A merchant ship was sailing on the high seas to its destination, carrying goods. It was in one of the northern seas that the storm began. The raging sea was threatening to swallow the ship. The crew, consisting of Greek sailors, were fighting desperately against the power of nature, anticipating imminent death. The pilot system and the radar unit were both out of order causing the ship to loose its course. Suddenly the captain’s voice was heard amid the chaos. The captain was giving no more orders. The experienced sailor was suggesting only one thing, to pray to God for salvation.
After that he went to the ship’s chapel, where the icon of St. John the Russian was located. Standing on his knees, the captain offered a prayer to the saint: “Saint John of Russia. It is not my own life that I am now praying to you about, neither is it the ship. It is only about these poor sailors living in a foreign land, in the sweat of their brows earning their bread for their families. Now they are dying. Saint John, save them.”
The captain had been praying to Saint John, hearing nothing but the roar of the waves and the howling of the northern wind, until the terrible night ended.
Words cannot express the sailors’ feelings when their eyes saw their ship peacefully wallowing on the waves in the port of Rotterdam. There is no doubt that the pilot who brought the ship to the port, escaping certain death was Saint John the Russian himself.
No one can object to that belief of Mr. Dimitri Varutsikas, the captain of the ship, whose eyes have seen much in different seas and oceans. Struck by the miracle, the captain left the ship in the port for repairs and travelled to Greece. Together with his wife, he went to the church goods store there. As a token of his gratitude to the saint, the captain acquired a set of gold and silver objects for the Church of St John the Russian: an Altar Cross with a Gospel, a censer, an Artophorion and a Chalice for the Holy Communion. All these valuable items remind us of the miracle of faith, prayer and the salvation of the long-suffering sailors.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds