There lived on a beautiful island in the Aegean Sea a very pious Orthodox priest. His soul was filled with compassion for the members of his flock and especially for those who had suffered tragedies. Well the time came for him to suffer tragedy in his own life. His daughter, who was an exceptional young woman, had been married to an outstanding young man. The daughter became pregnant and the time had arrived for her to bring a new life into the world.
Unfortunately, during the birthing process, the priest’s daughter died. She was called home to eternity to meet her Creator while leaving her family with a great deal of grief. Her father, the priest, grieved terribly at her passing from this life and yet remained faithful to his God and glorified His holy name. The priest expressed his great love for his daughter by fervently praying for the repose of her soul and by offering donations to the poor in his daughter’s name.
The priest had a brother who had worked as a ship’s captain all his life. He was now retired and was spending the rest of his life on his beloved island. He had acquired a good nest egg for his retirement and was now enjoying the fruits of his labors. But unfortunately for him, he was virtually an atheist in spite of the fact that he had a good heart. The priest had a very hospitable home and many of his Church volunteers would gather together in the evenings in the priest’s home. These people would sit around drinking hot tea and talking about the problems of the world.
One evening during their discussions the captain said abruptly to his brother the priest: “Wait a minute, my dear father; you really don’t believe that life continues after death and that your daughter sees us now; she knows what we are saying and what we are doing!” The priest calmly attempted to help his brother deal with his lack of faith because he knew down deep his soul was suffering from a deathly cold heart. In spite of the priest’s effort to direct him in the path of faithfulness, it appeared that it had no impact on him.
One night the priest saw his daughter in a dream. She appeared to him surrounded in bright light, dressed in white and with great joy said to him: “Dear father I want to thank all of you for whatever you have done for me; you’re love, your prayers, and the offerings you make to charities on behalf of my soul. Please do me a favor and tell my uncle the captain that I want to thank him very much for the fish that he sent me.” This is what the daughter said to her father with an angelic voice and then she simply disappeared.
When the priest woke up in the morning, he was filled with joy and emotion. That same night during the evening gathering in the priest’s house, the priest told everyone about his dream that night. Everyone was moved by the dream except for the unbelieving captain. But when the priest said to the captain that his niece thanked him for the fish that he sent her, the captain suddenly stood up, his eyes filled with tears and his hands began to tremble. Up until that moment the priest could not understand the meaning of the fish and the captain. Upon hearing this message from his niece the captain’s hidden faith expressed itself: He said “My God” as he looked confused at everyone that was gathered in the room.
All present were asking him what was happening to him and why was he so agitated and emotional. When the captain calmed down he sat down in his chair and with tears running down his cheeks he said to them in a humble voice: “Yes, it is true, souls live and they see us. I say this because on the day of the funeral I was getting ready to go to Church for the funeral. I felt great pain in my heart. You know dear priest how much I loved your daughter. She was always like an angel. At that very moment a fisherman friend of mine arrived from a fishing trip. I had previously told him that when he caught a good fish that he should bring it to me and I would pay him. Well, when he approached me at that moment I was heading for the Church. I became angry with him and I cut him off abruptly saying, I don’t want anything because today I am burying my niece. The man was stunned by this. He became silent and froze in place.
I then felt sorry for him and I said to him: I will now pay you for the fish and you can give the fish to some poor person on behalf of the soul of my niece. The fisherman took the money, expressed his condolences and quickly left. I have not shared this encounter with anyone else and I forgot all about it. But can you now imagine that the soul of my niece thanked me for sending her the fish.” As he said this the captain was still wiping the tears from his face. He then smiled at everyone with a sweet smile.” Upon seeing that smile the priest discerned that his brother, the captain, had now become a believer. The night of disbelief had been banished.
Translated from the Greek by:+Fr. Constantine J. Simones, Waterford, CT, USA, April 2, 2016, 860-460-9089, email@example.com In memory of my grandson Costa, 3/16/2016