Thursday, February 24, 2005

A "Fiery Sign" in the Chapel of Blessed Xenia of Petersburg During Her Feast

( - Vertograd: St. Petersburg)

During the day of St Xenia of Petersburg memory, a candle in the east wall of the chapel nearest the tomb fell and destroyed many of the requests for prayer written on pieces of paper. There were an unusually high number of requests during that day, due to the feast. Flames engulfed a number of items between the wall and the candlestand. Pasteboard baskets, cellophane wrappers and more became cinders. Eyewitnesses said that the bonfire stood at two meters for five minutes, until someone managed to find a bucket of water.

The destruction of the notes created a feeling of alarm and pain in pilgrims. Many believed that the combustion of what amounted to hundreds of prayer requests was a sign that "Xenia got tired of the endless, vain requests for earthly goods and financial increases."

The fire ended a day pilgrimage to holy places in the life of St Xenia undertaken by a group of St Petersburg believers. They had brought with them for chapel blessing the newly painted icon of the Saint with a coin from the 18th century, calling to mind the wonderful rescue from the fire of the house Yevdokias Belyaeva: after meeting St.Xenis, the blessed one handed her a five-kopeck coin with the "tsar on the horse" saying: "take a five-kopeck coin, it will be extinguished".