Saint Porphyrios’ Mobile Phone

By Nun Porphyria (Spyridoulas Moschou)
Because the Elder calls me on the phone every day from 4:00 to 6:00 in the morning and we read Matins, I thought that since the phone call is long-distance, he must be paying a lot of money to OTE [Hellenic Telecommunications Organization]. This is why when I got paid I put 50,000 drachmas in an envelope to give him.
“Elder, I brought some money, because your OTE bill must be big.”
“What are you talking about, foolish one? Here we are building a church and we’re gonna give so much money to OTE? Put it in the box we have for the building of the church.”
I put it in the box. But my thoughts kept telling me: It seems like OTE granted him a line of communication or someone else is paying for it.
“Lift me up. Give me my shoes to put on and tie them.”
He then took his cane and said to me: “Let’s go.”
I was surprised. As I held him I thought: Where are we going? We walked out of the balcony door and headed for the new building which was still a worksite. We went up some stairs and he showed me the new cells. He showed me the lightweight concrete that was being put as insulating material.
We then went up to a cell that had a built-in-bed where from the window was a view of the sea.
“Do you like it here?”
“Yes, it’s very beautiful, ascetical.”
“I love the ascetics very much. This is why my mind is constantly at Kavsokalyva, but they don’t let me go. One day I will go and stay there.”
We returned to the balcony door and I waited for him to want to lie down and rest. He proceeded however towards the entrance of the cell and said to me:
“Now we will go to the old cells that are empty.”
Outside at the corridor many people were waiting and they thought I was in his cell with him all this time. They were waiting for me to leave that they may come in. When they saw the Elder standing in the corridor, they lost it. For some of them it was the first time they saw the Elder standing up. They were shocked and ran to receive his blessing. We proceeded forward and went up to the second floor. The doors of the cells were shut.
“In this cell they have incense.”
I thought: Perhaps he smelled it. He read my thoughts and saw my lack of faith.
“Here they spread out washed wheat to grind it for prosphora.”
Again my thoughts told me: Well, wet wheat also has a certain smell.”
The Elder caught my thoughts again and said about the third cell:
“Here the toilet tank has rusted because we don’t pull on it to flush. Go pour a little water inside.”
Indeed, I opened the door and when I pulled on the toilet tank, the water came out rusted. So I thought: Rust doesn’t smell.
As we returned I heard him answer a telephone call from someone.
“Hello, Go ahead! Yes, yes, do it like that….”
He was giving advice to someone. But there was no telephone in his hands. It was just the two of us. I was motionless. How is he talking to someone without a telephone? I asked myself.
“Alright, hang up now, and come by some day so we can see you.”
He then said to me:
“See, foolish one. He had need of asking me something. He was calling me downstairs in my cell, but since I wasn’t there, I answered it here.”
Then I woke up. Then I understood that the Elder was not talking to me through OTE. He talked to me in a spiritual manner, which is why he told me to put the money in the box for the building of the church.
“Come on, let’s go now.”
Source: From the book Μαθητεία στον Άγιο Πορφύριο, έκδοση “Η Μεταμόρφωσις του Σωτήρος”, Μήλεσι, 2017. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.
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In the Womb

womb

A young couple once visited St. Gabriel (Urgebadze). The woman was pregnant. St. Gabriel blessed them and said, “My dears, be aware, a child understands everything, therefore read the word of God to him, so he will grow up properly from the very beginning.”

The husband was amazed by what St. Gabriel said and asked, “Yes, but Father, I don’t even understand what’s said through a half-closed door, so how will a child in the womb understand?”

St. Gabriel looked at the woman and addressed the child in his mother’s womb: “Hello baby, I ask you—do you hear the word of God?”

He had just finished saying it when the child began to move so much that the mother grabbed her stomach and couldn’t hide her emotions. Her husband, amazed and already believing what St. Gabriel had said, looked at his wife, astounded.

