Amazing compilation of everyday Saints’ stories and parables by the Metropolitan
#Saint Porphyrios #Saint Paisios #Saint Iakovos Tsalikis #Modern Greek Saints
Amazing compilation of everyday Saints’ stories and parables by the Metropolitan
#Saint Porphyrios #Saint Paisios #Saint Iakovos Tsalikis #Modern Greek Saints
Back to Greece, for yet another long pilgrimage. And yes, Greece can be foggy like England.
Our pilgrimage starts at a historic monastery, dating back to the 12th century, located one kilometer from Promahi village (Aridaia, Greece), founded by St. Hilarion of Meglin (Feast Day – October 21).
St. Hilarion was born of eminent and devout parents in that same village of Promahi, in the late 11th century. His childless mother had long prayed to God that He grant her a child, and in accordance with her prayer, the Most Holy Theotokos appeared to her and comforted her with the words: “Do not grieve, you will give birth to a son and he will turn many to the light of truth.” When Hilarion was three years old, the hymn, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth!” was constantly on his lips. He was well-educated, was tonsured a monk at age eighteen, and founded this monastery dedicated to the Holy Apostles, based on the Rule of Saint Pachomios.
These days, the monastery is an austere women’s monastery with 5 nuns under the obedience of Hieromonk Paisios, a spiritual child of St. Paisios. Vespers here is otherworldly in its beauty.
Saint Hilarion of Meglin’s lifelong struggle and contribution to the Orthodox Church was against the Bogomils. Because of Hilarion’s prayers and exhortations, many of the Bogomils abandoned their teachings and converted to Orthodox Christianity. It is noted in the thirteenth century Markianos Code, Codex 524, that during his burial service, myrrh streamed continually from his eyes and that he later appeared on many occasions in visions to the monks of the monasteries to strengthen them in their monastic duties.
O Venerable Father Hilarion, intercede with Christ God to save our souls.
“Once a dog was dying from thirst in the desert. A monk went by and gave him the water he was keeping for himself. That moment Heavens opened and a voice was heard: ‘He who saved the dog will have a multitude of his sins forgiven’.”
Blessed Gabriel the Confessor and Fool for Christ
Blessed Gabriel was gentle Saint of our times, compassionate for all Creation. In his youth, he had an unusual entertainment; he used to take a small stick in his hands and ran away. Chirping birds sat on it and followed him all the way. This surprised everyone. Vasiko was a soft-hearted child. He did not allow putting a trap for mice, but caught them in a cage alive and afterwards set them free out of the yard. Read about the rest of his life here
“Abba Xanthios said, ‘A dog is better than I am, for he has love and he does not judge.”
— Sayings of the Desert Fathers
“Geronda, how do animals sense a person’s goodness?”….. “They can instinctively sense if you love them. The animals in Paradise felt the fragrance of Grace and served Adam. Since the transgression, nature groans together with man” St Paisios
“My mind tells me that even the animals are better than me; so, I humble myself and obey them. Very early this morning, being tired from praying all night and exhausted because of my illness, I lay down to rest. After a while, I heard a kitten meowing outside my cell as if she needed something. I really wanted to rest, but I humbled myself and went against my own will. I obeyed the kitten and replied to her calling. I went to open the door. It had started to rain and I let her in so she wouldn’t get wet. What do you think then? Should I obey the animals or not? My thoughts tell me I should.” – St Paisios
“All these things connected with nature help us greatly in our spiritual life when they are conjoined with the grace of God. When I sense the harmony of nature, I am brought to tears. Why should we be bored with life? Let us live life with the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Truth. The person who has the Spirit of God, who has Divine Wisdom, sees all things with love of God and notices all things. The wisdom of God makes him grasp all things and delight in all things.”- Saint Porphyrios
Photos & Selection of the Fathers’ Saying: Orthodoxy and Animals
“It is with some trepidation that I set pen to paper to record -what? What can one write about a personality whose holiness and spiritual wisdom stretched over many decades, who was shepherd to thousands of souls, saving them from destruction and bringing them into ‘a place of verdure’? About the comforter, the advisor, the father, the refuge of every soul in pain and every confused thought? About the last person who walked and strove in the ascetic life with the holy fathers whom God was pleased to give our generation, those who died to live, because, in living they were dead to the world. ‘so that the world may live’ through Christ, to Whom he brought it through his way of life, his teaching and his prayers? What can one say about a man who rivalled Saint Païsios in his humility, Saint Porfyrios in his discernment, Father Sophrony in his wisdom and Elder Iakovos in his love?
