The 20-year-old student studying commercial engineering, Michalis Klapsis from Leipsoi, speaking on T. Stefanidou’s “T-Live” show today, attributed to Saint Luke of Simferopol the Physician and to his icon of him that he always has with him his salvation in the carnage in Tempi, but also that he was found worthy to help and save his fellow human beings, among them a baby.
“Everything I did I did thanks to him,” he declared “… the strength I got to do all this, I believe my patron Saint Luke the Physician gave me because I always carry his icon with me.”
A Priest’s Son, one of Fr. Christodoulos’ 6 children from Cyprus, and a Priest’s Grandson
His Pilgrimage and the Wedding
He was on his way back from a monastery retreat in Andros, after he kept there a three days’ complete fast («Τριήμερο» ie. He abstained completely from any food and water for three days) for the beginning of Great Lent, received Holy Communion, blessed his wedding wreath at the icon of Saint Marina since he was planning to get married soon and left …
Kyprianos wed our Bridegroom, Christ.
Our brother in Christ and now our “ambassador”, interceding for us to Christ, Our Lord
Words cannot communicate our gladdening sorrow! The Mystery of Death! We now better understand our Gerondas’ words to always be ready …
His Priest-Grandfather’s Dream about his Wedding
Kyprianos’ grandfather, a priest too, knew his fiancée Christina since a very young child, since she was going to Confession to him. Upon learning the news of the engagement, he was filled with joy in the beginning, but later confessed to his grandson that he saw a strange dream where the sacrament of the marriage was taking place between Christina and Kyprianos, but when the time came to exchange the wedding wreaths between these two, only Christina was there but Kyprianos was gone! A pillar of Light was at his side! The whole family was perplexed by this strange dream! What were they to make out of it? Kyprianos’ grandfather told him that the meaning of the dream in his opinion was that there would be no marriage! He was right! They had been warned by God!
His Recent Diary Notes
Man should be like a butterfly,
Picking only the necessary
From this world’s goods.
Food – for example –
One ought to eat
Only what is necessary
As is proper,
As offered by God
If any abuse occurs,
Our little life,
Given by our Lord,
Our garden’s sweetness’
Roses and lilies
Delight we miss…
Chanting to the Theotokos
O Most Holy Theotokos
How much do I love Thee!
Grant my wish to chant thy hymns
Until my hour of death
And stand by Thee then!
* His Priest-Father’s Words
“It is very difficult for a parent to lose a child that he has helped grow hour by hour, day by day. This has always been the worst nightmare of my life since I have 6 children. And now I am called to experience this. I cannot, though, hold any grudge against anyone. … We are all human and we may all make errors. Let us forgive them. This is my consolation. This is how I am helping myself and Kyprianos’ soul. Nobody, nothing can comfort you, no drugs, no psychologist. So, I will forgive all those who are responsible for this so that my soul and my son’s soul are comforted. When I for a moment got upset with the shortcomings and errors, I felt inside my heart that I am betraying Kyprianos. If I held any grudge against my son and he left like this, suddenly, I could never find peace. “A blessed Ressurection. Christ is Risen!” This is what I would say to him. Kyprianos was always very careful with his conscience. He never held any grudges. He has always been like this. Since a baby. A very good child.”
