Suddenly on Sunday 13/1, Metropolitan Pavlos of Siatista, reposed in the Lord. He was a very beloved and respected hierarch of the Church of Greece and a spiritual child of St. Iakovos of Evia. His words, example and advice carry great weight and his talks are filled with true love and wisdom. Below are a brief biography and a wonderful recent talk of his with English subtitles. May he have a blessed Paradise, and may we have his blessing!’
His last night he spent in the Monastery of St. David of Evia and St. Iakovos [my recent pilgrimage] which he loved so much, and until noon of his last day he was near there in Rovies, serving his final Divine Liturgy on Sunday January 13th next to the Precious Skull of St. David.
I had the blessing to attend Vigils with this hierarch at Mikrokastro Monastery and I remember his fiery eyes and voice. Even now, three days after his repose, his holy presence is still palpably felt to all. We feel he is alive in our Resurrected Lord. We experience a gladdening sorrow burning our hearts. *”His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire” (Revelation 1:14) May he pray for all of us. +Memory Eternal!
The video which follows is very important as it reveals Metropolitan Pavlos’ intimate spiritual relationship with Elder Iakovos and relates lots of miracles which he experienced first-hand.
Archimandrite Symeon Kragiopoulos was a lecturer, preacher, and confessor in the Metropolis of Thessaloniki, Greece. His spiritual lectures often drew on his study of psychology. Thirty books have been published in Greece based on his lectures. He founded two monastic communities, Holy Trinity for men and the Nativity of the Theotokos for women.
A Memorial Service was performed in the Church and a Trisagion at the cemetery.
Sister Episteme, +22 Friday September 2017, the day of our visit, reposed in the Lord on the eve of the Conception of St. John the Baptist, the patron Saint of her monastery, and her spiritual father, Gerondas Gregorios prayed together with her as she was leaving her last breath. Sister Episteme, 60 years old, 34 years a nun, felt her end approaching in the morning and asked her relatives who were visiting the monastery to take her on a last walk on her wheel chair giving them detailed instructions and blessing every corner of the monastery yard, churches and buildings. + Memory Eternal
Gerondissa Emmeleia, Sister Episteme’s mother in flesh, became also a nun in the same monastery immediately after she became a widow, after her husband’s 40 day Memorial Service. She had 5 children, 2 of which became nuns, Sister Episteme and Sister Christonymfi, and one a married priest, Father Nikolaos. The last decade of her life she led a most holy, hidden ascetic life in silence and obedience and reposed in the Lord last Easter Sunday. + Memory Eternal
Eleni, Sister Episteme’s lay sister, a kind, meek mother and grandmother, always caring first for others and never for herself, smiling radiantly, with courage, even when her sister was laid in the tomb: ” I feel such bright sorrow in my heart today!”
Tatiani: a pilgrim who tried for some time to become a nun in the monastery but gave up in the end.
– “What was the most difficult thing in monastic life? What made you ‘give up’?”
– “The fact that I could not surrender entirely to God’s Will and to do obedience in everything. I wanted to control my life, to have my opinions, to be in charge. A visa problem emerged, future was uncertain. If I “gambled” all my life and stayed in the monastery as a novice, I might jeopardised both citizenships, Greek and …, and ended up a refugee at God’s Mercy, God knows where. I did not have such ‘craziness’. The fasts, the long prayers, the vigils were difficult of course. One would get bored, tired, hungry, sleepy, but gradually, if one persists, one gets used to them, and grows spiritually. That was not really difficult. But cutting your will and having the guts to give up everything for Christ, and surrendering unconditionally, this has made all the difference. I could not do this.”
Presbytera (ie. a priest’s wife) Theodora with 9 children, suffering from lupus:
“Unless one surrenders unconditionally, reaches even the point of becoming a fool for Christ, one way or another, living only for Him, and loving Him more than his family and himself, God’s Grace is never revealed in all His Power in his life. Most people around him of course will not understand him, and think that he is really crazy, but they do not care about what the world thinks of them. They only want to follow Him. Sister Episteme surrendered unconditionally to Him all her life, and especially in her illness. And in just 9 months God granted her his Kingdom.
(*) Gerondas Gregorios wishing to me after the funeral: “May the Lord help you. “Και στα δικά μας” [“kai sta dika mas”] (Approximate translation of this wish is “the same to us” In Greece this is a reply to a well wisher in a very specific context, a traditional return gesture of good wishes, but more than that it is specific to the occasion. It most likely refers to an engagement or a wedding. The reply means: may good wishes accompany you when you also find yourself engaged or married or something similar ‘τα δικά σου’ – your (day of celebration). Actually it is an encouragement to follow the same route, wished to an unmarried guest in a joyous occassion, namely a wedding or engagement. There is a lugubrious exception, when this wish is said after the death of a monk in Mountain Athos or monasteries in general in Greece.