Elder Nikolai Gurianov: Being the Father of Many

Don’t you worry, don’t be anxious:

Time of happiness will bloom!

Just you wait and just be patient:

The award will find you soon.

To mark the day of Elder Nikolai Gurianov’s blissful repose, we would like to share the memories of those who had the chance to talk with our dear spiritual guide. He is undoubtedly a spiritual guide for our St. Elisabeth Convent. Many years ago, Elder Nikolai blessed our spiritual father, Archpriest Andrew Lemeshonok, to build the Convent. Father Nikolai handed him a 5-rouble bill with the image of a church, and said, “People will give you the rest.” It was our first donation…

The life story of Olga Kormukhina, a famous singer, is amazing and wonderful. She got married thanks to the prayers of our dear Elder Nikolai:

Next time, I asked him about my private life. I said, ‘Father, I would like to remain chaste.’ I was certain that if I wanted to continue singing, it would preclude me from becoming a nun, even though I was very eager to go to a convent, I was ready. I couldn’t imagine a different road for myself. I told him that my only obstacle was that I hadn’t given birth to a child and therefore hadn’t accomplished my mission as a woman. He looked at me and said, “You’re not going to have kids.” I burst into tears! Then he brought an icon of the Holy Royal Martyrs to me, and he was praying for a long time, I just can’t describe it with words. I was in some kind of a flow, an ecstatic state. Naturally, Father Nikolai was the source of this state. I felt that I was between him and Someone else, whom he was asking for something. It took a while, fifteen or twenty minutes. Suddenly, he turned to me and said, with love and pain in his eyes, “The Lord will do what you want.” He added, “She won’t be ill.”

And indeed, while I was pregnant and then gave birth and fed my daughter, we didn’t get ill at all, even though doctors had predicted that the girl would have Down’s Syndrome.”

During one of my visits, the elder saw an icon of the Guardian Angel, which I had received as a gift from a spiritual child of Metropolitan John. That icon stood by His Eminence’s deathbed when he was dying. Of course, it’s a really sacred object for me and my family. So, when Father Nikolai saw that icon, he asked me, “Who did you get that sacred icon from?” I realised that he was aware of its previous owner. So I replied, “A spiritual child of Metropolitan John gave it to me.” He said, “Keep it!” He blessed everyone and let them kiss that icon. That’s what an elder means. You don’t have to speak too many words with him. When I told him, “Father, I’d like to remain chaste,” he simply stroked me on my chin—his usual way of casting away bad thoughts. He said, “You shall get married.”

Now I had to struggle with my unwillingness to get married. I had almost convinced myself into becoming a nun and no longer considered any other alternative, so the prospect of marriage was… well, not wholly undesirable but still hard to swallow. I had already known what a marriage was really like. An abbess once said that it could be more difficult than living in a Convent, if it’s done right. I was fully aware of the fact that I’d have a hard time obeying my husband, given my character.

After Father Nikolai announced God’s will about my future life, I began praying, “O Lord, You know I’m not ready. Please make me ready to accept this decision with my whole heart and my soul.” And I started whining like a stupid girl. I said, “Lord, You know that I will have to continue being a singer. You remember how difficult it has always been for me to find good songs. It’s such a pain. One out of a hundred, and even then it has to be tailored to match my requirements. Please may he be a composer, O Lord! And You know how hard it has been for me to find the right arrangement of my songs because I don’t like anything that arrangers do. May he be a good arranger. Lord, You know how highly I value myself, so he must be a world-class musician, or else I will hardly obey him in work-related issues. And… he must be at least two years older and never married before.” Imagine? That request was granted in its entirety. By the way, girls, it shows you that sometimes it’s okay to pray.

I met my future husband in a monastery. I had seen him before and I had even been in love with him. I approached him and asked, “Hello, are you Alexei Belov?” He replied, “Yes, I’m from Gorky Park band.” And I said, “I’m Olga Kormukhina, a singer.” He said, “Interesting!” We went to the nearest café and had a cup of coffee. We immediately recognised that we had a lot in common, surprisingly. And he said, “My greatest dream is to visit Elder Nikolai Gurianov.”

God’s will was for him to go to Elder Nikolai together with me. When we were about to go to the island, I called Father Nikolai’s cell attendant and said, “Aunt Nina, please ask Father Nikolai if he blesses me to bring Alexei to him.” She responded, “He does.” I asked, “Aunt Nina, please ask him to pray for good weather.” We had planned to go there in September when it rains often but I wanted Alexei to have a wonderful trip. He thought to himself, “How arrogant she is, asking the elder for good weather.” He didn’t know that I was asking for good weather to make him happy. I knew how Father reacted to requests like those. It was evidence of our childlike faith. You see? Ask, and it will be given to you.

After the meeting, Father Nikolai blessed us to go on a walk around the island. We spent five days walking around the island, and Alexei later told me, “I was feeling that it was not accidental that Father Nikolai had told us to go on a walk.” And he kept observing me.

In fact, it was a real obsession, and we both saw it. We didn’t resist, I just said, “If your mother doesn’t bless our marriage, I’ll say no.” He went back to the elder and said, “Father, what should I do? My mother doesn’t want me to get married.” Father Nikolai responded, “I say, I bless you.” And he added, “The Lord will instruct your mother.” Then we brought his mother to the elder, and everything went fine.

Now we live happily and love one another. Of course, it is thanks to Father Nikolai’s prayers, and one also has to work hard to improve relationships, it has to be done on a daily basis. Alexei is very wise, and he has the gift of love.

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