Continuing with Dushan Jovanovich’s “Vision of Heaven and Hell’ part 3
The road from this first gate to the next was straight as an arrow and very narrow. Right and left from the road edge, along its entire length, was a very steep, bottomless gap. The areas between the gates were similar, but the road became increasingly narrow. At the last gate it had only the width of a human foot.
After a brief journey we arrived at a gate more beautiful and shiny than the previous one. Here, too, I saw souls with their guardian angels, demons, and another angel guard. The demons tried even harder to prevent permitted souls from passing through the gate. But they were able to go through, since souls which have gotten permission to enter the cross-like gate are freed from the onslaught of the demons.
We passed through all the gates, none of them exactly alike. Each was more beautiful than the previous one, and the angels standing at these various gates were dressed differently from one another.
At the last gate stood an extremely handsome young man who closely resembled my angel. In his left hand he held a book, and in his right hand a sword. He smiled at us kindly and bowed as we passed on the extremely narrow path. Immediately after this gate, we found ourselves in light of enormous intensity. Before, the light was as bright as normal daylight. The difference between this new light and normal daylight was like the difference between the sunniest day and the darkest night on earth. Surprised, I looked around to find the sun, but my angel told me that we left the solar system long ago. We were now in the firmament of our Lord, which is lit by the eternal brightness of God’s Face.
The fear and trembling I felt continuously before we came here, suddenly disappeared and I was filled with an indescribable serenity and joy.
From the top of the firmament I saw below a beautiful picture of an endless city. Houses, churches, parks and many other divine beauties, were scattered all over heaven. Everything shone and sparkled with unusual brightness. My attention was attracted by two large rivers, one yellow and one white, which flowed slowly through this city. My angel saw my confusion and explained that these were rivers of milk and honey. I noticed many very small creeks like branches, going from the rivers watering each plant.
Deeply impressed by this scenery, I felt a light tremor in rhy soul, which filled me with such a thrill that I unconsciously stretched my arms in that direction.
The desire to touch and to embrace all of this was great, but my Angel interrupted me and soon thereafter we landed in that wonderful place. My surprise and joy were boundless. I could not decide where to look first. All around us, everything grew with unimaginable vigor. Paradise was like nothing I had ever seen before. The soil was like glass, clean as a crystal, and those small creeks flowed below the surface like rivers which disappear into the earth.
At various distances were beautiful houses of different sizes and shapes. Each was so richly decorated that their ornaments looked like finest jewels. Roofs of these houses were particularly striking and reminded me a little of roofs on Russian churches with many cupolas. This magnificent architecture looked even more beautiful under the blindingly bright light which reflected from their surfaces. These divine castles were surrounded by parks brimming with beautiful trees and flowers. Everything smelled inde¬scribably pleasant, and the fragrances were carried in all directions by light breezes. I was amazed to see some flowers opening their buds continuously while others occasionally changed their colors, and emitted intoxicating fragrances. Together with these plants I saw many different fruit trees decorated with fruits as if they were the most beautiful necklaces. The fruits from these trees were almost invariably large, and the juice, which visibly flowed through them, was abundant. The Angel told me that the trees bore fruit twelve times a year. I also saw many vineyards, especially on the river-banks, but occasionally around the houses, too. The bright green leaves and red grapes of the vineyards gave me an impression of an utmost serene, cultivated land. With these undreamed-of beauties was an abundance of most beautiful birds, which I could have watched and listened to forever.
Throughout Paradise I saw many people of all ages. The old people looked particularly pleasant and amazing. The only apparent signs of old age were white hair and white beards; otherwise their faces were transformed into faces of young people. I was even more amazed by the children, who in many respects equalled the angels. In parks and many other places I watched them play various games. Many made wreaths and other decor¬ations from flowers, and the birds landed on their shoulders, flapped their wings and sang, enhancing the games with their docile presence. I also noticed that children and adults dressed differently. The children’s dresses were shiny, and colored and cut unlike those of adults. They were beautifully fitted and varied in accordance with the person’s merits. Around their heads the children had halos smaller than the halos of angels and saints. The Lord rewarded their pure and innocent lives giving them all the pleasures of Paradise.
An infinite number of angels were there, too, and the fineness and beauty of their faces is impossible to imagine. Their faces were brighter than the sun, and their clothing reflected light like lightning. The young, the old, and the angels were friendly and in many places sang together praising the Lord.
As we walked through Paradise, I was overcome with awe. My angel and I walked effortlessly and at times very quickly. At one point we reached a place which surpassed in beauty all the places I had previously seen. Here, just in front of us on the right-hand side, stood a row of higher heavenly ranks in a long, orderly manner. To our left stood many others chosen by God. Those in both rows were separated into groups according to rank. Their beauty is impossible to describe with appropriate words.
In front of this assembly, my Angel slowed down, turned to the right and, indicating with his hand, explained, “These are angels, and these are arch¬angels.” He turned to the left and said, “These are saints, and these are hermits.” He again turned to the right and continued, “These are cherubs, and these are seraphs.” Again my Angel turned to the left and said, “These are monks, and these are martyrs who together gave their lives for the Lord Jesus Christ and so earned the glory of heaven.” He turned once more to the right and said, “These are apostles . . .” In that moment my Angel stopped talking because from the group of apostles stepped the apostle Peter. From our left, appeared saint Mother Paraskeva, who came over and stood beside the apostle Peter. (to be continued…)