Venerable Gabriel Urgebadze the Confessor and Fool-for-Christ of Georgia (+1995)
The Venerable Confessor Gabriel Urgebadze the Fool for Christ of Georgia is one of the holiest people to have lived in the 20th century. Born and having lived his whole life in Georgia, Saint Gabriel was an extraordinary person even from his childhood. He often carried sticks and ran with them held up in the air, and birds would flock to sit on the child’s sticks. He was first introduced to the faith at the age of 7 as he grew up in an atheistic communist society where orthodoxy was shunned. At the age of 12, he had a vision of an evil spirit which tried to scare him as the evil one was tired of his prayerful state. The young Saint was not phased by the vision, but only strengthened his faith in God. Growing up, he dedicated his whole life to Christ to the point where even his mother, who was a Christian, demanded him to “act like normal boys”. He was often ridiculed for his faith and even suffered torture from the communist party, leaving him half dead. He spent much time at monasteries and eventually became a monk, but the trials did not end there. The communists could not stand his preaching and ordered that he be admitted to a mental asylum. This did not stop his fervour however. Once when conversing with a fellow Georgian who followed Hinduism, he performed a similar miracle as did Saint Spyridon at the first Ecumenical Council – he held bread which at the name of the Holy Trinity, turned into fire, wheat, and water. Towards the end of his life, he lived at a hermit and was often seen conversing with people that were not seen by others. On November 2nd 1995, the Holy Elder gave up his soul to the Lord, having served Him from the age of 12.