St. Nektarios, the unknown hermit and the raging demons

saint_nektarios_egina_1

 

A meeting of Saint Nektarios with a clairvoyant hermit on Mount Athos. Also, a recent miracle of the Saint in Romania.

 

St. Nektarios enjoys wide popularity amongst Orthodox throughout the world, yet his popularity in Romania has gained over the past few years. Portions of his relics can even be found in such places as Putna Monastery, Radu Voda Monastery in Bucharest, the Church of the Holy Hierarch Nektarios in Iasi, and the Hermitage of Saint John and Nektarios in Bradetu, Arges. Why do so many Romanians venerate Saint Nektarios and go to pilgrimage to his Monastery in Aegina? All this seems to be related to a recent, miraculous “visit” of the Saint to a village in Romania.

Below is the account as it was told by Romanians to Greeks:

“In a village of Romania there was no priest and the residents often went to the Patriarch with the problem in order to fill the empty spot. However the Patriarch did not have the means of satisfying the demand. The villagers often went to the Patriarch, but he would say the same thing, that he did not have a priest to send to the village.

Meanwhile people died unread (no funeral service), others had relationships and children without marriage vows, and the children and adults alike were unbaptized.

Then one day, outside of the church, a car stopped and out stepped a priest. The village was astonished and yelled out that a priest had come.

The villagers went to the church to greet him and asked him, “How did you come to the village after our Patriarch had said that he doesn’t have a priest to send us?”

The priest answered, “Isn’t this what you wanted? Did you not want a priest? Here I am.”

All the villagers were glad in the presence of the new priest.

The priest began immediately working. He went to all the graves and read the funeral service. He baptized and married everyone in the village and administered Holy Communion.

One day he invited all the villagers to church and told them, “I will leave now, my mission is done.”

The villagers were confused and asked, “Now that you came, you are leaving?”

However the priest did not listen to the villagers and proceeded with his decision.

When the villagers realized that their wasn’t anything they could do, they thanked him for his offering.

After a few days, the villagers went to the Patriarch and they thanked him for sending them a priest and to let him know that they would appreciate it if he could send them another priest soon, but the Patriarch didn’t know anything.

He said to them, “I didn’t send a priest because I don’t have one, however let me check with the chancellor to see if he had sent a priest to you to serve your needs.”

He phoned the chancellor, but he too didn’t send anyone.

The Patriarch inquired, “What did this priest do in your parish?”

The villagers answered, “He married us, baptized us, performed funerals for our parents, he did what any other priest would have performed for us.”

Then the Patriarch asked, “Well, didn’t he gave you any papers or log the Mysteries.

“Of course,” said the villagers, “he gave us papers and he wrote them in the church’s books.”

“Then did anyone see what he wrote? And with what name he signed?”

“All the documents were written in Romanian and we are not well educated and the signature he signed in a language we have not seen before.”

The Patriarch requested they go bring the books in order to see who was this clergyman.

When they returned with the book the Patriarch remained speechless. He couldn’t believe his eyes.

Indeed all the documents were written in Romanian while his name was written in Greek with the name of his signature,

Nektarios, Bishop of Pentapolis

For the original sources of the miracle and further information, all translated by John Sanidopoulos, go to Mystagogy. 

 

St. Gabriel’s fiery zeal

Saint Gabriel

Excerpt from the life of Saint Gabriel the Confessor and Fool for Christ of Georgia,   including rare video footage of him

 

“It is quite difficult for the contemporary generation to imagine the unusual spiritual ability of the young monk, who adopted unprecedented and astonishing steps during the terrible communist regime. … The Soviet government planned to keep him in the psycho-neurological hospital forever. But God had preserved the life of His chosen one not for such a fate. It is interesting to read an excerpt from the medical conclusion:

Georgian SSR Tbilisi Healthcare City Psycho-Neurological Hospital 19/1 – 1966, Tbilisi, 1, Electroni Str.

#666Patient: Vasili Urgebadze, born in 1929, 6 class education. Address: 11, Tetritskaro Str.

