Dear Fathers, brothers and sisters! I would like to send up a HUGE prayer of THANKS to God for being so loving and taking such good care of us!
This morning we had Divine Liturgy for the Feast Day of the Dormition of the Mother of God. Towards the end of the service a couple of strange men walked in and stood in the narthex. They were dressed like young punks with the kinky hair and baggy pants, etc. When I first noticed them I was almost happy to see that some of the folks from the local neighborhood showed an interest in coming to our church. However, when one of our parish men came up and greeted them, they said they were there for a family reunion. When he told them there was no such event here today, they turned and left....jumped the property fence and left. The doors got immediately locked.
Everyone left, but, for a handful of folks.
I took my mom to the church hall and went outside to pull the car around to the back kitchen door to unload the groceries I had purchased. The plan was to make some borshch to serve after Liturgy on Sunday. As I drove up I saw this nicely dressed elderly woman wondering about. It seems she arrived too late for the Liturgy, but, wished to speak with the priest. I told her I would let her in the kitchen and she could make her way to the church instead of going around outside. As I unlocked the door and turned to usher her in, I spotted one of the men hunched down behind the wall of the stairwell leading to outside Altar door. My antenna went up and I immediately slammed the door back shut, locked it and threw away the keys. The other one jumped out from behind the priest's car and jumped us. They grabbed the lady's purse and as I tried to help her I got kicked and punched.
The elderly lady was quite upset. The priest ran out of the Altar to help us...and only when I saw his face did I realize I was gushing blood. He immediately phoned 911. In the end they got away. The police came and took a report. The canine unit tracked them for about a mile until they hit the busy intersection and the dog lost their scent.
I ended up in the ER for hours and walked out with a headache and 9 stitches to my chin....not to mention a really stiff jaw.
The two men had iPhones and both were on them. Therefore, I am guessing they had planned to ambush the priest on his way out of the Altar - take his car, his stuff, or maybe even break in as he was exiting the church and grab all the shiny "stuff" they had spotted when they were back in the Narthex.
Either way, I am soooooo glad it was me and this woman who walked in to their ambush. I think that even though I got punched, etc, it may have been worse for the priest had they gotten him....not to mention all our holy items getting stolen.
Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Christ, the Holy Virgin (to Whom we had just prayed) and all the Saints for their intervention. This could have been so much worse! Those two men were set on doing harm, and yet in the end the harm they caused was minimal thanks to God!
I am truly grateful!
Glory be to God for ALL things!
Thank You Lord!