This event took place on October 14, 1998 on the holiday of Svetitskhoveli in Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia. George, its main character, tells the story:
– I lived with my family in Tbilisi during this difficult time. I was a drug addict.
That day my friend was going to the Svetitskhoveli holiday with his family and invited me to go with him. I was in a state of intoxication, high on heroin. Back then I didn’t care about church feasts: I agreed to go to the city festival of Mtskheta.
We watched the concert and went to a restaurant. When we were already on our way back, Tamar, my friend’s wife, said that there was the tomb of the famous wonderworker Archimandrite Gabriel in Mtskheta, and she would like to go to his grave and pray. We had to agree, but we did not go to the Samtavro Monastery itself, in the yard of which the tomb was. I remember ironically yelling to her:
“Light a candle on my behalf, ask him to save me!”
In the evening, when I was having tea at home, a friend came to me and showed me some “awesome” heroin. I was already intoxicated, but it was “below my dignity” to refuse…
I don’t remember what happened next…
They dragged me out of the kitchen. My parents who were at home called an ambulance. The doctors struggled to help me. The first squad came, then another, then the third and the fourth… There was a whole motorcade of ambulances near the house. My brother rushed in. Everyone was screaming. Each squad injected me with 5 milligrams of Narcan (20 mg in total!). Anybody who knows anything about medicine knows that this dose will resurrect even a dead person, but nothing helped me. Then they injected adrenaline into my heart, applied electroshock, but everything was in vain…
It was 45 minutes after my death.
Four medical crews fought to help me, to no avail…
An hour later, the scene was as follows: I turned black, with my hands tied up with bandages, and lay on the floor under a white sheet. My mother collapsed and my father went blind. The door was open. The neighbors gathered in the stairwell. Women were crying. The doctors were filing a death certificate. Some of them were quietly saying, “He isn’t the first young man to die from this dangerous drug. How long can this go on…”
At that moment Manana, a Christian neighbor from the third floor who was a parishioner of Samtavro Monastery, quietly entered the open door of the room where I was lying. Manana removed the sheet from my face and anointed my forehead with olive oil from the grave of Father Gabriel. She hoped it would somehow help me in the sight of the Almighty in the afterlife…
And I… immediately jumped up with bandaged hands!
The young doctor who was writing my death certificate fell unconscious.
There started an unimaginable commotion. They took me straight to the hospital and examined me for three days.
…I still keep my death certificate.
Twenty years have passed since the death of the great Elder Gabriel, but miracles on his grave and now at his holy relics do not stop.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds