A few years before the repose of this marvelous wonderworker (St. Alexander of Svir), God placed in his heart the good thought of building a splendid stone Church to the honor and glory of our Most Holy Lady Mother of God and Ever Virgin Mary, in the name of her honorable and glorious Protection. And thus he began the work, and entreated the help of the Autocrat (Tsar) for the building of the church, and having received this, soon placed the foundation of the church.
Then one night the Saint was praying his usual rule before the Icon of the Most Holy Mother of God, and he prayed long and with tender feeling and tears. He sang also the canon of thanksgiving, which is the Akathist. After this he sat a little to rest, and he said to his disciple Athanasius: “Child, be sober and vigilant; for in this hour there will be wondrous and terrible visitation.” And suddenly he heard a great voice: “Behold, the Lord comes, and She Who gave Him birth.” The Saint went quickly to the balcony of his cell, and a great light shone upon him and likewise upon the whole monastery, brighter than the sun’s rays. And the Saint, looking up, saw the Most Holy Mother of God upon the foundation of the church of Her honorable Protection, in the place of the Altar, as a Queen sitting upon a throne, holding our Lord Jesus Christ as child in Her arms, and around Her a multitude of Angelic choirs stood and shone in unutterable brightness. When the saint saw this wondrous vision, he fell down upon the ground and could not look at that unutterable light, being seized with fear and terror. But the Most Holy Mother of God, speedy helper of all Christians, said to him: “Arise, chosen one of My Son and God; for I have come to visit you, my beloved, and to view the foundation of My church; the prayer of your lips has been heard, sorrow no more. And as you have prayed for your disciples and for your monastery behold, from henceforth they shall abound in everything; and not only during your lifetime, but after your departure also, I shall be always with your monastery, giving what is needful inexhaustibly. Behold and see carefully, how may are the monks who have come into your flock, who are to be instructed by you in the path of salvation in the name of the Holy Trinity.” The Saint arose: seeing and being astonished at the unutterable apparition of the Mother of God, he saw a multitude of his monks going to the foundation of Her church, some bringing stones and some bricks and some other things for the building of the church. And again the Most Holy Mother of God said to him: “My beloved, if anyone bring even a single brick for the building of My church in the Name of Jesus Christ My Son and God, he will not lose his reward.” And having said this, She became invisible.
From “The Northern Thebaid” compiled and translated by Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) of Platina
(My brothers and sisters, as we look at the construction of our own temple, I believe that the promise of the Mother of God to St. Alexander regarding those who labored in the building of his church also applies to us. If anyone bring even a single brick, make the smallest gift or perform even the most menial task in the building of this Church in the Name of Jesus Christ our God, he will not lose his reward. - Fr. David)