We all wish for a happy 2014, but it seems some folk have been more proactive than most. Pilgrims have flocked to a saint’s tomb in Mtskheta Georgia, because they believe that their wishes will be granted by its inhabitant. The tomb belongs to a Father Gabriel who died in 1995. A rumour developed that the saint appeared in a vision to a local nun, and promised to grant two wishes to anyone who arrived at his tomb before the Orthodox Christmas on 7th January. Priests were quick to denounce the incident, claiming that the pilgrims were engaged in ‘idol worship’ and treating the saint like a ‘genie’. Church leaders released a statement saying;
‘The notion that everyone will have all of their wishes granted cannot be true, as those requests which are pleasing to God and which are in line with the will of the Lord are fulfilled, not just any desire’.
The nun came forward to deny that she ever claimed to have seen a vision, but she said that she had asked Father Gabriel to grant people's wishes so as to strengthen their faith. She claims she received a "sign" that this would happen. Not that this has deterred people; crowds still gathered at the saint’s grave, and extra police units were deployed to control the traffic.