Αναζήτηση αυτού του ιστολογίου

Τετάρτη, 23 Μαΐου 2018

ΣΤΑΡΕΤΣ ΗΛΙΑΣ ΤΗΣ ΟΠΤΙΝΑ.Ο διάβολος είναι ένα πνεύμα, καθώς και η ψυχή μας είναι ένα πνεύμα.




Ο διάβολος είναι ένα πνεύμα, καθώς  και η ψυχή μας είναι ένα πνεύμα.



Είναι ένα πνεύμα σε εξαιρετικό βαθμό, με δύναμη και πείσμα.

Και φυσικά, πολλοί άνθρωποι σκέφτονται και τους  παίρνει τις σκέψεις τους, το μυαλό τους, τις απόφασή τους.


Και είναι πολύ λυπηρό που οι περισσότεροι άνθρωποι δεν αναγνωρίζουν την ύπαρξή του.


 Και έχει ειπωθεί τόσες πολλές φορές... όπου ο διάβολος δείχνει τον εαυτό του σχεδόν κάθε μέρα, πάντα δημιουργεί μια μνησικακία.



Και φυσικά, όλοι οι πόλεμοι, όλες οι διαμάχες, όλα τα προβλήματα και οι διχασμοί  στον κόσμο συμβαίνουν με την  συμμετοχή των σκοτεινών δυνάμεων και του διαβόλου.

Η Φιλόπτωχος Ανδρών Θεσ/ίκης υποδέχτηκε τον Θεόδωρο Β΄, με παιδιά να τραγουδούν για την Αλεξάνδρεια


Στη μνήμη του Πατριάρχου Πέτρου, ο Άγιος Μάρκος που εγκαινίασε ο Θεόδωρος Β΄ στο Άγιον Όρος


"For food, no one will be in hell ... Drink a cup of milk - do not drink blood from people!" - Archimandrite Pavel Gruzdev


Life at the monastery!


Γέροντας Ιουστίνος Η προσευχή όλων μας μαζί σου Γέροντα!


Ο ΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟΣ ΝΑΖΙΑΝΖΟΥ ΘΕΟΔΩΡΗΤΟΣ ΣΤΗΝ ΕΟΡΤΉ ΤΟΥ Ι. Ν. ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΕΛΕΝΗΣ ΟΜΟΝΟΙΑΣ


ΕΟΡΤΗ ΑΓΊΟΥ ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΕΛΕΝΗΣ ΟΜΟΝΟΙΑΣ.


Σινά - Ο Θησαυρός της Ερήμου.


Ο ΆΓΙΟΣ ΠΟΡΦΥΡΙΟΣ ΩΣ ΙΑΤΡΟΣ ΨΥΧΩΝ ΚΑΙ ΣΩΜΑΤΩΝ,


THE NATURE OF THE RESUR-RECTED STATE:



THE NATURE OF THE RESUR-RECTED STATE:
Source: “Marriage and Virginity according to St. John Chrysostom, ” by Archpriest Josiah B. Trenham, St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood (2013), pp. 233-242



The Continuity of the Resurrected State


If the Resurrection of Christ Himself is the main clue to discerning the nature of glorified humanity, what conclusion about that future state can we draw from Christ’s Resurrection? Much of St. John’s teaching on the future resurrected body occurs in his commentary on chapter 15 of St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians. St. John devoted five extended homilies to expounding the Holy Apostle’s teaching in this chapter. In these homilies St. John labored to emphasize the reality that the resurrected body maintains both a  continuity with our present fallen bodies and a discontinuity. The Resurrection is a transfiguration of our earthly and mortal bodies, not an  eradication thereof nor an entirely new creation.


St. John’s whole approach to explaining the nature of the resurrected body is a careful theological exposition designed to avoid two heretical poles that plagued the early Christian communities. On the one hand, Chrysostom sought to distance himself from a Gnostic conception of the resurrected state. It was widely believed that the influential Origen had taught that the spiritual body vouchsafed to mankind in the coming Kingdom was entirely immaterial and was not the continuation of the earthly body in a transfigured state. Origen taught that the original embodiment of man took place as a result of the fall of pure souls. The body is thus thought to be given for the perfection of the soul. Once the body has accomplished its purpose and the soul is perfected, there no longer remains a need for this material body at all. What Origen actually taught concerning this matter is not at all clear.





