'Miracle' Christian priest visits Bahrain to share near-death experiences
TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
Reported by Mahir Haneef
Have you ever felt that twinge on your spine as you go through a near-death experience? A Christian priest met death face-to-face twice and is now travelling the world to tell about God’s intervention in his life.
Alexander J. Kurien, hailing from a remote rural village in southern India called Pallipad, had moved to the United States in his teens and later joined a Christian monastery in a remote part of Greece at Mount Athos a few years later.
While there, a tree fell on him, causing several discs on his spine to get damaged. After being bedridden for nine months and having lost hope of a natural recovery, the doctors finally decided to do a surgical resection of his four discs, to be replaced by metal parts, in the hope of making him stand upright again.
But this meant he could lose mobility forever. Remembering the night before the surgery when he was 20–21 years old, Kurien said, “My pillow was soaked wet from crying while praying. I hadn’t harmed anyone or spoken ill of anyone until then, so why am I being punished? I kept asking during the prayers. I dreamt of Mother Mary and a saint appearing in my room. The mother caressed me from top to bottom. They took me up from the bed. I bowed to the mother, and they placed me back in bed.
Faith reaffirmed “At 7 a.m., two doctors and the orderlies came to take me for surgery on a stretcher. The doctor was consoling me by holding my toes when he sensed a movement in the toe.
They helped me get up from the bed, and I found that I could stand again after being bedridden for nine months. By 3 p.m. that day, I could check out of the hospital and go back to the monastery.
It was after this incident that my faith got reaffirmed and strengthened.” Many years passed by, and Kurien had by then joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the US as a senior advisor after getting an MBA from the University of Tampa.
He had also passed the course in India to become a priest. As part of his government job to go to different countries and set up embassies there, Kurien went to Iraq. While travelling in a red zone in Iraq as part of a convoy for security reasons, the rebels attacked the entourage, which consisted of two army vehicles, a dummy car with a driver, and the car carrying Kurien, two bodyguards, a translator, and a driver.
A missile hit below the car in which Kurien was in, throwing the car ten feet up in the air. When it landed, the rebels shot his bodyguards sitting on his two sides in the rear seat, as well as the translator and the driver.
Pretending to be dead
A shard of glass had pierced Kurien’s forehead into the skull, and blood was gushing. The rebels began checking each car to kill those remaining alive and setting the vehicles on fire. He pretended to be dead, just like the two bodyguards, now dead, by his side. Recalling the attack, Kurien said, “While sitting in the car, I saw my own funeral for 30 seconds.
I saw my wife, Ajitha, and three kids attending my funeral. It was 145 degrees Fahrenheit (62.7°C) outside, and there was a sandstorm then. It was like a scene from a movie.” A US army helicopter arrived and started shooting at the rebels, and they ran away.
The team airlifted Kurien to the military base, where a doctor pulled out the glass piece. A total of 13 people died in the attack, and only Kurien walked out alive. The injury to the forehead left him deaf on the right ear, and he has not been able to chew food ever since but can only swallow.
‘God is with me'
“Sitting in the car, I thought, Where is God? I’m about to die. When I look back, the presence of my God was felt there in downtown Baghdad when the attackers opened the rear door of my vehicle, and they got distracted by the sound of the approaching helicopter. God was right there. I can now say that it is only because of God being there with me in Greece and Iraq that I’m now alive.” Father Kurien, a senior priest of the Syrian Orthodox Church, was in Bahrain to attend an ecumenical conference at St. Mary’s Indian Orthodox Cathedral in Manama.