The Prophecy of Fr. Roman Braga
A Confessor in the Orthodox Church is someone who undergoes horrible sufferings inflicted in an effort to force him to recant his faith, but who endures in his confession to the end.
Such a man was Fr. Roman Braga, abbot of the Holy Dormition Monastery in Rives Junction, Michigan, until his recent passing.
Fr. Roman sustained unspeakable torments as a prisoner of the communist regime in Romania, kept in a filthy cell while weathering many beatings. Yet he not only emerged triumphant, he also found the spiritual strength to forgive his tormentors and even to thank God for the sufferings he withstood.
While at the monastery, it was Fr. Roman’s beautiful habit to address a group of pilgrims. At one point, the conversation turned to the many ways of going astray from God in American society.
Fr. Roman’s response? He said that Americans were a good and welcoming people but needed to suffer if they were to return to faith. He spoke these words not in condemnation, but in a calm and loving way, yet with firmness of purpose.
He then added: God would someday allow suffering to bring us back. When such a man as Fr. Roman speaks this way, it is not a prediction. It is a prophecy. Is that prophecy now being fulfilled?
Hard to say. Perhaps the best approach is to recall the words of warning of Our Lord to the wealthy farmer who spent his time planning more wealth, ‘bigger barns.’
‘You fool! This very night your soul is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ (Luke 12:20).
Yet one person who heard Fr. Roman reported that, in spite of the grave message, she did not feel scared, because she knew he meant that God allows suffering for the good. God helped Fr. Roman be strong in his faith, and the torturing times wrapped him in gentleness and love.