“A monk in a Romanian village got rid of his monastic ‘habit’ (ie. Orthodox monastic clothing), left his monastery and got married. He became a father, many years passed by, and eventually the time of his repose came. His family and relatives washed his body, clothed him, said prayers, made all necessary arrangements at the graveyard and the church, and made an appointment with the local priest to come at their home and read the service of the funeral. When the priest arrived at the appointed time, he found the house empty. Nobody was there. He went upstairs and found the dead person all alone. The priest was wondering what had happened. Suddenly he heard heavy footsteps at the stairway. He turned and saw a huge bear. The bear spoke to him and said: “Why did you come here? So that you will say prayers about him? This man was a monk who renounced his monastic schema. No matter how many prayers you will say about him, this one is mine.” At these words, the bear took the body of the dead man and disappeared! Then the priest’s eyes were opened and he saw all the people in the room, around the dead man, crying over him. The priest was in shock. When he recovered after some time, he asked the people around him to take him back home, and he did not stay to read the funeral service. Back at his home, he told everything to his matushka and asked her permission to go to Mount Athos and become a monk. He lived the rest of his life there with asceticism and profound repentance.”
* A true story told by another Romanian Hieromonk, + Papa Methodios Karyotis (Koutloumousianon Kellion Agion Theodoron, Mount Athos) (1905-1979). Papa Methodios met in person the Romanian priest who was called to do the funeral service for “the monk who got married” but could not after the vision he saw at his corpse, and became himself a hieromonk at Mount Athos; he heard the story from his lips.
Source: From the Ascetic and Hesychastic Tradition of Mount Athos,
A collection of stories by the Monastery of St John the Forerunner, pp132-137.
The author(s) of this book chose out of humility to remain anonymous, but ‘rumour’ has it that this collection of brief true stories is a joint authorship by St. Paisios of Mount Athos, Elder Euphemios, Karoulia, and Elder Gregorios, the spiritual father of the Monastery of St John the Forerunner, and St. Paisios’ spiritual child and tonsure.