Venerable Gabriel (Urgebadze), who passed away less than 30 years ago, is known to Orthodox Christians from all over the world. Today St Gabriel works real miracles, appearing in dreams and helping those who sincerely pray to him, interceding before God even for those who are hopelessly sick. The earthly life of the venerable was also full of miracles. However, the elder tried in every possible way to hide these miracles behind foolishness, asking to keep them a secret until his death. Here are some of these amazing incidents from the life of the saint, told by his spiritual children.
Buckets Filled with Cement Flying in the Air Like Magic Carpets
Father Gabriel’s sister, Julietta Mikhailovna, once told Mother Paraskeva, the elder’s cell attendant, about the miracle that she had witnessed, so that people would know what an amazing person Father Gabriel was.
Once, I came to see Fr Gabriel at the time when he was building a church. He was alone in the house and opened the gate himself. After a short conversation, he said: “Sister, I don’t have any time to interrupt my work and I’m hungry. Please bring me a bottle of Georgian yoghurt from the store.” I didn’t want to take his money, but he insisted, also giving me the keys saying: “I will continue my work. Lock the gate from the outside and when you return, be sure to call me BEFORE you open the gate.” I went, but I was a little confused. I did not know any places in that neighbourhood to buy yoghurt. I walked a short distance and saw a milkman. I was glad that I managed to fulfill Fr Gabriel’s request so quickly and hurried back as soon as I got the jar from the milkman. Out of haste and joy, I forgot Father Gabriel’s words about calling him before unlocking the gate and entered the courtyard without warning. I was shocked by what I saw. Buckets filled with cement were travelling through the air emptying themselves right into the frames prepared at the top floor. Father Gabriel was standing in the courtyard below, kneading the cement and pouring it into the buckets. As soon as I entered, he noticed me and realized that I had seen everything. At first he was angry at me for entering without warning, and then he calmed me down and asked me to keep it a secret. More than thirty years have passed before I told this story to anyone.
When mother Paraskeva mentioned that story to Fr Gabriel, he was offended and said: “Haven’t I asked her not to tell this story to anyone? I have nothing to do with this. I was working alone, and when it became very difficult, God took pity on me! I don’t want to talk about it! ”
“What do you say, Nodar?”
One of Fr Gabriel’s spiritual children named Nodar once told the following story:
Father Gabriel once spent several days with my family. We consecrated our house and spent all night talking and praying. Then the elder said, “Nodar, my brother, by six o’clock I have to be in the monastery. Can you take me to Mtskheta? ” I agreed, of course. These were the days when absolutely everyone was controlled. We headed to Mtskheta. As we were exiting from Tbilisi, seven armed men blocked our road and demanded to stop the car. Let me remind you that these were the 1990s.
Despite the fact that Elder Gabriel told me not to stop, I was careful and stopped the car. Father Gabriel was sitting very calmly. I got out of the car to show the documents to strangers, but it turned out that they did not want the documents, showing more interest in my car. I resisted, although I understood that a fight with seven heavily armed “knights” was a risky enterprise. At that time, I saw Elder Gabriel get out of the car and walk towards us. Then something extraordinary happened: it was as if a huge glowing pillar descended from the sky, followed by a supernaturally tall, handsome, unearthly man with a staff and a white beard. He struck the ground with his staff, and said in an extraordinary voice: “How dare you stop us?! Shame on you!” It was truly a supernatural phenomenon that shocked everyone. Frightened, the armed people ran in all directions. The one who had all the documents, froze in place and then began to thrust them into my hands asking us to leave as soon as possible.
And then we left. Father Gabriel looked at me and asked: “What do you say, Nodar? I think we did pretty well, didn’t we?”
“You Have Saved Me from Death”
Once a woman came to the elder and said:
– You have saved me from death, now let me thank you.
She told us the following story:
– I live in an old house near the cemetery. Once at night, some bandits broke into it. Out of fear, I began to call Father Gabriel for help. A miracle then happened: the elder appeared instantly, with a club and began to chase after them. The frightened bandits then fled in terror, and the elder disappeared as suddenly as he had appeared.
Visiting the Neighbouring Monastery without Getting out of Bed
This story has also been told by mother Paraskeva.
“Fr Gabriel was seriously ill when he told me:
– I am going to go visit Shavnabada monastery.
I thought that he was joking.
After some time I asked him:
– Father, have you been to Shavnabada?
– Yes, I have. Everything is fine there. They were just having a meal when I arrived.
– Have they noticed you? I asked.
“No, why would they? If they had, they would have been surprised. I didn’t want to show myself to them.
– What was Fr Shio busy with? I asked.
“He was counting people,” the elder replied.
A few days later, the abbot of the Shavnabada monastery Archimandrite Shio came to see Fr Gabriel.
I asked him:
– How many are you in the monastery?
– I don’t know! Some come, some go. I usually count them during meals.
Father Gabriel looked at me meaningfully and smiled. I was shocked.”