the volunteers. Fr. James would wonder amongst them being greeted often with thanks and appreciation but on this occasion be stood by some rock display (water feature) dressed in his priestly robes and hands by his sides.
An aggressive and violent man was speaking loudly and making all sorts of crazy statements. He then directly approached Fr. James and charged towards him, as he did all of a sudden he was thrown backwards with great force and strength on to his back and about 10 feet from Fr. James. Fr. James HAD NOT MOVED A HAND OR FOOT... the man was thrown about 3 or 4 feet in the air and backwards, he quickly got up and looked behind him (away from Fr. James) as if to see who pulled him backwards with such force!
Myself and three others saw this, discussed it in some length afterward and I recounted it to the whole church in the next mass with God as my witness (and the three other volunteers).
One Monday morning Fr. James and I were in the church house going over the bills and accounts. We had a bill to pay for 1,000 Australian Dollars and virtually nothing in the bank account. Fr. James said "don't worry God exists" and shortly thereafter a knock on the door from a young man who was NOT part of our congregation came.
He came in and told Fr. James that God had told him to come that day and donate $1,000 exactly. Both Fr. James and I smiled and the brother departed having donated the money.
There are so many other examples of this happening I have lost count. It seems as if every time we needed money God would send it no matter how big or small the need. For a car, land, tools, repairs, food, bills and even my own wedding when we were desperately short and Fr. James not only gave of his little but also others did too.
The common theme was we prayed, we waited and waited and waited then in the last moments of desperate need God delivered, not that we were special or worthy but by his grace and mercy.
In summary, there are many that are personal to me. These include the beloved gift God gave me in my wife an answer to prayer that she is. My daughter being baptised, my jobs over the past few years and having Fr. James as my confession Fr. Beloved Priest and deeply loved friend.
I am a weak sinner, not worthy of any kind of love and mercy, yet by the power and grace of God I live.
To God be the glory honor and dominion for ever amen.
(Fr Dcn. Athanasius can be contacted to confirm at the above email).