Then Raphael called them aside and said to them: ‘Praise God and thank Him before all men living for the good He hath done you, so that they may sing hymns of praise to His name. Proclaim to all the world what God hath done and pay Him honor; do not be slow to give Him thanks’ (Tobit 12:6).
Two days prior to Great Lent 1989, I slipped in my room on a piece of paper and, loosing my balance, fell backwards, hitting my ribs on the corner of a metal chair. The orthopedic doctor found that I had broken several ribs. Torturous pain was the result of any careless movement. Giving the “exclamations” after the Litanies during the Divine Services, and even breathing, caused pain. To do full prostrations was out of the question and even prostrations from the waist were impossible. I walked with difficult and unsure movements and constantly risked falling. However, it was imperative that I serve, read the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, and give a sermon. Two doctors told me that such a painful condition would last two weeks. I was given a bandage.
On Wednesday of the first week of Great Lent, five days after my accident, I read to those gathered in church the deeply edifying exhortations of Hieromonk Nikon, one of the last Optina Elders, which was printed in the journal Nadezhda (Hope). Prior to the reading I spoke of the last five years of the elder’s life—spent in great suffering, in prisons, concentration camps, and exile in the far north. There he lived in the polar cold, suffering from tuberculosis, without any medical care. All these sufferings he endured with amazing calmness and patience. Both I myself and those listening in the church were deeply moved by the elder’s life and by his wonderful teachings, which reflect the great holiness of one who can, indeed, be called a Great-Martyr.
Having finished the reading, suddenly I felt an unusual lightness. My pains had disappeared and I felt well again. Then and there I was able to move about quickly and, to the amazement of the parishioners, make prostrations without any difficulty.
With all my soul I thank God and the elder Nikon, by whose intercession I received God’s healing so quickly and miraculously, contrary to the doctor’s diagnosis. Who has ever heard of bones mending instantly!
I believe that the above miracle of healing came about in connection with the resolution of the Sobor of Bishops in 1988 concerning the canonization of the Holy Optina elders and that, therefore, it should be carried out without delay.
+Archbishop Antony of Los Angeles
Source: Orthodox Life Magazine, 1989 Vol 3, Jordanville, New York, USA