One time in the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, after doing some restoration work, I met and talked with one naval commander. Here is what he told me:
‘I don’t know if there is a God, but I know for certain that there is a St. Nicholas.’
Then he told me this story:
During the war, our ship was hit in the Black Sea, and it began to sink. We saw that the situation was bad. Nevertheless, atheistic fear wouldn’t allow us to pray. Suddenly, one of our sailors proposed that we pray to St. Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors. Everyone agreed; we all knelt and asked for his help, in whatever way we were able.
Then, our ship just straightened up and started sailing, as if nothing had happened. It took us—with a hole in its side—straight to the shore. It’s amazing to say that I did not even have time to give a command before the entire crew had run to the church to place a candle to St. Nicholas.
That’s what the commander told me.
From Orthodox Christianity, “Pskov Caves Patericon, Tatianin Den’, 1996:9.