From the book of Hieromonk Joachim (Sabelnikov) "The Great Watch".
Own cell notes of hieromonk Jerome Solomentsov. The events before the death of the monk Claudius.
Monk Claudius was a native of the Kherson Governorate, Nikolayevsky district, a son of an Orthodox peasant; his secular name was Kodrat Ivanovich Moshkov. When he was 20 years old, he asked his parents for allowing him to become a monk, and after receiving their blessing, he went to Jerusalem in 1864 and lived there at the Russian mission for three years, performing the duties of a church reader in the mission’s church. Tired of the local rumor, he left Jerusalem and went to Athos, where he decided to join the Russian monastery of St. Panteleimon, and there he performed various obediences: he was an archondar (the monk helping to accommodate guests of the monastery), sang in the choir, wrote commemorative lists. Later, he was sent to Constantinople, where he stayed at the metochion. Tested with monastic obediences carried out by him well and flawlessly, he was tonsured to the lesser schema and named Claudius during the Great Lent of 1871 before his departure to Constantinople. At the end of 1873, he was transferred from Constantinople to a monastery, where he began as usual, with the blessing of the elders, to go to the choir, where he was an assistant to the senior choir singer, and during his free time from worship services, he continued to record names in commemoration lists. Thus, he lived quietly and calmly, continuing to perform the monastic obediences assigned to him until the beginning of 1876, and at the beginning of that year, he fell into great temptation from the lack of advice and concealing his thoughts, and this happened in the way described below.
On the 25th of January, 1876, an all-night vigil was performed at the monastery; it is performed on this day in honor of St. Gregory the Theologian, and the service of the Most Holy Mother of God is added in honor of Her miraculous icon commemorated on the same day, “Assuage my sorrows”. During this vigil, when the stichera to the Mother of God were sung at the vespers, the singers, as usual, stood in the middle of the church, and behind the singers, there were worshipers, and one of them was possessed by a demon. He suddenly cried out so strongly that many people in the church were frightened, and Father Claudius, as he himself said afterwards, almost fell from fright. This fright puzzled him so much that he could not find peace of mind in his cell for some time. At this time, he asked himself the following question: “If I was so scared by the cry of the demon-possessed man, what would happen to me in the hour of death, when the innumerable, most disgraceful, embittered spirits appear and start yelling and screaming?”
Such thoughts forced him to trace his life, he began doing it and crying bitterly about his sins. This went on for two weeks. He constantly cried, then he began to calm down bit by bit, and at the same time he began to notice that some thought clearly and distinctly started to tell him what to do: how to pray and what to read.
One day he came to the confessor and asked him about this thought, what this thought was, if it was from God or not and whether he could listen to it or he should not. The confessor told him that this happens both from God and from the enemy, and that it is necessary to strictly watch and open everything to the confessor, because if the delusion tries to attract anyone, it always shows the good side only at first and does it so subtly and inextricably that an inexperienced man cannot solve and understand this.
After this, the thought inspired him that he was worthy of the priesthood and would soon be ordained as a hieromonk. After two weeks, obedience was assigned to him in Constantinople, but he believed this thought and tried his best to stay in the monastery. He was told about obedience on Saturday, March 13, and on the night of the 14th a steamer was to come, and he excused himself that he was informed late and that he did not have time to get ready for the trip, and the elders blessed him to stay until another steamer, not knowing his intention.
The next day, from March 14 to March 15, already late, before midnight, Father Claudius suddenly ran into the cell of Father Superior, and told that he was so scared by the monsters in the cell that he felt strong chest tightness, and came running to inform about this, and besides, asked to tonsure him into the Great Schema. Father Superior calmed him down and put people to watch him, and with the blessing of Father Superior, Father Claudius spent that night in the archondaric (guest rooms) with people and lighting, he could not lie down on the bed, but sat in a rocking chair made for the sick.
The next day, the Father Superior told the confessor about this case, the confessor called for the father Claudius and said to him: “You complained about fear, but you didn’t disclose the reason. What scared you? You should tell about everything in detail, otherwise you will perish.” Then he revealed in detail everything that had happened to him and explained that “when I began to trust that thought that commanded me, it gradually began to order doubtful things to me, for example, [first] made me pray God, then ordered me to walk on the cell, and then ordered to jump when singing the troparion ‘God’s forebear David’ [Troparion of the 4th Ode of the Paschal canon: God’s forebear David, dancing, leaped before the Ark, mere shadow ... note of the compiler.]. I, wondering, asked him what it was for. The thought answered me that "it is required for the testimony of your obedience, after that you will receive great gifts from God." I told him that I doubted it, my conscience told me to go and ask the confessor. I was replied that “when God Himself opens to you, in this case you do not need the confessor, and that in order to testify it you, so that you do not doubt that it is from God, signs and wonders will be shown to you. Look at this wall, it is going to disappear now. ” I look - there is no wall. "Look at the ceiling, it will disappear." I look - no ceiling. “Look at the platform, all the boards will move.” I look at the platform - all the boards move. Then the thought says to me: “Now you should not doubt, stand and pray before the icon of the Mother of God”. And when I began to pray, I suddenly saw: a small pink spot appeared near the icon, which soon formed a bouquet of flowers, and the fragrance spread all over the cell, and from the icon, light rays appeared that directly illuminated my face, and the thought told: “Swallow, swallow, these are the gifts of God.” And I swallowed them. Then the thought told: “Venerate the icon”. And when I kissed the icon, a blessing hand emerged from the icon [One of the brethren said that after the appearance of the blessing hand, the thought said to Father Claudius: "Now, the Savior will come and bring communion to you so that you will never need communion." And indeed, someone came up in the image of the Savior and brought him something like a white gruel, and when he made a bow, he saw paws instead of feet, he got frightened, and ran to the Father Superior, and after this communion, he vomited black bile. Father Jerome said to this, that Father Claudius did not tell him anything about it. – Note of Fr. Vladimir.].
“I was struck with great fear and horror, jumped out of the cell and ran to the Father Superior”
The confessor asked him: “Why did you want to see these visions, when you know that they are forbidden and that they destroy your soul? Moreover, it is said to you that you should reveal everything in detail both about good and bad. ” To this he answered: “The extraordinary desire to draw closer to God and to receive an acknowledgment of the hope of salvation. But now I am already aware of my mistake and I have begun to fear that I will perish because I listened to demons and bowed to them. ” The confessor answered: “If you fully acknowledge your mistake, and consider all this to be delusion, and reject everything, and repent of it, then you will receive forgiveness from God.” Then the confessor told him not to believe anything and not to accept such things, but ask about everything, and if something happens, to reveal it, then, he read the prayer of absolution and let him go.
Since that time, Father Claudius completely calmed down, but chest tightness did not stop, but intensified, so he was brought to hospital, where he stayed for a week, often received Holy Communion and died peacefully on March 23, 1876 in the evening.