Testimony of servant of God Igor G, Stavropol, Russia
"And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." (Luk.11:9-10)
Let my testimony be to the glory of God, for it's not to me, a sinful one, but to the ways of the Lord and to His people.
My path of search for God and for His way of salvation was long and thorny. There was turning to the occult knowledge during the time of blossom of the demonic literature in the early 90-s. But my soul didn't find anything there that would draw it. There was a period of church life in the temples of the Moscow Patriarchate. There was close fellowship with priests who, as it seemed, wanted to enlighten me but who, as it turned out, were solving their problems at the expense of their congregations. The study of the works of the Orthodox Church holy fathers that I managed to purchase in the temples of the Moscow Patriarchate, didn't lead me to the understanding of the true way of salvation. They should have been studied actively and not theoretically. But the majority of the holy fathers were monks and I led a family life. Besides this, as it was found out, in the majority of books issued by the Moscow Patriarchate there had been expressly deleted the passages that taught on the greatest and most glorious way of reasonable prayer only by which one can be saved, as the Optina hermitage elders put it.
As a result, God allowed my soul to sink into worldly things. I thought, "Since there is no light at the end of the tunnel in this world, and since there is no spiritual lampstand to which one could turn for advice or edification, then so be it. It's not without a reason that Ignatius Brianchaninov the Sanctifier wrote a hundred years ago about the extreme impoverishment among spiritual mentors. What can be said of our day and age?" Little by little, all of my life came to be all about career and making money for my family's provision. But my soul yearning, knowing that it was dying from such life.
In order to somehow quench my spiritual thirst, I started looking for audio files on spiritual topics on the Internet. I found mainly sermons by protestant priests the first few minutes of which were enough to see that the Spirit is absent behind outwardly correct admonishing. It was during one of the following searches that I typed in the word "sermon" on www.yandex.ru and found Father Oleg Molenko's site called "The Preaching of Worldwide Repentance". When seeing scores of audio files, I rejoiced that I had finally found sermons of an Orthodox priest.
Late on that day I came home from work. I felt very tired, I had a headache. After dinner, when I was getting ready to go to sleep, it was already midnight. Let me listen to at least a part of a sermon, I thought to myself. I turned on the 2-hour sermon entitled "The True Worship of God in Spirit and in Truth", got myself comfortable on the couch and started listening. After five minutes both my sleep and my headache were gone. Still after several minutes of listening, I was already sitting up because I could no longer lie down. All of my soul was captured by exaltation; I was hanging to every word, understanding that I had just found what I had been looking for so long. This may sound like an enticement but every time, listening to a recent Father Oleg's sermon or reading his answers to questions, I catch myself thinking that a man cannot say such things by himself. Everything is in such harmony with the Bible and with the things I read in the holy fathers! At the same time, it's clear that that is not the knowledge of a Pharisee or a scribe, but of a man who speaks either out of his own spiritual experience or by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Thus, there is only one source to it - the Lord. There are no other explanations that I can find.
Since then, I realized the most important thing for myself - there is a man who with his life has really received the grace of the Holy Spirit in our day and age and from whom one can learn the same. This gave me hope; my life had its meaning again. I began studying the site's materials and trying to do the things father Oleg is calling us to. I was surprised when I began to find out that the path of repentance and reasonable service, with all its undeniable difficulty, is not all so impossible. I started to find out that the Lord Jesus Christ is the living God indeed, that fellowship with Him through prayer and repentance is living, too. He always gives by the full measure to those who seek Him.
The only thing bothering me was that I hadn't received the water baptism yet. I prayed about this to the Lord Jesus Christ, prayed to our Queen, the most Holy Mother of God that She would help me to naturalize to the Vine - the True Church of Christ on this earth. And, praise God for His undeserved mercy towards me, my prayer was answered.
The following events are the true miracle of God to me and confirm once again that the Dean of the Church of John the Divine, Father Oleg Molenko truly stands in Righteousness and Truth. Even reasoning in my carnal mind, I understand that, if the Lord is doing everything for our salvation then, by miraculously providing for my baptism by Father Oleg accompanied by a sign, the Lord showed to me where His True Church is because it's exactly what I had prayed about.
The unordinarity of what happened was that events were taking place as if by themselves. Even having a strong desire and will, it would be hardly possible to arrange things better. If I began describing those amazing events incredible "coincidences" in detail, it would take several pages. I will only say that I learned about Father Oleg's pilgrimage two days before he left and I wrote him that I desired to be baptized, if it was possible. He was disposed to me, an unworthy one, and promised to help. And so, as an answer to his prayers, after two weeks, I came to Germany to receive water baptism. I came there all the way from the depth of Russia with minimal strength and money expenses! Isn't that a miracle? May the Lord keep you, Father Oleg! There is no end to my gratefulness.
The Lord also taught me faith in the truthfulness of Father Oleg's words through those events. Before I went to turn in my visa paperwork, I called Father Oleg and asked for his blessing upon the trip. He blessed me and totally calmly and assuredly said, "Don't worry, everything will be all right". Forgive me, Father Oleg, I'm sinful and reasonless, because at that moment, I took your words for being just "a formal phrase" according to my worldly perception, more exactly, I didn't give it proper attention. I was coming to the spiritual understanding of those words literally every day, as I was taking care of all of the things that I needed to do: when I settled with no problem in a foreign city and when in two days' time I got my visa from the embassy, and when the matter of my coming to Germany was settled the best way possible. Praise be to God for all things!
I arrived in Germany on a Sunday. Father Oleg met me and blessed me. Without any delay, we went to the baptism. We came to the bank of the Elbe's afflux. Father Oleg started the service. It went so distinctly and reverently that my soul forgot about the three tiresome days of the trip, it was wholly directed to wards God, towards the Church of Christ. The baptism was by threefold full immersion. The Lord showed His love for Father Oleg even then by giving a sign during the service: - across the sky, there was seen a distinct cross made of an aircraft trace and a cloud crossed at right angles, in a shape of an elongate rectangle. The cross remained intact while all other clouds were being transformed.
The gracefulness after the baptism was so clear that it was amazing to feel in a new way. There was no burden of my previous sins. There was this strange feeling as if everything that had previously taken place did happen to someone else. I even addressed Father Oleg for an explanation of my confusion, to which he replied that everything was correct because a new man is born at the baptism.
Certainly, those five days I had the blessing to spend with Father Oleg, have left an imprint in my heart for the rest of my life. The graceful work of the Holy Spirit in his presence was causing my unexpected tears of joy that were simply running from my eyes, it felt so peaceful and clear. Sermons were opening new depths of God's mysteries. If I was doing something wrong in some areas of my life, Father Oleg would bear me for a while and then, when we were alone, he'd point out a weakness to me and would give me a spiritual admonishment with which his words would touch my very heart and would change it for good. At the same time, Father Oleg is plain-hearted, there is no guile in him, he is frank and honest, and his sense of humor causes me even now a good smile when I recall it.
Father Oleg, may the Lord keep you!
May the Lord save you for all that you do for His glory!
May the days of your days be multiplied!
Praise be to God the Almighty that He doesn't forsake us, the sinful, and reveals to us His true sons in order not to leave this world without Light in our evil day!
Igor G., servant of God