There are clearly two ladies, or maybe one lady with a bipolar disorder.
We have the tough lady of the ACOE elder and the Assyrians
We have the compassionate lady of the Russians, the lady of the Azure-Blue Ladder
THE AZURE-BLUE LADDER
When the holy Apostle Peter's earthly life had terminated, and he was
called up to Heaven, the Lord gave him the heavenly keys to the gates of
With earnest, priestly devotion, the holy Apostle went about his exalted
business, unlocking the gates of Paradise to the souls of those who had
earned heavenly blessedness in their earthly life, by the decision of the
Most-High and Righteous Judge. And so he continued for many years, in a
steady and habitual manner. But, one day, the Apostle Peter came before
the Lord God in a very troubled state, kissed the sleeve of His luminous
robe, and said:
"O Lord, may Thy wrath not come upon me! I must bring my troubles before
Thee. Lo! for many days now I have been seeing people whom I have not
allowed in through the gates of Paradise, in this, Thy most illustrious
garden. I cannot explain how they come to be here. Their faces do not in
any way resemble the faces of the righteous. I fear that this may be a
trick of the evil one. He and his servants are capable of every kind of
craftiness and deceit. Knowing that the keys are always in my possession
and that there is no other entrance, I am greatly perplexed, even
The Lord responded: "It is thy duty and responsibility. Watch closely
those who enter paradise, and there shall be no unwanted guests."
A few more days passed, and the apostle appeared again before the Lord of
"O great and merciful God, every day more and more strangers steal up to
paradise, I know not how, over the heavenly fence. I address Thy wisdom
and power. I myself have no power, and my wisdom is insignificant. Thou
alone art All-knowing."
Then God said: "Come with Me, Saint Peter. Let us visit together all the
regions of Paradise and let us see for ourselves what is the cause of these
occurrences, that have provoked such justified and praiseworthy unrest in
thee. Let us go!"
And off they went. The Lord in front, the Apostle following. They walked
for a long time, and even got tired. At last they reached an orchard of
oranges and through the branches glimpsed an azure robe. Quietly they
approached, and what did they see? At the foot of the hill, on a green,
daisy-strewn clearing, stood the Most-Holy Virgin, looking down from the
edge of the deep abyss, whence the earth and all the people on it could be
seen. And in the hands of the Most-Pure One, barely visible, was the most
delicate of ladders, woven from the finest of azure-blue silks.
Passionate cries arose from the abyss. Fiery supplications from sufferers
could be heard. And, lo! suddenly the All-Pure One let down the feathery
ladder. It unrolled; and, one by one, the wretched, tormented, tired,
forgotten people -- men and women -- climbed it, poured into the clearing,
and timidly disappeared into the flowered paths and forests of the gardens
And as each saved one passed, the Most Holy Mother of God raised up Her
divinely beautiful hands and said with tenderness:
"My Lord and My God, Thou seest, hearest and knowest all. By Thy
unfathomable mercy, forgive Me for disturbing the order Thou hast
established in Thine holy Paradise. But I, too, have lived on the earth;
and I, as well, am a mother. Can I refuse a mother who prays for her
son? Am I not the Mother of the entirety of weak and suffering
mankind? Forgive Me My sin."
Then the Lord lay His mighty hand on the Apostle Peter's shoulder and said:
"Let us depart quietly hence. We have no business here."
-- Nikolai Leskov