[St. Pachomius Library]

CHERNOBYL: Glimpses of the Miraculous

Exterior, St. Michael's Church, Krasno. Photo © 2016 Arkadiusz Podniesiński.

The Saviour looked at the priest every night, leading him to where His image was hidden.

The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. [Prov. 15:3]

There is another extraordinary icon, which I have never mentioned before. It is the Saviour's image from the Church of Michael the Archangel in the village of Krasno, located in the Exclusion Zone.

This wonderful icon has an unusual history. After the accident, all villagers from Krasno were evacuated due to the very high levels of radiation brought on by the radioactive cloud moving towards Belarus. One of Krasno's inhabitants ended up in St. Petersburg, where he became a priest at one of the local churches.

Eleven years ago he found my phone number and called.

"Father Nikolay, I'd like to ask you a favour," he told me. "I have a recurring dream in which I see the eyes of the Lord Saviour from an icon left in the exclusion zone in Krasno. I would like you to find it. It is a large icon of Christ, painted on wooden board."

"How will I find it?" I asked.

"I'll tell you where to go," he responded.

He described the location with great precision. He named the house, and the place in the house where the icon was hidden. Only a local could have given such exact instructions for navigating a village now contaminated and abandoned.

The priest's grandfather had served for many years in the church of Michael the Archangel. The extraordinary old icon of the Saviour had been stolen from the church once, but was later miraculously restored by the Lord. The church itself, a remarkable wooden one built in 1800, was plundered after the Chernobyl disaster, but the grandfather, now deceased, had had an opportunity to hide the antique icon. Its location, however, remained unknown. The Lord Himself gave a sign and taught how to find the sacred icon that was dear to Him: thousands of kilometers away, in St. Petersburg, a priest and a native of the Chernobyl zone would begin to dream of this icon, the Saviour looking at him every night.

I drove to the village and found the abandoned house as it had been described to me over the phone. Everything turned out to be true. I pulled the icon from the attic and brought it to our local church. When the icon was restored, the priest from St. Petersburg came to our church to worship and to witness his dream, which had become reality. The image of Jesus Christ in this icon is truly alive and unforgettable, His gaze forever vivid in one's memory.

Russian text © Valentina Serikova, 2016. English translation by Alesya Volchyk, edited for the St. Pachomius Library.