“On Sunday night at 20:00, a vigil will take place where the Psalter will be read. Then, a PresSanctified Holy Liturgy will take place, and those of the faithful who are ready, let them commune the Holy Sacraments on behalf of Kyprianos and all those who died that sudden, violent death. On Monday, 10 am,the Funeral Service will take place at the Holy Churc of the Apostles Peter and Paul, in Avgorou. The request of the family of the departed one is that all who will accompany the funeral procession should be dressed in white. All dressed in white, in the Heavenly Liturgy, revealing Christ’s Light of Truth. Please offer memorials, instead of funeral wreaths, for the completion of the church restoration, In Memory of the soul of Kyprianos”
Thus, reflecting on the righteous ones’ heavy crosses, may we never complain about our little ones. This is what St. Paisios always told us to do! Because we suffer so little compared to the righteous ones’ martyrdom in spite of our many shortcomings… May we repeat the penitent thief’s words: “40 But the other responded, and rebuking him, said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving [c]what we deserve for our crimes; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” (Luke 23:39-43)
PS. Christ is Risen! So many families here have ‘lost’ loved ones! So young most of them! May our Lord grant them a rich entrance into His Kingdom and may our Theotokos comfort the hearts of their close ones so they do not blaspheme His most Holy Name! Only yesterday another friend of mine texted me that they are to attend the funeral of their beloved cousin and they only have his leg to bury… 🙏
Gerontissa Makrina had the gift of prayer since a child. Once she asked with tears our Lord to show her how to pray. That night an Angel of the Lord appeared to her in an all-white robe and taught her how men ought to pray depending on their spiritual condition. According to the Angel’s suggestions, if the soul experiences a perfect Love for God, then one should pray with his hands raised. If humility and remembrance of his sins prevail in his heart, then one should cross his hands on his chest and lower his head. If the soul is engaged in a battle against passions and experiences the ultimate humiliation (ie. Άκρα ταπείνωση), one should pray with his hands ‘tied’ behind his back, like a convict. Then the Angel started praying on his knees, weeping, like he was embracing Christ’s feet, revealing thus the soul’s awareness of its utter insignificance and its ineffable joy and comfort from God. (Pp. Words of the Heart, Gerontissa Makrina Vassopoulou 1921-1995, pp60-61).
This is the amazing story of a blind shepherd, Ioannis Hasiotis, who knows by heart all 27 books of the New Testament! Ioannis Hasiotis [Ιωάννης Χασιώτης in Greek] was born in a small mountain village, Milia, Metsovo (height 1300m) in 1947. After completing primary school, he started to tend his sheep, following the example of his father. There, one of his village friends approached him and offered him a prayer book to keep him company in his hours of solitude. While reading it, he saw references to the New Testament and wanted to acquire a copy.
In the meantime, he was diagnosed with a serious eye disease and doctors warned him that in 20 years’ time, he will gradually lose his sight. Fearing that with this health issue, he would not be able to read the New Testament in the future, he embarked on a wrestle with time to learn it all by heart. Thus, he succeeded in learning by heart the whole New Testament in three years, at the age of 25! In particular, he mastered the 14 Epistles of Saint Paul in 8 months and 10 days!
Ioannis does not recite the New Testament mechanically, which would be very difficult on its own, but critically so. He knows in detail the chapter and the verse of any New Testament quotation, how many times and where a specific reference may be encountered, which quotations refer, for example, to the divinity of Jesus, or the divinity of the Holy Spirit, and so on and so forth. Today, Ioannis Hasiotis is 76 years old, retired, married, with 3 children, and blind. A humble soul close to the Church and Her sacraments and services. Ioannis bears with thanksgiving the Cross of blindness, offers continual thanksgiving to our Lord, and recites the whole New Testament by heart at least once a week!
In the following Youtube link, you can watch him recite excerpts from the New Testament to Professors of Theology!
The following Youtube link is a playlist of some of his interviews and ‘homilies’ in local channels
To this Gift of His Love, I would love to add a brief excerpt from an all-time classic, which I have repeatedly featured in this blog, Abbess Thaisia, An Autobiography, Ch. 4 “Preparation for a New Life”
where she describes how and why she learned by heart the Holy Gospel by the age of 16-17. “The book I loved most and treasured above all was the Holy Gospel. Not only did its words give comfort and sweetness to my soul, but I also felt a strange need to have these words always with me and never be separated from them. This not being feasible or possible, I set myself the task of learning the Holy Gospel by heart.
Thanks to my good memory, this gave me no difficulty at all, and soon enough I had learned by heart, word for word, the Slavonic text of all the Gospel events and teachings by those evangelists who gave a more detailed version of them.” Then follows a detailed description of her “performance” before the Bishop on the day of her last graduation examination, where the Bishop asked her to recite by heart chapters 14 and 15 of the Gospel according to St. John—the parting words of our Saviour to His disciples. (pp49-51)
May we follow their example! As St. Efraim the Syrian, the mystic and the poet, whose memory we honour today, acknowledges “Scripture brought me to the Gate of Paradise, and the mind stood in wonder as it entered.”
