View from Agrilia Monastery
More blessings from Kephallonia!
The old bell tower with St Kosmas church
St Kosmas Aitolos church
St Kosmas Aitolos church at the monastery, where St Kosmas preached
The Ascent of Snowdon!
Dear Friends in Christ,
Christ is Risen!
I hope you are all well and keeping safe.
Here is my poem-less thought for the day !
Love and prayers
Remember the little things- Climbing Jacob’s Ladder.
I have just completed climbing Mt. Snowdon- the highest mountain in Wales and the second highest in Great Britain (well virtually!) What would normally take five hours has taken me two weeks to complete. I can’t say that the scenery was that good except for my companion St George, who I acknowledged on the way up and on the way down. In these days of lock-down, my staircase has been the mountain. The climb has also involved mental stimulation in mathematical calculation and a certain spiritual exercise (ascesis)- saying “Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy on me,” each syllable spoken of the prayer on each step of the staircase.
The Ascent of my Snowdon!
When I was young, I went on a camping holiday to Switzerland with some friends where we climbed the Jungfraujoch near Thunersee. It demanded patience, courage, fortitude and perseverance. In the days before formal health and safety, we were simply told by the experienced guide to follow carefully in his footsteps and to look out for one another! The reward for our struggle was amazing. We took rest overnight in a goatherd’s cottage on the way down. In the morning, the view was stunning, we were above the clouds and we saw everything from a new perspective.
In Genesis 28 the patriarch Jacob has a dream in which he sees a ladder going from earth to heaven and on this he sees angels ascending and descending.
The theme of the ladder is found in the teachings of the Church Fathers. I suppose St John Climacus is the most famous with his “Ladder of Divine Ascent.” St Irenaeus in the second century describes the Church as the ladder of ascent to God and St Gregory Nazianzus also sees the of ascent as an ascetic path and each step striving towards excellence.
St John Chrysostom writes:
“And so mounting as it were by steps, let us get to heaven by a Jacob’s ladder. For the ladder seems to me to signify in a riddle by that vision the gradual ascent by means of virtue, by which it is possible for us to ascend from earth to heaven, not using material steps, but improvement and correction of manners.”
Indeed, it is important in the Christian life to cultivate the virtues of patience, fortitude, courage and perseverance; to follow in the steps of the Master who is the Way and to keep our eye open for others who may be struggling. May our holy guardian angels assist us in this ascent.
Jesus answered and said to him,“Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”And He said to him,“Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
Dear friends in Christ
Christ is Risen!
I hope you are all well.
Since I have not written a diary for a few days, some people are asking if I am well! Glory to God, by your prayers. I am well. I thought that I would write a little note to you all on the Feast of St Dymphna!
I wish you every blessing on this Feast of St Dymphna the Virgin Martyr or Ireland (650). I was introduced to her by the priest who Chrismated me. I recall that we were visiting St Patrick’s Chapel. I think he had an affinity with saint being himself of Irish descent but his spiritual father, Blessed Seraphim Rose held her in veneration and had a garden in the Monastery in California dedicated to the Celtic saints. He said, as he spread himself upon the chapel walls, how powerful were her prayers and that since ” not many people know her, she is not so busy, so she has time to intercede for us.” If you don’t know her then please read about her extraordinary life.
A short time later, I had cause to call upon her intercessions on behalf of someone. St Dymphna put it into my mind to go and to search for the article that the person had lost and to go three times to this certain place and on the third occasion, I would find the missing article. It was a test of faith, but sure enough on the third visit there was the missing article, and I can tell you that there was much joy when it was found. I have had occasion to call upon the saint subsequently and each time her intercessions have proved most powerful and fruitful. I share this story, so more people may come to know her and call upon her prayers before Christ.
Through the prayers of St Dymphna
The remaining red flowers from the Epitaphion have been replenished with beautiful irises.
Thanks to the sisterhood
Glory to God
One of the sisters kindly gave me a little plant a little while ago.
I am happy to say Kristian is flowering and producing lots of yellow peppers( green at the present moment). Indeed,I have had to re-pot kristian such is his/her exponential growth under the blessings of Holy water,ashes from the censer, warmth and sunlight.
God is glorified in His creation.
Dear friends in Christ
Christ is Risen!
I forward some beautiful photos of the Monastery of Panagia Agrilia in Sami, Kephalonia with the permission of A.S. I know the place well. The little chapel that you see is not the main monastery but next to the old tower. The little place to the right under the tree is where St Kosmas Aitolos preached. The Fresco inside shows St Ephraim and St Panagis -the local saint of Lixouri whose relics I have carried in procession and which emit great fragrance.
Two more photos. I think the path featured in the first photo is the one to the fictional and purpose built village featured in the film Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. The second photo is of the old tower next to Agrilia Monastery with lovely spring wild flowers.
A Joyous Pustinnyk
PS. One of the faithful was asking about the saint on the fresco in the Chapel at Agrilia in Sami Kefalonia from the photos. He is the “other saint” of Kefalonia, the most well known being St.Gerasimos. He is St Panagis Bassias of Lixouri. Feast day 7th June. you can read about his life on “Mystagogy”at johnsanidopoulos.com