As you already know, both churches in the Kiev Caves--the Conception of the Most Pure Mother of God and the Nativity of the Mother of God-- have been condemned and it is forbidden to hold services there. For this reason Vigil and Liturgy are held beneath the open sky. The early Liturgy is usually served in the cave chapel dedicated to St. Theodosius of the Kiev Caves. So many people (20-30) gather both within the chapel and in the passageway that the candles go out for lack of oxygen! One wonders how the people breathe. One answer: by means of the Holy Spirit.
A recent letter from Kiev (Sept. 4) reads:
"Events at the Lavra: on the feast of St. Theodosius (Aug. 27 n.s., the forefeast of Dormition) there were three services; the first began at 3:30 AM. All night myrrh flowed from some of the skulls....What a mercy of God!"
Concerning the myrrh-streaming skulls, we read in the Kiev Caves Patericon (chap. 5): "It is not known whose are these skulls, but undoubtedly they are saints because they exude myrrh which heals those who anoint themselves with faith. But the Lord, Who said I am the bright and morning Star (Rev. 22:16) will make known in His time that which is now hidden." (We are quoting by memory)
For the past decades the skulls have been quite dry and have been kept under glass. But even in pre-Revolutionary times there were some curious people who wanted to verify if perhaps the monks of the Caves weren't engaged in some kind of fraud. In certain cases, according to God's Providence, one of the skulls was locked up and the key given to the "examiner" who would come in the morning to find the myrrh flowing. Glory to God, nowadays the taste for such "examinations" has passed.
Now people come with joy to this holy site, at 3:30 in the morning, to greet the bright and morning Star, and everyone gathered for the early Liturgy is anointed with this wondrous myrrh. And together with them, signing ourselves with the sign of the Cross, we tearfully thank the Lord and His Most Pure Mother; now we ourselves see and are witnesses to the Lord's goodwill towards this, His Mother's third "garden" on earth the Kiev-Caves Lavra.
September 18, n.s.
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