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Preface to Eternal Mysteries Beyond the Grave


In our time, full of unbelief and doubt, when a man's "holy of holies," his soul, is intruded in order to be totally disrupted and made to lose faith in an unlimited rational Being—faith in that which makes the sorrowful earthly life tolerable—it should be most useful and salubrious for or us to share with others well attested facts from our own life or that of our relatives and acquaintances; facts which have to do with miracles, wonderful cures, and extraordinary appearances of souls from another world. Unfortunately, however, unusual events which do not issue from this world, instead of being widely proclaimed, remain nonetheless hidden by tens, hundreds, and thousands of people, partly because of a false sense of shame felt toward unbelievers, partly again because of a jealous protectiveness, a desire to keep the miraculous occurrences from the outsiders. Still, truthful accounts about miraculous cures and other unusual occurrences might, if not entirely, at least partly widen a Christian's moral and religious horizon and strengthen him in his faith in God's ever-watchful Providence. With deep attention and the liveliest interest 1 read five or six years ago several weighty volumes written by the Hieromonk Mitrophanes, dealing with the life of our departed beyond death; but I must admit to having found in this work little of the material which I expected there. Indeed, there was a great deal of detailed scholarly work and many proofs of the existence of God. These began almost with the day of creation and continued to our day. In an orderly way, step by step, there was discussed the religious and cultural development of mankind, along with the proof that there have almost never existed, people, no matter what their stage of development, who did not have any concept of the Highest, Omnipotent Being, God, and of life continued beyond death. There were not a few theological and philosophical discourses, but very few attested historical facts dealing with the appearance of souls from the other world. A few scattered cases of such appearances in France, Italy, and some other places... and this is the end of the events recounted. Can this vividly real material be exhausted by five to ten facts?! Of course not! There are thousands of such facts in the Holy Gospel, the Acts of the Apostles, the Prologues, the lives of the Saints, in history, in the press, in traditions and legends, throughout cities and villages first few centuries of Christianity prove, by a series of astounding facts, the existence of God in all its brilliance and greatness; and they prove the immortality of the human soul. The Middle Ages take a step backward: Christianity is mixed with paganism, instead of the true faith people are inspired with superstition, magic is widely practiced, various demonic sciences flourish. In our time there is a fashion for hypnotism, tables that lift into the air, and spiritualism. Mediums, who are specialists in their own way, call at request the souls of the departed, but somehow only when the light is dim and there is absolute quiet. But our theologians teach us that, under the guise of souls of the dead, there are called up not human souls at all, which can appear only by a particular act of God's will; the mediums succeed in attracting only the evil spirits, which assume the appearance of this or that person. There is at present an interest in Buddhism, and the goal of life is seen in the achievement of Nirvana, a senseless sleep in which neither life nor death exists. This is a more opportune time than ever to share instructive tales about the world of the supernatural and also about miracles which until this time have not appeared in a printed account.

In our time people cruelly suffer in their everyday life from a criminal ignorance of the laws and peculiarities of a man's spiritual life. The science of sciences, the education of human beings so that they may become worthy representatives of the human race, cannot be correct and sensible if it is not founded on a broad and true knowledge of man's spiritual life.

But if man will, to the best of his ability, come to know his rational, spiritual, free, immortal soul, he will reverently and joyfully note that this very soul serves as proof not only of his extraordinary nature, immeasurably higher than that of any other creature on earth, but also of the existence of a spiritual moral order, the Head of which is God, that Supreme Being, spiritual, all-wise, all-good, free, personal, and omnipotent, Who has created the whole world, both spiritual and material, and has prepared an existence beyond the grave for the deathless soul of man, preordained to eternal blessedness after physical death.

Archimandrite Panteleimon.

January 16, 1968.