Dear Fathers and MOTHER’s, brothers and sisters in Christ,
Χριστός ᾽Ετέχθη! Αληθώς ᾽Ετέχθη! Christ is Born! Truly, He is Born!
Christ is born, Glorify Him!
Please accept my warm greetings for the Feast of the Nativity.
May our hearts become a Holy Manger and the Holy Babe of Bethlehem grant us all his blessings! (St Paisios’ prayer)
On this Feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh, I extend my love and poor prayers in Christ. In dearest Father Jonathan’s words, “Let us remember in our prayers and through actions, the poor, the lonely, the oppressed, the sick, the housebound, those in prison, all exiles from their land, and those who suffer in war.”
“When God comes to us, May the joy of the archangels be yours,
May the wisdom of the wise men be yours,
May the watchfulness of the shepherds be yours,
May the contemplation of Joseph be yours,
May the humility of the oxen and donkey be yours,
May the brightness of the stars be yours,
May the love of the Holy Virgin be yours,
May the peace of the Christ Child be yours.
Today the earth gives a cave. Today the heavens give a sign!
Today the Magi offer gifts
Today the angels glorify in praise
Today the shepherds hear the proclamation
Today we offer our hearts”
“We worship thy Nativity O ChristShow us also Thy Divine Theophany” Eν Χριστώ
Today, at the age of 100 years old, Sister Eirini (Vasiliki Ralli) fell asleep in the Lord, at the Holy Monastery of Theotokos the Merciful in Patra. «Blessed is the way wherein you walk today, for there is prepared for you a place of rest.» in the company of your beloved patron Saints. Memory Eternal!
We are all born with a set of keys in our hands… And it is up to us to decide what to do with these keys. It is up to us to decide who will do the driving.
I have watched people grab the wheel of their life. Struggle to keep the car on the track. Get stressed with the route, with the destination, with the angles, the curves, and the hills. Get stressed with the fuel, get confused with the maps. I have watched them get angry with their fellow passengers, fall ill from trying so hard and get lost amidst so much care and such stress.
But I have also met others. Humble people. People who sit in the back seat. People who, day by day, try to do their best but do not worry. Day by day, they do their best, and then, they let go… They sit in the back seat and let God be God. Let God do the drive…
I will tell you the truth. I envy these humble people and want to become one of them…
I would like to share a few thoughts about mental health disorders from the point of view of a carer. While in the UK, I worked in a care home for some time and had some experience interacting with mentally ill people. However, I was a member of a team and was not fully responsible for anybody. Now, things are tougher because I am in many ways wholly responsible and a carer 24/7. In so many ways I feel I too need long-term support…
‘Give blood and receive the Spirit’
“A woman knows she has conceived when she stops losing blood. So it is with the soul, she knows she has conceived the Holy Spirit when the passions stop coming out of her. But as long as one is held back in the passions, how can one dare to believe that one is sinless? Give blood and receive the Spirit. (Abba Longinus, Sayings of the Desert Fathers)
During this week my thoughts were on a recent saint, Elder Efraim of Katounakia, famous for his 42 years of the martyrdom of obedience to a very difficult, harsh and especially towards the end mentally unstable Elder Nikiforos.
I also reflected a lot on Sister Aggeliki of blessed memory and her obedience to her mentally disturbed sister, keeping her awake with all kinds of ‘happenings’ every single night for about 60 years (!), after her unmercenary doctor’s duties all day and night! I was reminded especially of her obedience to all kinds of crazy errands she was sent and/or accompanied and her long-suffering to all the insults and every name under the sun her sister was calling her for decades! Why did Sister Aggeliki not leave? For the salvation of her sister’s soul. Because, as much as she wanted to become a nun in a monastery, she knew that her sister would then be committed to a mental hospital and there she would be deprived of all the church services she so longed to participate in. And it was only during these church services and Holy Communion that she would be so surprisingly quiet, ‘sane‘ and absorbed …
These were precisely my Elder’s words upon this new obedience: “it is very important that you are patient and do everything that you can so that this poor soul is saved and enters the Kingdom of Heaven!” Not that I bear any resemblance to these exalted ones, but I too must give blood to receive the Holy Spirit and thus receive the baptism of long-suffering and obedience.Grace does not come without blood and tears.