Christ is Risen! May Angels accompany you dear Father to your reward.
A diary and a photo/video blog
Dear brothers and sisters, Christ is in our midst.
This is going to be the most difficult post I have ever attempted as it is about the repose of my spiritual father, + Elder Gregorios Papasotiriou, a spiritual child of Saint Paisios, elder and founder of the women’s monastery of St. John the Forerunner at Metamorphosis, Chalkidiki.
+Wednesday 20/11. The funeral service took place in the morning of the following day, after the vigil of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple, such an appropriate day for our spiritual father’s departure from this life and entrance into the Heavenly sanctuary.
St. Porphyrios, when Elder Gregorios once told him that he is well, told him “no, you are not”. “Indeed, I am”, Gerondas Gregorios insisted, but it was St Porphyrios who was right. Later, when St. Porphyrios visited him at his cell in Metamorphosis, his cell exuded a sweet fragrance for six days!
In God’s kairos, I may write more about my memories with him. Starting from my University years, when I would take the bus through Polygyros [ie. lots of curves] notorious curves to the village, then walk all the way uphill through olive groves to the monastery, meet him for Confession and make absolutely no plans about my stay or who we were going to spend the day and the night together. Quite an adventure back in those days …
On Thursday morning, the village and the hill were packed with more people than I have ever seen in my life. People from all over the world, clergy, monastics and lay people who had come to pay their last respects to a father they owned more than their lives. And yet all this crowd were my spiritual brothers and sisters, with whom we had travelled in the past a mile or two in our pilgrimage, and we all had so many memories to share. Many of his spiritual children, when he became gravely ill, were “sent” to Gerondas Theoklitos, the Elder and founder of the monastery of St Arsenios, another spiritual child of Saint Paisios. God’s Love unites us all.
Such a crowd! The police were regulating the parking and the traffic, as only the priests’ and monastics’ cars were allowed all the way up to the monastery. All nearby hotels opened their rooms for free, and local people with minibuses helped people drive up and down the monastery.
“And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” (John 17:11)
For a video of the funeral, go here
For photos, see below
The Vigil and the Four Gospels
The Procession Around the Monastery Main Church (Katholikon)
The Grave and the Burial