While watching excellent documentary "The Romanovs" last night, my attention was suddenly aroused by mention of somebody who was neither emperor or aristocrat - just like when you are enjoying a movie where a supporting actor seems much more interesting, here I heard about a prophet who predicted what would happen to not only crowned heads but the country as a whole. Apparently there was a monk, born as Basil Vasiliev but later better known as monk Abel who lived in Valaam Monastery and wrote books with predictions about what will happen soon (amongst other things that God told him, was that empress Catherine the Great will die very soon). Which of course led to his arrest, since this was kind of things one was not supposed to talk about lightly. But Catherine really did died very next year from the stroke and her son who became emperor Paul I invited Abel to his palace to ask him some more about his predictions. Whatever Abel told him, the emperor wrote down and this mysterious letter was to be open in a hundred years.
I have no doubt that monk Abel genuinely believed he was inspired from above - not only that his predictions actually later happened, but he stuck to his words even if they got him in trouble thousands times trough his life and actually he spent more time in prison than as a free man. Emperor Paul perhaps didn't mean it, but Abel was jailed again nevertheless (in St.Peter and Paul fortress, by the order of powerful governor) for disturbing royal peace with his words. Just as Abel told him, Paul was murdered exactly four years later by traitors, who all perished soon afterwards. Next emperor imprisoned Abel again for writing prophecy that Moscow will burn in flames - this time he was jailed for ten years, until Napoleon invaded and burned Moscow. After this, Abel was freed and travelled widely (all the way to Mount Athos and Jerusalem) but this time he kept quiet, even though it bothered him - he was strictly forbidden to write any more disturbing prophecies. Like Cassandra, Abel suffered from knowing what future brings but people just didn't want to know. Abel ended his days as a wondering priest but exactly a hundred years later, a mysterious letter was opened by curious emperor Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra Feodorovna, who went to open it with lighthearted curiosity and were apparently very quiet and crestfallen afterwards. I doubt that Abel described their death in detail, but he probably simply said something like infidels will destroy the church and bring great sorrow to the rightful ruler. He also predicted WW1 and mentioned that people will fly in the air like birds, they will swim in the oceans like fishes under the water and they will kill each other with poison air. It is absolutely fascinating story and although we have no written documents surviving directly from monk Abel, I have no doubts that he was gifted with a prophecy insight, after all why should we have only Nostradamus - there must have been other deeply spiritual people who somehow knew what will happen, its just that he dared to say it, while others perhaps kept quiet to save their lives.