My name is Nabil N. Mikhael; I live in El Soyouf, Alexandria, Egypt. I am a sea captain and my job is guiding ships in and out of the port of Alexandria.
I would like to relate to you this miracle that happened to me when Tamav Irene was still living.
On Sunday, June 6th 1989, I was on duty at 10:30 p.m. at night and I had to guide a ship out of the strait of Alexandria. It was 200 meters long and its height above water level was 9 meters, that is about as high as a three storey building. At that time, It was considered to be a big ship.
On that day, the sea was extremely rough and the waves were very high. When storms like this occur, such a big ship becomes like a feather against the wind.
I boarded the ship and we sailed until we were about 7 kilometres out of the strait of Alexandria. The city of Alexandria appeared as a thin ribbon of lights. I handed over the responsibilty of the ship to its captain. Using a rope ladder located at the side of the ship, I started to step down to reach a large motor boat that usually waits for the guide to take him back to the port. After taking a few steps down the ladder, before reaching the boat, I was taken by surprise as the ship’s captain has suddenly changed the course of the ship. The ship started to swing and the waves were hitting the ladder and moving it outwards. Suddenly, the motor boat that was supposed to take me back to the port, has become so far and it was impossible to reach it. A strong wave hit the ladder causing my left hand and foot to slip. At that moment, I realized that I will drown for sure so I screamed: “St. George! .... St. Philopater! .....”
For an instant of time, I saw myself as if I was two persons instead of one. In other words, I was swimming in the air and I saw the whole ship and the boat and I watched a scene of myself clinging to the rope ladder, slipping and falling into the sea. I saw also the boat being hit strongly by the waves and finally hitting my right limbs and breaking my ribs.
When I fell in the water, I found myself one person again and I experienced intense pain. In a dark chasm under the ship and the boat, I was drowning in total darkness below the raging waves. My head was constantly being hit by the boat above me. I was extremely unhappy as I was tossed into somersaults all the time as if I was in a blender.
Amid sadness and fear, I found myself calling on all saints in an audible and clear voice despite that I was under the water. At this moment, I raised my heart to the Lord and from the deep inside I prayed. I felt as if fire is coming out of my body. Suddenly, I saw St. Philopater who guided me in prayer. I repeated after him the whole “Our Father” followed by the psalm “I lift up my eyes to the hills from whence comes my help ....” and then “The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want ...” I was breathing under the water as if I was surrounded by air amid the raging waves that were fiercely hitting the boat from below and forming many whirlpools. Again, I repeated the Psalm “Wash me and I will be whiter than snow; let me hear the sound of joy and gladness and though You have crushed me and broken me, I will be happy again.” Again I heard his voice and repeated after him: “The Lord bandages the wounds He makes; He hurts you and His hands heal.” At this moment I cried out loudly: “In my distress, I cried to the Lord and He heard me ..... The weeds of the sea have turned around my head.”
Whenever I tried to reach the surface, I found the boat over my head. I banged on its bottom asking them to stop the engines before they tear me into pieces. To be saved was an impossibility as it is well known that in a case like mine, I am considered lost from the first moment.
Despite all this, I have not ceased praying. I beseeched the Lord: “Receive me O Lord when I come into Thy Kingdom”. I kept on praying “Our Father” again and again in a high and audible voice. I called the saints, each by his name, especially St. Philopater Mercurius. I beseeched the Lord to save me for the sake of my family : “You are the hope of those who have no hope ... You are the helper of those who have no helper ... You give peace and support to those who have weak hearts ... You are the safe port to those who are in the storm.”
Despite the raging sea, the total darkness and the severe pain, I experienced inner peace and was wondrously consoled. I felt that heaven has intervened and the saints were aiding me. All of a sudden, I was overcome by peace and calmness and found myself floating on the surface. I saw the big ship at a distance of 50 meters and I saw the rocking motor boat at the same distance on the other side. Divine providence has surrounded me .... I have not inhaled any water .... I have not drowned ... I felt that I have been carried all the time and I have probably lost consciousness for five minutes. My clothes were very heavily saturated with water and I don’t how the waves carried me. It was definitely divine providence that surpasses any human understanding.
As soon as I surfaced, I heard a voice from the motor boat saying: “What a loss! He is gone!” Later I learned that I have spent twenty minutes under the water. At this instant, I was unable to discern between dream and reality. Am I a living human being or a spirit? I was singing a hymn: “When I am weary ... to whom shall I go but You ... You comfort me Jesus ... I kneel down and pray”
After I finished this hymn, I called to attract their attention and the prompt answer came : “We can see you Captain Nabil! Stay where you are!”
Until this moment, I felt that I was floating on the surface. The sea filled my heart with fear but the sky was bright and full of peace; there was no risk of drowning.
But as soon as human hands started to save me, I started drowning, inhaled water and my rescue was a real hardship: They threw me a rope to tie around my waist but instead it ran around my neck which caused severe choking when they lifted me up. My rescue was a real ordeal and I have never ceased calling on saints.
In the ambulance I thanked God for the pain, for the accident, for whatever he wanted for me. The words of a sermon I once attended passed through my mind:
Pain is sweet; sickness is sweet and recovery is sweet.
At two after midnight, I arrived at the hospital unable to move and suffered from tremendous pain all over my body especially the right limbs and the spinal cord. I heard the physicians whispering: “It is a hopeless case.” I saw despair in the eyes of all those who surrounded me but I have not ceased praying and thanking God for everything. The X-ray results revealed broken right ribs, fractured spine, fractured skull and irregular heart beat. Moreover, I suffered from paralysis in the intestines, shortness of breath and internal bleeding. At once the doctors started operating to remove the blood that surrounded the right lung. There was so much blood that it obscured the whole lung in the X-ray. The physicians informed my brother that my case was hopeless and my fate is only in God’s hand.
Next day, I was moved to the intensive care. They passed a Ryles tube through my nose past my throat down into my stomach to feed me and put an oxygen mask that covered my nose and mouth and attached various wires connecting parts of my body to medical monitors. Amid all this, I found the great martyr St. Philopater Mercurius standing before me. His face was radiating with light and he said: “My God has not saved you from drowning to lie down here. Do not be afraid, you will be alright and you will recover quickly.” This filled me with joy and peace despite all the pain.
God’s Hand intervened clearly. On the second day, in the intensive care, I felt something inside me encouraging me to sit by myself which I actually did to the surprise of the physicians. That same day, an X-ray revealed a clear right lung except a small part at the bottom though the doctors said that they have removed only half a litre of blood. Moreover, my intestines started to function properly.
I spent six days at the intensive care. During those days, the merciful hand of the Lord was so clear for He is the real healer of our bodies and souls. Later I was moved to a room in the hospital where I spent twenty five days. I recovered completely through divine help and the intercession of saints. I have not undergone any operations. Only a small part of the lung was damaged and I suffered from an atrophy of some muscles at my right shoulder.
I thank God that he left me those signs to remind me of God’s love and mercy through the blessings and intercession of His saints especially the great martyr St. Philopater Mercurius.