Considering all the above, when I was asked by the spiritual children and heirs to the holy legacy of Elder Symeon to write something In Memoriam, I initially declined for fear that I would not be able to paint a proper picture of him in words, that I would diminish his spiritual stature by not being able to render, even faintly, what the late father really was. What only made me agree to write was the fact that I’d known him for almost half a century and that our relationship was not merely one of spiritual fatherhood, but also one of close friendship. So, with the proviso that I will mention only my personal experiences, let me begin. (*)
In September of 1969, I’d just taken up a position at the University of Thessaloniki. I visited the Pournaras bookshop, which was at that time not merely a place for selling books but somewhere where colleagues could meet. It was a reference point, you might say. Browsing through the new books spread out on the counter, I heard someone ask Panayiotis Pournaras. ‘I’ve heard that there’s a new professor at the university. A Mister Galitis. Do you know him?’ I turned and saw a pleasant-looking figure, a priest with a red beard, a tranquil look about him, kindly eyes and a bright smile, just at the moment when Panayiotis was pointing to me, ready to make introductions. We chatted for a while and I was impressed by his interest in the new books and also by how well he was up in theological matters. He was following the current theological situation, which was hardly common among priests dedicated to their pastoral work.
I saw Fr. Symeon shortly afterwards at the headquarters of the Metropolis. He’d been appointed a member of the Supervisory Committee of the Seminary, where he’d been Director. The Chairman of the Supervisory Committee, a highly placed cleric, with all the exuberance he could command behaved towards Fr. Symeon with excessive familiarity, with his teasing and slightly ironic and disdainful manner, which made me, at least, feel awkward. But Fr. Symeon was undisturbed and behaved like an ‘altar-boy’. He made an obeisance and remained silent. My discomfort then became admiration for the wonder of humility.
Fr. Symeon’s office in Saint Theodora’s was in the right wing, on the first floor. He asked me to visit him there, which I often did, most gladly. He came to my office, too, but not so often because he couldn’t leave the School much. I recall with nostalgia our long discussions on spiritual, theological and ecclesiastical matters. He was a profound anatomist of the soul and, at the same time, an erudite theologian with rare learning, which he was always trying to increase. He discussed well, had a clear mind, breadth of spirit and a particular sharpness. He would grasp a subject quickly and was comfortable even talking about secular education.
Later, he began vigils at Saint Theodora’s. At one of these he had the joy of tonsuring one of his spiritual children. Fr. Symeon was the person who introduced this new form of vigil, which did not last all night, but covered two or three hours before midnight, and about an hour after, with a half-hour homily. In this way, people who were working and couldn’t get to a liturgy in the morning and for whom an all-night vigil would have been too much had the chance to participate in liturgical life. This practice found many admirers and is now popular in many parts of Greece and abroad.
Every liturgy Fr. Symeon served was a real and literal initiation into the sacrament. It was solemn, neither drawn out nor hurried, without highlights, but not monotonous. At first, he didn’t have chanters. Anybody who could would do their bit. Even I chanted on occasion. These first impromptu chanters usually sang poorly and this created the impression that Fr. Symeon actually wanted this: low profile, no special effects. This would encourage contrition. A friend of mine told me off once when I departed from this ‘rule’. But soon proper chanters began to appear and the cultivation of music became part of the whole training the people acquired by being close to the blessed Elder.
At church, man is freed from the demonic influence
and the traps the devil sets.
At church, man is healed.
These are not just words. It’s the truth.
The sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick
is for the healing of our illnesses.
If we are not healed,
we don’t need to be healed,
that’s why we aren’t.
