New book on the life and miracles of Fr. Ignatius Raksha. The book is available as an ebook at :http://www.easywriter.gr/ebooks/item/3174

Ivan_Raksha

Note from the Author

I didn’t know about Ivan. I had never thought about delving into the past of Russian Monasticism nor had I ever visited any Russian monasteries in the Holy Land except the imposing Monastery of Saint Mary the Magdalene the Myrrh-bearer, on the slope of the Mount of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane which is one of the most easily recognizable landmarks of Jerusalem. This striking example of Russian architecture was built in the Muscovite style with golden onion domes or cupolas. But Hebron was always a no-go area despite having been to the Holy Land 30 times before. So, how did I learn about Ivan? What prompted me to write a book on his life and try to trace his life? Of all people a Greek like me would be the least expected person to grapple with this onerous task as I don’t know Russian, never have been to Hebron and knew nothing about how to embark on this quest. However, a photo of him on facebook by a complete unknown to me triggered the urge to find out more about him. I contacted the lady who posted the photo and took her an interview. What I discovered was the tailgate to a more thorough quest that would lead me to my sources. A spate of miraculous happenings started unfolding, prompting me to forge ahead and continue undaunted. The most astonishing of them was the tangible presence of the Hegoumen as I made a dent into this project. My first book on the Miracles in the Holy Land, entitled “Mystical Experiences in the Holy Land” by Promachos of Orthodoxy was like a crampon, a foothold that would enable a more serious engagement with my research. All of a sudden, testimonies started pouring in, people, having read my book, started calling me to give me information about the unknown saint of Hebron who fought with demons, conversed with the Holy Trinity and so many other staggering incidents that really spearheaded me to take a bit between my teeth. The icon that Mrs Sophia Kouna has in her iconostasis keeps falling and as she has admitted a light breeze caressed her cheeks upon entering her house with the book and the photo of Father Ignaty hasn’t stopped falling ever since. I tried to contact the only relative alive, his niece, Irina Raksha. An 80-something-year old author who has been trying to trace her lineage. I sent her an email in English but she requested that I wrote in Russian. Google translate did the trick and now the language barrier was lifted. She told me how happy she was that somebody had decided to write about her uncle. The email exchanges are contained at the back of the book as well as her interviews to various literary journals where she recounts her lineage and the fortuitous encounter with her uncle posthumously. I have a feeling the readers of this book will get some valuable insights into the life of this Russian ascetic figure who loved The Most Holy Theotokos so very much and venerated the Holy Trinity there in Palestine, near the Mamre oak. If this is anything to go by, splinters of that Oak have come into my hands quite unexpectedly only recently. Who knows, maybe Father Ignaty wanted me to continue my search and publish a book on his life despite the missing pieces of this jigsaw puzzle which I have been endevoring to complete. I hope you will find his athletic struggles intriguing and inspirational as much as I have. May he bless us all from above. Amen!

Sofia Kioroglou