Metropolitan of Morfou Neofytos: ” Saint Porfyrios as I Experienced Him”

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Amazing compilation of everyday Saints’ stories and parables by the Metropolitan  

#Saint Porphyrios #Saint Paisios #Saint Iakovos Tsalikis #Modern Greek Saints

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How the Departed Interceded for a Drunkard Priest

Photo: G.Balayants / Pravoslavir.ru

Another Modern True Story

    

The bishop who told this story is still alive. It is genuine and has profound significance, because it speaks of the prayers of the living for the departed. God always hears these prayers, especially during the Divine Liturgy.

In the diocese of this bishop whom we have mentioned, there was a Papa Ioannis serving—a devout priest loved by all. He would somewhat linger during the proskomedia1 because he commemorated many names. But the priest had a terrible shortcoming: He loved to drink. As diligent as he was in the fulfillment of his priestly duties, so powerless was he before wine. Many implored him to overcome this passion, so unbecoming of a servant of God. The priest himself was aware of it, was furious with himself, and tried to quit drinking several times, although everything would start again within a few days.

Once, when this papoulis2 had again surrendered to his passion, he went to church. Half-drunk, he exclaimed, “Blessed is the Kingdom…” and he began the Divine Liturgy. By God’s allowance, the priest slipped in the altar and dropped the Precious Gifts from his hands. He froze with horror! Dropping to the floor, he began to gather the Body and Blood of Christ with his tongue. He was choked with guilt, because it happened because of his intoxication.

The priest went to the bishop and confessed his terrible sin to him. The next day, the bishop, after much thought, sat down at the table and took a pen: He had to begin the process of defrocking Fr. Ioannis. The bishop’s hand was lingering in indecision when he beheld as if in a vision how thousands of people were coming out of the walls of the room. There was a burning pain in their eyes. Passing by the bishop, they cried out, “No, Vladyka, do not punish this priest! Do not defrock him! Forgive him!”

An endless stream of people passed in front of the bishop: men, women, children, well-dressed and poor—an entire demonstration of souls! And they all stretched out their hands to the bishop and cried out, imploring, “No, Your Grace, don’t do this; don’t expel our papouli! He remembers us and helps us at every Liturgy; he truly takes pity on us; he is our friend! Don’t remove him from his dignity! No, no, no!!!”

The vision continued for a long time. The stunned bishop watched the sea of faces pleading for the drunken priest. He realized that they were the souls of the reposed whom Fr. Ioannis commemorated at the Liturgy. And this commemoration greatly alleviates their lot, like water given to the thirsty in the summer heat. “This is a clear testimony that our prayers assuage the souls of the reposed,” the bishop thought.

He called for the priest.

“Fr. Ioannis, tell me, when you serve the Liturgy, do you commemorate a lot of names at proskomedia?”

“Hundreds of names, Your Grace. I haven’t counted them.”

“Why do you remember so many names and delay the Liturgy?” the bishop asked, as if angry.

“I pity the departed: They have no other help but the prayers of the Church. Therefore, I ask the Most-High to grant them rest. I have a book where I record all the names that are given to me for commemoration. I inherited this practice from my father, who was also a priest.”

“You do well,” the bishop agreed. “Their souls need it. Continue doing this. Just be careful, and don’t drink anymore—not a drop of wine, starting tomorrow! Such is your penance! You are forgiven.”

From that day, Fr. Ioannis was truly freed completely from the passion of drunkenness. And now he stands even longer at the proskomedia, commemorating the names of the departed.

1 The service of preparation before the Liturgy—Trans.

2 An affectionate term for a priest used by Greeks—Trans.

 

From the book Miracles and Revelations of the Divine Liturgy,
published by Paraclete Monastery (Oropos-Attica), 2012.

Pravoslavie.ru Translated by Jesse Dominick

I Want Peace

peace

A pilgrim once met a hermit.

– “I want peace.”

The hermit took a piece of stick and wrote on the ground: ‘I want peace’.

-“Now, look how simple this is!”

In one move, he crossed out ‘I’.

“My child, you need to delete first the ‘I’. It is impossible for anyone who trusts in himself to find peace on his own, away from God. The ‘I” always feels threatened by everybody and everything and drives away God and His Peace.”
In one move, the hermit crossed out ‘want’.