If you take it this way, you are already healed.
You know very well that an illness which lingers
and doesn’t go is precious.
Whatever needs to go, God will take away.
Whatever doesn’t need to stay, God will take away
be it an illness or demonic influence.
And for whatever stays on and hurts us
we pray to God.
We should pray many a time,
time and again should we beg,
not only for deliverance from soul illnesses
and the demonic influence
but also for deliverance from body illnesses, as well.
Let us pray to God for everything time and again.
Not because God needs us to pray to him again and again.
We need to do this again and again,
because, precisely, God wants to see our faith.
Man, especially today,
gets used to something by repeating it,
learns something by reapeating it.
If you pray time and again
–you need to do this–
and God doesn’t relieve you of your illness, know that:
either you have not shown
as much faith as He wants and expects from you,
or that the illness should not go
because it is necessary.
If you take your illness issue according to God,
then, by it remaining,
you feel twice healed.
If He heals you, you are healed once.
If the illness lingers,
you feel healed twice.
Because both when time comes
will you be healed from your illness
and until the right time comes to be healed
will your soul be healed, too.
Your inner person will be healed,
this person who suffers from illness,
from the leprosis of sin.
The same goes for all mental illness
and whatever else hurts us.
If man sees all his issues
within the providence of God,
he will feel such a relief,
as if all his problems are solved.
Because in God
all is resolved!
Holy Hesychasterion “The Nativity of Theotokos” Publications.
Archimandrite Symeon Kragiopoulos
(To be continued)
1. Blessed are those who love Christ more than all the worldly things and live far from the world and near God, with heavenly joys upon the earth.
2. Blessed are those who manage to live in obscurity and acquired great virtues but did not acquire even a small name for themselves.
3. Blessed are those who manage to act the fool and, in this way, protected their spiritual wealth
4. Blessed are those who do not preach the Gospel with words, but live it and preach it with their silence, with the Grace of God, which betrays them.
5. Blessed are those who rejoice when unjustly accused, rather than when they are justly praised for their virtuous life. Here are the signs of holiness, not in the dry exertion of bodily asceticism and the great number of struggles, which, when not carried out with humility and the aim to take off the old man, create only illusions.
7. Blessed are those who have been born crippled or became so due to their own carelessness, yet do not grumble but glorify God. They will hold the best place in Paradise along with the Confessors and Martyrs, who gave their hands and feet for the love of Christ and now constantly kiss with devoutness the hands and feet of Christ in Paradise.
8. Blessed are those who were born ugly and are despised here on earth, because they are entitled to the most beautiful place in Paradise, provided they glorify God and do not grumble.
9. Blessed are those widows who wear black in this life, even unwillingly, but live a white spiritual life and glorify God without complaining, rather than the miserable ones who wear assorted clothes and live a spotted life.
10. Blessed and thrice blessed are the orphans who have been deprived of their parents’ great affection, for they managed to have God as their Father already from this life. At the same time, they have the affection they were deprived of from their parents in God’s savings bank “with interest”.
11. Blessed are those parents who avoid the use of the word “don’t” with their children, instead restraining them from evil through their holy life – a life which children imitate, joyfully following Christ with spiritual bravery.
12. Blessed are those children who have been born “from their mother’s womb”(Mt. 19:12) holy, but even more blessed are those who were born with all the inherited passions of the world, struggled with sweat and uprooted them and inherited the Kingdom of God in the sweat of their face (Cf. Gen. 3:19).
13. Blessed are those children who lived from infancy in a spiritual environment and, thus, tirelessly advanced in the spiritual life.
Thrice blessed, however, are the mistreated ones who were not helped at all (on the contrary, they were pushed towards evil), but as soon as they heard of Christ, their eyes glistened, and with a one hundred and eighty degree turn they suddenly made their soul to shine as well. They departed from the attraction of earth and moved into the spiritual sphere.
14. Fortunate, worldly people say, are the astronauts who are able to spin in the air, orbit the moon or even walk on the moon.
Blessed, however, are the immaterial “Paradise-nauts”, who ascend often to God and travel about Paradise, their place of permanent abode, with the quickest of means and without much fuel, besides one crust of bread.
