A New Miracle of St. Gabriel (Urgebadze)
In April 2019, my eighteen-year-old daughter Larisa was hit by a car. I was in church when they called me and told me what happened. Usually when I’m in church, I either turn off my phone or put it on silent. Probably it was my motherly intuition that prompted me that something was wrong. I picked up the phone and screamed in horror: “Lord, why?!”
And I ran out of the church…
When I got to the hospital, the doctors were already doing surgery and were struggling to save my daughter. In addition to some serious fractures, Larisa had a traumatic brain injury and a closed chest injury. The doctors did all they could; they performed the surgery successfully, but my daughter fell into a coma from the head trauma and other complications. This whole time, I was praying deeply to St. Gabriel for the salvation of my daughter. Her condition remained serious; the doctors had nothing encouraging to say.
A New Miracle
On the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, I went to church and communed. After Communion, a monk came up to me, gave me a large prosphora, and said: “The bishop gave this to you.” Since the monk who gave me the prosphora was bent over and didn’t look me in the face, I didn’t see him. I found his words strange, since there was just a priest serving that day – there was no bishop there. I couldn’t stop wondering who the monk was and which bishop had given me the prosphora.
Several days passed and I got a call from the hospital. Larisa had come out of her coma! I ran with incredible speed to my beloved only daughter. She was awake! When I went in to see her, she started weeping… And I wept. I did everything I could to comfort her, including telling her that I had been fervently praying to a certain modern Georgian saint named Elder Gabriel.
“Show me him!” my daughter demanded.
“How can I show him? He’s a saint; he’s in the Heavenly Kingdom,” I said perplexedly.
“Show me a photo, Mama!”
I got online, found a photo of Batiushka Gabriel, and showed Larisa. Her reaction really surprised and scared me.
Larisa began crying a lot. She was never a churchgoer and she didn’t understand why I went to church. And then, such a reaction to a photo of Elder Gabriel! When she had calmed down a little bit, I heard something incredible:
“Mom, you know, I was sleeping and I saw this same priest, but I couldn’t wake up or come to. He came to me and said that love is above everything in the world. And today he came to my bed and shouted: ‘Enough sleeping! Let’s go hang out!’”
I froze in place, and tears began pouring from my eyes again. Do you know what date it was? August 26—the birthday of Elder Gabriel! On his birthday, our beloved Elder Gabriel gave my daughter a new lease on life!
It’s been four years since then. My daughter has become active at church and joined the choir. We ordered an icon of Elder Gabriel from Georgia, which we have in a prominent place. And every year, on this day, our whole family celebrates the birthday of Elder Gabriel. We sing his troparion and kontakion, read an akathist to him, watch the films about him, and we have a meal and remember him as a great saint sent to us by God in our difficult days.
And you know what else is the most amazing?… It turns out that Elder Gabriel had said to my daughter when she was in a coma: “Tell your mother that she shouldn’t reproach the Lord, but only thank Him.”
I realized my mistake, which I regret very much. When I was in church, when they told me what had happened, I screamed: “Lord, why?!” And I ran out of the church so quickly that I didn’t even ask God for anything, and I hadn’t repented for protesting so boldly.
And Elder Gabriel’s words:
“Tell your mother that she shouldn’t reproach the Lord, but only thank Him ,”
sobered me up and taught me one thing: Whatever happens, you have to thank God. You have to entreat, not reproach.
Forgive me, O God! I thank You for sending us such a great saint as Archimandrite Gabriel (Urgebadze)!
Glory to God!
(L. Panich, Jesse Dominick)