— What is ‘experience’ in spiritual life, dearest Father?
— A comb that you acquire when you go bald.
— So, isn’t it useless?
— No, because you can then use it to comb the hair of others!
Saint Porphyrios’ words; Testimony of Metropolitan Neophytos Morfou
*Photograph above: Saint Porphyrios venerated by bees ☦️🐝
In the region of Kapandriti near Athens, a wonderful thing happens. Ten years ago, a devout beekeeper named Isidoros Ţiminis, thought to place in one of his hives an icon of the Crucifixion of the Lord. Soon thereafter, when he opened the hive, he was amazed that the bees showed respect and devotion to the icon, having “embroidered” it in wax, yet leaving uncovered the face and body of the Lord. Since then, every spring, he puts into the hives icons of the Savior, the Virgin Mary and the Saints, and the result is always the same. He placed a photograph of Elder Porphyrios (before he was canonized) in the hive, and the bees showed the same respect and veneration as towards other saints. (Mystagogy Resource Center)
“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 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
While at the Holy Skete of Kavsokalyvia on Mt. Athos, the Elder Porphyrios had given orders for his grave to be dug.
Through a spiritual child of his, he dictated a farewell letter of advice and forgiveness to all his spiritual children.
Here is the letter as it was sent to us from the Holy Convent of the Transfiguration of the Savior. It is dated June 17, 1991. It was found amongst the monk’s garments that were laid out for his burial on the day of his departure. It indicates his profound humbleness.
My dear spiritual Children,
Now that I am still in charge of my faculties, I want to give you some advice.
Ever since I was a child, I was always in sin. When my mother sent me to watch the animals on the mountain, (my father
had gone to America to work on the Panama Canal for us his children, because we were poor), there, where I shepherded
the animals, I slowly read, word by word, the life of St. John the Hut-dweller and I loved St. John very much.
I said a lot of prayers, like the young child that I was, twelve or fifteen years old, I don’t remember too well. I wanted
to follow his example. So, with a lot of difficulty, I secretly left my parents and came to Kavsokalyvia on the Holy Mountain.
I became obedient to two elders, the true brothers, Panteleimon and loannikios.
They happened to be very devout and full of virtue, I loved them very much and because of that, with their blessing,
I gave them absolute obedience. That helped me a lot. I also felt great love for God and got along very well.
However, because of my sins, God allowed me to become ill, and my elders told me to go to my parents in my village
of St. John, Evia. Although I had sinned a lot from when I was a small child, when I returned to the world I continued
to commit sins which, today are very many. The world, however, thought highly of me, and everyone shouts that I’m a saint.
I however, feel that I am the most sinful person in the world. Of course, whatever I remembered I confessed, and I know God
has forgiven me. But now I have the feeling that my spiritual sins are very many and I ask all those who have known me
to pray for me, because, for as long as I lived, I humbly prayed for you, too. Now that I’m leaving for heaven, I have the
feeling that God will say to me, “What are you doing here?” I have only one thing to say to him, “I am not worthy of here, Lord,
but whatever your love wills, it’ll do for me.” From then on, I don’t know what will happen. I however, wish for God’s love to act
I always pray that my spiritual children will love God, Who is everything, so that He will make us worthy to enter His earthly
uncreated Church. We must begin from here. I always made the effort to pray, to read the hymns of the Church, the Holy Scriptures
and the Lives of the Saints. May you do the same. I tried, by the grace of God, to approach God and may you also do the same.
I beg all of you to forgive me for whatever I did to upset you.
Hieromonk Porphyrios Kavsokalyvia, June 4/17 1991
That phone ring 🙂 At 14:35′ onwards 🙂 This Elder was sought after by the whole of Greece and all mankind. His whole life was dedicated in service to the faithful. I imagine that phone never stopped ringing, just as pilgrims never stopped coming. A saint receives everyone, that is his vocation. May we have his blessing! +2 Dec.