15. Blessed are those who glorify God for the moon that glimmers that they might walk at night.
More blessed, however, are those who have come to understand that neither the light of the moon is of the moon, nor the spiritual light of their soul of themselves, but both are of God. Whether they can shine like a mirror, a pane of glass or the lid of a tin can, if the rays of the sun do not fall on them, it is impossible for them to shine.
16. Fortunate, worldly people tell us, are those who live in crystal palaces and have all kinds of conveniences.
Blessed, however, are those who have managed to simplify their life and become liberated from the web of this world’s development of numerous conveniences (i.e. many inconveniences), and were released from the frightening stress of our present age.
17. Fortunate, worldly people say, are those who can enjoy the goods of the world.
Blessed, however, are those who give away everything for Christ and are deprived even of every human consolation for Christ. Thus it is that they manage to be found night and day near Christ and His divine consolation, which many times is so much that they say to God: “My God, Thy love cannot be endured, for it is great and cannot be fit within my small heart”.
18. Fortunate, worldly people say, are those who have the greatest jobs and the largest mansions, since they possess all means and live comfortably.
Blessed, however, according to the divine Paul, are those who have but a nest to perch in, a little food and some coverings99• For, in this way, they’ve managed to become estranged from the vain world, using the earth as a footstool, as children of God, and their mind is constantly found close to God, their Good Father.
19. Fortunate are those who become generals and government ministers in their head by way of heavy drinking (even if just for a few hours), with the worldly rejoicing over it.
Blessed, however, are those who have put off the old man and have become incorporeal, managing to be earthly angels with the Holy Spirit. They have found Paradise’s divine faucet and drink from it and are continually inebriated from the heavenly wine.
20. Blessed are those who were born crazy and will be judged as crazy, and, in this way, will enter Paradise without a passport.
Blessed and thrice blessed, however, are the very wise who feign foolishness for the love of Christ and mock all the vanity of the world. This foolishness for Christ’s sake is worth more than all the knowledge and wisdom of the wise of this world.
I beg all the Sisters to pray for God to give me, or rather take from me my little mind, and, in this way, secure Paradise for me by considering me a fool. Or, make me crazy with His love so I go out my self, outside of the earth and its pull, for, otherwise my life as a monk has no meaning. I became externally white as a monk. As I go I become internally black by being a negligent monk, but I justify myself as one unhealthy, when I happen to be so; other times, I excuse myself again for being ill, even though I am well, and so I deserve to be thoroughly thrashed. Pray for me.
May Christ and Panagia be with you,
With love of Christ, Your Brother, Monk Paisios
(“Timiou Stavrou”, December 2, 1972).
Sister Abbess Philothei, Your blessing,
Today, a kind of craziness took hold of me and I took the pencil, as does the madman who writes his outbursts on the wall with charcoal, and I sat down to write my own things on paper like one crazed, and, again, like a lunatic, to send them to you in writing. I am doing this latter craziness out of much love for my Sisters, that they might be edified, even if only a little.
The reason for the initial craziness was five letters, one after the other, from various parts of Greece on a variety of subjects. While the events described were great blessings of God, those who wrote to me had fallen into despair because they dealt with them in a worldly way.
After replying accordingly to their letters, I took the pencil like a madman, as I have said, and wrote this epistle. I believe that even a fifty-cent piece from your journeying brother will be something toward a flint for each one of the Sisters so as to light a little candle in her cell and offer her doxology to our Good God.
I feel great joy when every Sister, with her particular cross carries out the equivalent struggle with philotimo.
It is a small thing to give to Christ a heart equal in size and as luminous as the sun out of gratitude for His great gifts, and especially for the particular honour He showed us monks by conscripting us with personal summons to His Angelic Order.
A great honour also belongs to the parents who were thus made worthy of becoming related to God. Unfortunately, however, most parents do not realize this and, instead of being grateful to God, are infuriated etc., for they see everything in a worldly way, like those people I mentioned earlier, who became the reason for me to take the pencil and write everything that follows. …”