The patient is stationed in the city psycho-neurological hospital on 18.VIII.1965, and is brought from the prison for forced treatment. Diagnosis: psychopathic person, inclined to schizophrenia-like psychosis blanks. He was discharged from the hospital on 19/11/65. According to anamnesis he had a vision of a ghostly evil spirit with horns on the head at the age of 12… The patient proves that everything bad that is taking place in the world is due to Evil. From the age of 12 he started to go to churches, prayed, bought icons, and studied church literature… He ate nothing on Wednesdays and Fridays. Grown-ups and soldiers laughed at his nonsense: “On Wednesday Judas sold Christ for thirty silver coins, and on Friday the Jewish priests crucified him”; he was totally hallucinating. It was clear from the case that at the 1 May 1965 demonstration, he burnt a big portrait of Lenin, hanging on the building of the Council of Ministers. After interrogatory he said he did this because the picture of the Crucifixion of Christ should hang there and that it was not possible to idolize an earthly man – the doubt appeared in regard to his psychic health, due to which he was sent to court-psychopathic expertise. The examination showed the patient’s orientation is disoriented in place, in time, and in environment. He talks to himself in a low voice: he believes in the existence of heavenly beings, God and angels, etc. While talking, the main axis of a psychopath is always turned to that everything depends on God’s Will, etc. He is isolated from the other mental patients in the department. When someone talks to him, he surely mentions God, angels, and icons, etc. He is unable to criticize his condition. He was treated with the aminazinophrazia and syptomicine therapy, after which he passed commission.

Act of stationary #42 1965

Chairman of the commission: candidate of medicine, chief physician T. Abramishvili,

Members: J. Shalamberidze and physician Kropov.

He was discharged from the hospital on 19 Jan. 1965 and was taken home by his mother.

Physician: Lezhava 19 Jan. 1966.

 

… From that time on, Father Gabriel decided to completely change his lifestyle, which was too painful for him. Now he was determined to pretend as being mentally ill and to outwardly refuse his usual way of life. Instead of being in silence, he loudly preached in the streets. If till now he completely refused to drink wine, now he drank among people and pretended to be drunk. To pretend being foolish is an unusual feat which requires a spiritual strength and divine mind. “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (I Cor. 1:25).

 

Source: Mystagogy Resource Center by John Sanidopoulos

The Cross

cross2

Fourth in her ‘series’ of Cross-related visions, Abbess Thaisia sees a Cross. This is not a dream like the others before, but a vision while awake. Always these visions take place in the midst of heavy trials and tribulations, when she begins to lose heart and starts to languish:

 

“Once, during the period of labours and sorrows when I was beginning to put the community in good order, I was sitting in my study, all alone. All the doors were closed. Everyone had gone to bed, and I was preparing to do the same–yet I continued to sit there–I don’t know why. I was putting off going to sleep. I was not praying, nor was I thinking of anything special. There was something heavy on my heart, something very heavy, and there was silence in my heart and soul. Suddenly, in the middle of my cell, I saw a large wooden cross standing on the floor, so large that it almost reached the ceiling. (Evidently this was not a dream, for I was awake–I was just sitting, conscious of everything around me.) At the place where the horizontal and vertical beams met, there was something like a bloody, red, oblong fastening. seeing the cross, I did not become afraid; I crossed myself, and involuntarily thought, ‘How large it is! How will I be able to carry it?’ Then I heard these words, as if coming from the cross itself: ‘You will lift it and carry it, for My strength is made perfect in weakness!’ 

I considered that this was sent either to strengthen me in my sorrowful life, or to warn me of still greater sorrows to come. Although I felt some sadness, I accepted this with equanimity. I was ready to endure any suffering for the good of the community, and, through it, for the glorifying of the Name of God.”