My child, you need to delete the ‘want’ too.  ‘Want’ reveals desires, needs and worldly attachments. No matter how many of your worldly desires you fulfil, new ones, unfulfilled, will upset you and deprive you from peace.” 

Then, the pilgrim looked at the ground, saw the crossed out words and understood. ‘I’ and ‘want’ had been crossed out and … Peace was there! 

 

The Crossing of My Red Sea

shoe nest

About four months have passed since my Elder’s last ‘words’ about my future and my life circumstances have completely changed. Indeed, problems do not merely call forth our courage and our wisdom; they create our courage and wisdom. (I have a long way to go …) How can my Elder (and God) swipe away, with just one move, all my past and present, my job, my possessions, my ‘family’, my ‘home’, my … (you name it!)?

But they can, as I was about to find out the hard way. “No buts — just do as I tell you! God has revealed all that to me (!)” The past four months I learnt first hand the blessings of an Elder’s prayers as he ‘photographed’ and ‘micromanaged’ my single step thousands of miles away.

The sea was parted; I walked on the dry ground and crossed it. And left all my past life behind. What will my future be on this ‘other’ side? I have absolutely no clue, other than I must learn to cling to God and surrender to His Will, as no one has now been left for me, other than Him and my Elder.

Abba Allois said: “Unless a man say in his heart, Only I and God are in the world, he shall not find rest.”

Asking for your prayers…

 

 

The Blind Aspassia

blind girl reading

The story of an everyday Saint in my hometown!

In a small town in northern Greece, there lived a blind girl named Aspasia. She was orphaned, very poor and abandoned by all. That’s why she grew up without being able to learn letters.

She was about 18-20 years old when a preacher of the metropolitan area passed by and saw her, took her with him and put her in the School for the Blind in Thessaloniki, so she learned reading through the blind system. Then, after learning to read braille well, the New Testament, written in the same scripture, was given to her in braille.

So the girl started reading it by touching it with her fingers. And as she studied it, she both learned what Christ was and what He did for her personally as well as for the whole world. And as she learned, she was so peaceful and so moved. The pain of so much tormenting years passed, softened through the study of the New Testament. And not only this, but filled with joy and peace. Flooded by happiness. “I found the joy” she said. “Now the eyes of my soul opened! And if the eyes of the body are missing, I do not mind. With the eyes of the soul I can see the whole world. ” She saw the light of God in every Divine Liturgy. (We who are “open-minded” are seeing this Light?).

But once she suffered a terrible skin disease that even touched her hands, which were “burned”, so she lost the touch of her fingers. She could no longer read the Holy Bible nor any other sacred book.

Her sorrow and her pain was indescribable. She was crying day and night. She had lost the ability to take power and joy through the Holy Book. But she had a prayer left. Because when she was in Thessaloniki, at the Blind School, a monk from Mount Athos taught her how to say “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me”. So she did a lot of prayer for Jesus Christ to give a good solution. And God answered.

One day she gladly took the Holy Book, the New Testament, and brought it to her mouth, to kiss the letters, which these letters convey to us the wisdom of God, redemption and salvation. And then she discovered something strange: She understood she could read the letters with her lips! And her life was replenished by joy, which was again given to her by the study of the word of God. And through this paradoxical study, praise came, thanksgiving came, the living prayer came.

She was studying and then praying with tears for those who had the same problems with physical disabilities and diseases, and especially prayer for those who were blind of the soul from sin. Through her prayer she saw the throne of God and begged Him and prayed to Him for the poor, the orphans, the unemployed, the homeless, for all the sick. For the good and bad, for the good and the wicked, for the righteous and the unjust, but also for those who continue to offend the world … for the lords and the beginners. All of them are enlightened and all of them can see the true Light, Christ, the Savior of the world!

One day she got sick. She confessed for the last time and communed the Holy Mysteries. And she asked for the New Testament, said to open it to her lips.

Aspasia stretched out her hands and held it firmly, but she died. Her relatives, according to divine providence, opened it to the first chapter of John the Evangelist. And constantly repeating the words “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the God”, she raised her little soul high in the sky, while at the same time flooded her room with an unspoken sweet fragrance.

She is a silent saint!

Source: PROTOPRESVYTEROS STEFANOU K. ANAGNOSTOPOULOU. Piraeus 2011.
PUBLICATION OF ISICHASTIRIO “TO GENETHLIO TIS THEOTOKOU”, SERGOULA DORIDOS 2011