Gerondissa Akylina, Gerondissa Porphyria (Sipsa) and Gerondissa Makrina (Portaria)
Friday, November 4, feast day of the Blessed Elder Georgios Karslidis of Pontos, warmed my heart with fond memories of nearly 3 decades of pilgrimages to beautiful, gem monasteries in Northern Greece!
“God cares for everyone. Despair is in effect a lack of faith.”
Taxiarches and the Analipseos Monastery (Sipsa) in Greece is one of the Monasteries in Greece that holds a dear place in my heart. Together with that of St. Paisios in Souroti, they were the first monasteries I started visiting as a University student, before my graduate studies and work at the US. At that time Gerondissa Porphyria, a Living Signpost in my journey on The Way, had not even become a monastic, and now she is a renowned Abbess, one of the few of her ‘calibre’ in contemporary women’s monasteries.
The Blessed Elder Georgios Karslidis of Pontos (1901-1959), latter day saint of the Saintly Orthodox Church in Greece, glorified by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 2008, was the first “resident” and founder of the monastery in the year 1930. He is one of few saints known to bear an imprint of the sign of the cross on his skull. There is a flourishing multitudinous sisterhood of nuns here today, who occupy themselves with the Iconography of handheld pictures, gold embroidery,knitting and waxwork.
Gerondissa Akylina was the first Abbess. I had the rare blessing to meet her a number of times during the last years of her life. In the words of our late Elder Iosif Vatopaidinos, Gerondissa Akylina, together with Gerondissa Makrina in Portaria, were ‘Abbesses of Abbesses’: examples of the monastic life and their monasteries models of coenobia, workshops of virtue and antechambers of Paradise.
For a closer insight at Elder Georgios Karslidis and his miracles, watch the following interview by Gerontissa Porphyria:
For a few sayings by St. George, see: http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2008/10/sayings-of-st-george-karslides.html.
For a short video from his canonization service, see: http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2008/11/numbered-among-saints-st-george.html.