Bishop Nikolai Velimirovch
- By striking the rod, how did Moses bring forth water from the rock? How did God send down manna from heaven and feed the people of Israel in the wilderness? Thus, ask all those who have a very weak conception of the might of the Omnipotent God. And still they are perplexed why such miracles do not take place again in order that all peoples may believe in God. But the Israelites, with their own eyes, witnessed countless miracles of God and still they did not believe. Meanwhile, God repeats the old great miracles wherever and whenever it is needed. One time, when a famine ensued in the Lavra of Athanasius, all of the brethren dispersed whereever. Dejected, Athanasius began to move about and to seek out another place. A lady on the road asked him: "Where are you going?" "Who are you?" Athanasius asked bewildered because he sees a woman on the Holy Mountain, where access to women is not permitted. "I am she to whom you have dedicated your community. I am the Mother of your Lord." Athanasius said: "I am afraid to trust you, for even demons can manifest themselves into angels of light. With what shall you prove to me the truthfulness of your words?" Then the Holy Birth-giver of God said to him: "Strike your rod upon this rock and you will know who I am that speaks to you. Know that I am always remaining the Abbess - Ikonomisa of your Lavra." Athanasius then struck the rock with his rod. At that moment the rock shook and cracked as thunder and water gushed forth from the shattered rock. Frightened, Athanasius turned so as to prostrate before the Holy All-pure One but She had already vanished. He returned to his Lavra and even to his greater amazement, found all the barns (storehouses) overflowing with wheat. Here, then, is a repetition of the great miracles by which the miracles of old are confirmed and by which the faithful are strengthened in the Faith.
Bishop Nikolai Velimirovch, The Prologue of Ohrid, Volume 2, July 5th