On Pascha Monday, in the evening after midnight, before lying down to sleep I went out into the little garden behind my house. The sky was dark and covered with stars. I seemed to see it for the first time, and a distant psalmody seemed to descend from it. My lips murmured, very softly: Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship the footstool of His feet. A holy man once told me that during these hours the heavens are opened. The air exhaled a fragrance ol the flowers and herbs I had planted. Heaven and earth are filled with the glory of the Lord.
I could well have remained there alone until break of day. I was as if without a body and without any bond to the earth. But fearing that my absence would disturb those with me in the house, I returned and lay down.
Sleep had not really taken possession of me; I do not know whether I was awake or asleep, when suddenly a strange man rose up before me. He was as pale as a dead man. His eyes were as if open, and he looked at me in terror. His face was like a mask, like a mummy's. His glistening, dark yellow skin was stretched tight over his dead man's head with all its cavities. He was as if panting. In one hand he held some kind of bizarre object which I could not make out; the other hand was clutching his breast as if he were suffering.
This creature filled me with terror. I looked at him and he looked at me without speaking, as if he were waiting for me to recognize him, strange as he was. And a voice said to me: "It is so-and-so!" And I recognized him immediately. Then he opened his mouth and sighed. His voice came from far away; it came up as from a deep well.
He was in great agony, and I suffered for him. His hands, his feet, his eyes—everything showed that he was suffering. In my despair I was going to help him, but he gave me a sign with his hand to stop. He began to groan in such a way that I froze. Then he said to me: "I have not come; I have been sent. I shake without stop; I am dizzy. Pray God to have pity on me. I want to die but I cannot. Alas! Everything you told me before is true. Do you remember how, several days before my death, you came to see me and spoke about religion? I here were two other friends with me, unbelievers like myself. You spoke, and they mocked. When you left, they said: 'What a pity! He is intelligent and he believes the stupid things old women believe!'
"Another time, and other times too, I told you: 'Dear Photios, save up money, or else you will die a pauper. Look at my riches, and I want more of them.' You told me then: 'Have you signed a pact with death, that you can live as many years as you want and enjoy a happy old age?'
By Photios Kontoglou, from "The Soul After Death, " Fr. Seraphim Rose, Platina, 1980, pp.227-232.