A Smile from Eternity

Honorable Mr. Papanikolaou,

A few hours after the entombment of elder Joseph, you posted at your website an article with the title «Funeral of Blessed Elder Joseph of Vatopedi – A Smile From Eternity«, describing in a few words the event aided by a few pictures.

The photograph of the reposed, who is smiling not only with his lips but with all the expression of his face, made  a great impression on people, which we can see  from the articles and comments in numerous web-sites.

One can indeed come across dead people with a glowing face, a peaceful expression, but with never a smile. On the one hand all the spiritual fathers say that the time of death is horrifying for man. On the other hand we read in the book of the Sayings of the Desert Fathers that even the most advanced ones , out of humility, did not let down their guard before entering eternal life, where there is no longer any danger.

In addition, Elder Joseph had a major heart problem and he was very debilitated by this illness. So how did he repose smiling?

The answer is: NO, he didn’t repose smiling, but HE SMILED AFTER HIS REPOSE.

After a conversation of us with some fathers of the monastery, we convey to you the story of the event.

The two monks that were with him until the very last moment, sprinted to the abbot, Elder Ephraim, to let him and the rest of the fathers know about the repose of Elder Joseph and the former two didn’t pay attention to the reposed, who was left with his mouth half-open.




Thus, they came back to the cell, to prepare the reposed according to the monastic order. Elder Ephraim ordered them to leave his face uncovered. The fathers tried to close his mouth, but as it was quite late, his mouth remained open. They even tied a gauze around his head, so that his mouth would remain closed, but after they removed it his mouth opened up again. About 45 minutes had already gone by, since he had passed away.

-Elder, what should we do, it looks bad with the  mouth open?

-Leave him as he is, do not cover his face!



They sewed him inside his monastic mantle as according to monastic custom. The whole procedure so that he was put inside the mantle and sewed in took another 45′. Then, they cut off the cloth around his face –according to the order- and found the elder as everybody can see him now, smiling.

Did he listen to them and granted them this litle favour, so that he didn’t hurt their feelings? Or, was it that he wanted to grant us an indication what he saw and let us know the state in which he is now?


The smile of elder Joseph of Vatopedi, is the First supernatural event after his repose and has become a great consolation for everybody.


keidia 1



Panayiotis Koutsou

Source: Diakonima


5 comments on “A Smile from Eternity

  1. berlinvogueblog says:

    Is it customary to photograph the funeral preparations?
    In my humble opinion I believe it’s disrespectful to the soul of the deceased.
    We should not rely on any miracles to know the truth, God is with us in life as in the after life. To use a miracle for proof is to put in doubt the faith and conviction of the elder whose whole life was a living monument of God’s love and existence.


    • Indeed, it is not customary, and I agree in general with your comments. This is a most exceptional case, and “it just happened”; nobody intended for any of what followed. This miracle nonetheless has encouraged lots of faithful. In my opinion, one should not rely on miracles, or even expect them to happen, but when they do happen, then one of course is to offer Glory to God. He is the one who decides about everything. So the fact that He has allowed for this to happen, may mean that he does not intend it to be hidden. All that of course is my poor opinion. If you have a look at my blog, you will see that “miracles” are not its focus. But on the other hand we cannot deny or hide their existence.


      • berlinvogueblog says:

        My deepest apologies for viewing your response just now.
        Thank you for even taking the time. Your blog has been a comfort to me.


      • I cannot understand why you are surprised I “even took the time”. I record and write all this here in the blog so we can all become One in Christ. So I want us to communicate. I am not that much of a “hermit” 🙂 You all are an encouragement to me, and a joy when we meet. My apologies too for viewing your response just now but we were trekking in the Judea and Sinai desert and there was no wifi there…

        Liked by 1 person

    • MelissaBishop says:

      He is dead. He can no longer be offended. He sets a great example for us.


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