«I was born in 1906. I lived through a lot in my life. Poverty, hunger, misery, revolutions, wars...». It's noteworthy that Sevastopol belongs to those cities which have especially suffered. Shortly after the October Revolution, civil war erupted between «Whites» and «Reds», which took nearly four years. Millions were the dead and many more the other victims and the injured.
In the Second World War, Sevastopol once again sawthe horrors of war. The location is of strategic importance and the two rivals fought rabidly and had countless deaths. Sevastopol was kept for 249 days and all the while mercilessly bombed. When the fighting stopped, only seven buildings were left standing, the rest of the city had been steamrollered.
The Gerontissa continued: «Since early on we have experienced the horrors of civil war. I was a little girl and then our town lived through many misfortunes. There was a lot of blood spilled then. In the decade of the 1930s I got married and had two girls. Soon the Second World War erupted and my husband left for the front. The Germans arrested him as a prisoner and he was kept for some time in German camps.
After the war the prisoners returned, but not to their homes; they were sent to Siberia. It was an absurd policy of Stalin. Those miserable Russian prisoners who survived the suffering of the German camps, were considered by Stalin to be poisoned by the «miasma of capitalism» and therefore should be subjected to the «detoxification» anti-Capitalist treatment.
So in this way all the soldiers were driven to the gulag camps! I never saw my husband again. With great difficulty I raised my two children. My only consolation and hope was in faith in God. Since I was small I was in the church, and this supported me. Let His name be glorified».
Acquaintance with Saint Luke
He helped us a lot, as long as the whole world. He often stayed hungry so that others could eat. But while St. Luke seemed austere, he actually wasn't. When you approaching him you saw a sweet man, full of love.
This took approximately three and a half hours. All this time we were chanting «Holy God...» and the doves followed us. When we arrived at the cemetery, the doves sat on the roof of the church. After we finished and started to leave, the doves flew away chirping, and no one ever saw them again. There were thousands of doves and this made a great impression. This was even striking to the «atheists».
«I was tonsured in 1997. For a long time I wanted to become a nun, but was not provided with the opportunity. Eventually, my desire was made known to the Metropolitan, Lazarus, who gave me the blessing to be tonsured. I didn't go to a monastery, because there is none nearby. Furthermore I am very advanced in age, and so I decided to stay here. I split the room in the middle with my daughter (and showing me her bed and icons, she continued) from here is the monastery, and (showing the bed of her daughter across) there is the world.
I pray to our Master for priests, for our monks and for the whole world. I also pray for you that God keeps you well.
Among the other incidents mentioned, the following two stories show what a great heart Gerontissa has. «A few years ago went with my daughter to church. On the road we found a small, destitute [ρακένδυτο?] child. We asked him where he was from and where he was staying. The child was abandoned, and he had neither parents nor home. I told him: «Do you want to come to stay with us?»
He accepted, and so we took the boy home and kept him for three to four years. Later, some relatives of his from Vynitsa were found from very far from here, and they took the child with them.
The money is not enough to live, but the Gerontissa is totally devoted [απόλυτα παραδομένη?] to the will of God.
We sat close to her for over an hour. Her smile was constant on her lips and her words were an outpouring of joy. We did not hear any complaints, only glorification of God. Her countenance was filled with love and kindness.
Her eyes could see little, but the eyes of her soul were wide open. In her hands continuously spun the komposchoini and every so often she would whisper the Jesus Prayer [«Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me the sinner»].