*

For Abbess Thaisia’ first vision, go to The Cross-Baptism

For her second vision, go to The Fool-For-Christ and the Cross

Finally, for her third vision, go to Martyrdom Before the Crucifix

The Fool-for-Christ and the Cross

St symeon full for Christ

This is the second of many such visions Abbess Thaisia had. Predominantly with the Cross. Another excerpt from her Autobiography:

“I dreamt that I was walking along a road together with some other sisters. We were in an open place, passing by many fields, and we were walking two by two, in full monastic dress. All of a sudden, I saw two men crossing the field and coming towards us from the side. One of them looked like a monk; he was clad in a mantia and had a kamilavka on his head, the veil of which covered his face. He was holding a cross in his hands, like one who has just made his vows. The other one who was walking alongside the monk looked like a beggar. He wore a ripped shirt, and his hair was all disheveled. He was like a Fool-for-Christ; he kept leaping and jumping, and at the same time he was eating a piece of white bread that he was holding. Coming near to us, he seemed to tease us with his piece of bread, and he kept on leaping, looking at us with a smile. The monk was walking with his eyes lowered, and seemed to be completely immersed in his inner thoughts. I fixed my attention on them. When I looked around, my companions had all disappeared somewhere. I was standing alone in the middle of the road. Meanwhile, the two men came near and began walking by my side. The Fool-for-Christ looked at me intently, at first in silence, and then he said: “‘What are you thinking about? Crry your cross, like brother John is doing. Look at me, how I am leaping, carefree and gay, while I eat my piece of bread. You leap, too! Keep leaping along your way! Do people laugh at you? So what? Keep leaping, like Symeon the Fool-for-Christ! Keep leaping! Here is the church now, quite near!’ With these words, he indeed went leaping through the doors of a church we had inadvertently drawn near to. John followed him silently. I woke up. This is how I came to explain this dream: there is no need to seek salvation through complicated and tortuous ways. Instead, with a simple heart, one must walk along the path shown by Divine providence, not paying any attention to other people’s jeers and gossip, just carrying one’s monastic cross.”

For her first vision of our Saviour’s Cross, go to The Cross-Baptism. In my opinion, both of her visions are quite relevant for non-monastics too. Don’t you think so?

 

 

The Cross-Baptism

abbess thaisia

Excerpt from the Autobiography by Abbess Thaisia:

“… I fell asleep.

I saw myself entering a church or chapel (I do not know which) of modest size, from the south side. In the middle, as if facing the altar, there were standing three figures, all of the same size, clothed the sake, and alike in everything. I was at a loss to name them. They looked like human beings, but their heads were surrounded by something like a mist. I could not see them clearly. Besides me and them, nobody else was there. The church was empty. I became curious about these beings. Rather boldly, I began to approach them, first from one side, then from the other, trying to find out who they were. When I drew near to their right, the one standing there asked me, “What convent is this?” I replied, “The Convent of the Entrance into the Temple”. He asked me again, “How long have you lived here?” I answered, “Three years.” Then he said, “You have lived three years in this convent already, and still you do not know its name.” I began to argue, saying that I well knew the name of my convent. “It is the Convent of the Entrance into the Temple.” Then he beckoned me to come nearer, and went on, “If you do not know the name of your convent, I will tell you. It is the Convent of the Cross-Baptism.” At this moment I saw his head. It was like the head of our Saviour, as it is seen in the icons. With His left hand He was holding an enormous wooden Cross, as if He was leaning against it, and with His right Hand He lightly touched my shoulder. Tapping it gently, He said, “I tell you, it is the Convent of the Cross-Baptism. Do you not understand? Then I will explain it to you. Just as a Christian child is baptised through the water and the Spirit, and is not able to become a Christian otherwise, so a child-monk must be baptised through the Cross. Otherwise he cannot become a monk. Do you understand me now?” While He was speaking, I recognised Him as Christ, and full of joy and tender feeling, I exclaimed, “Truly, O my Lord, I do understand that I have to endure everything for the sake of Thy Cross.” I awoke with the same feeling of joy and tender feeling. My shoulder seemed to still feel the gentle tapping of His Hand. I was quite renewed  spiritually, and all my dark mood vanished as though it had never been there at all”