This theology of Origen is expressed in his interpretation of the “garments of skin” given to Adam and Eve as bodies themselves. This interpretation was not accepted by the Fathers of the Church and Origen found a vigorous opponent and instrument of censure in St. Methodius of Olympus. In his On the Resurrection, St. Methodius attacked many aspects of the original Origenism. The hierarch of Olympus opens his discourse on the Resurrection by stating: “Now the question has already been raised, and answered that the ‘garments of skin’ are not bodies. Nevertheless, let us speak of it again, for it is not enough to have mentioned it once.” Chrysostom demonstrates in his homilies his profound awareness of the diverse heretical teachings surrounding notions of the resurrected body. Commenting on St. Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians, where is found the verse For indeed we that are in this tabernacle do groan ... not for that we would be unclothed, but that we would lie clothed upon (2 Cor 5:4), Chrysostom says: “Here again he has utterly and manifestly stopped the mouths of the heretics, showing that he is not speaking absolutely of a body differing in identity, but of corruption and incorruption.”


In articulating an Orthodox position on the subject, Chrysostom relied heavily upon St. Methodius of Olympus. In a number of homilies touching on the Resurrection, St. John frequently quotes verbatim or near verbatim from St. Methodius. The human essence remains the same in the Resurrection, but the attributes are changed. Human nature remains human nature in the Resurrection.


On the other hand, Chrysostom in his teaching on the future resurrected state labored against a Jewish conception, which conceived of a sensual heaven and Resurrection. For Chrysostom, the next life is not simply a continuation of this life without its unfortunate negatives such as sickness, pain, and sorrow. Instead, it will encompass another mode of life altogether: “In the kingdom there will be no more marriage, no more labor pains, or pleasure or intercourse, or plenty of money, or management of possessions, food or clothing, or agriculture and sailing, or arts and architecture, or cities or houses, but some other condition and way of life. All these things will pass away.”


The continuity of the resurrected body with the earthly body is demonstrated in the Resurrection appearances of Jesus Christ. In these appearances Jesus clearly bears the nail prints from His Crucifixion. This reality served to prove that the resurrected body of Jesus was the very same body that was crucified.



Chrysostom notes that the heretical teaching of radical discontinuity between the resurrected body and the fallen earthly body is also untenable since St. Paul says we want not to take off the body but to put on the heavenly body and to have the mortal swallowed up by life (cf. 2 Cor 5:4). If God leaves the original body in the grave and creates another new body, then corruption is not swallowed up by life, but remains with the old body. In this case there would be no victory over death. And again, in another place (in his Homilies on First Corinthians, no. 39), St. John says: “The nature that was cast down must itself also gain the victory.



The Discontinuity of the Resurrected State


While St. John labors the importance of the continuin' of the resurrected body with our present fallen bodies, he does not fail to elucidate the great transformation  that shall take place. Our future bodies are the same an 1 not the Com¬menting on 1 Cor 15:37-38 (...and that which thou sourr. thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain it may  chance of wheat, or of some other grain; but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body...), Chrysostom teaches that the sameness is a sameness of essence, but that essence will be more glorious, beautiful, and improved. God would not destroy and raise our bodies if He did not intend to raise them better and more glorious. The future body possesses a great superiority over our present one. That body is as superior to this one as the heavenly is to the earthly, and as a permanent house is to a temporary tabernacle. The habitation which is from heaven (2 Cor. 5:2) is the incorruptible body. At the heart of this discontinuity and greater glory is the body’s reception of imperishability and immortality.


In this glorified condition, resurrected man will throw off earthly gifts such as prophecy and tongues, gifts given by God for earthly effect, and the atmosphere of mankind in the next life will be one of intense love comparable to nothing on this earth. “For here, there are many things that weaken our love; wealth, business, passions of the body, disorders of the soul; but there, none of these." Again commenting on the next life, 


St. John states that grief, concern, desire, stumbling, anger, lust for possessions, poverty, wealth, and dishonor will not exist, but “everything will be joy, everything peace, everything love, everything happiness, everything that is true, unalloyed and stable."
When he speaks about man’s knowledge, Chrysostom speaks of resurrected man in a manner reminiscent of Adam in the Garden. 


Commenting on the teaching of St. Paul that, when that which is perfect is come... knowledge shall vanish away (1 Cor 13:10, 8), St John explains: “What then? Are we to live in ignorance? Far from it. Nay, then especially it is probable that our knowledge is made intense. Wherefore also he said, Then shall I know, even as I also am known (1 Cor 13:12) ... It is not therefore knowledge that is done away with, but the circumstance that our knowledge is in part. For we shall know not only as much, but even a great deal mote.”


Contrary to the teaching of the Anomoean heretics, who filled Chrysostom’s church when he began his public preaching as a priest, this passage does not teach that man can or will ever see and know God’s essence. [The Anomoeans were a sect that upheld an extreme form of Arianism, that Jesus Christ was not of the same nature (consubstantial) as God the Father nor was of like nature [homoiousian), Ed.].


“Where are those who say they have attained and possess the fullness of knowledge? The fact is that they have really fallen into the deepest ignorance... I urge you, then, to flee from the madness of these men. They are obstinately striving to know what God is in His essence ... the prophets know neither His essence nor His wisdom, and His wisdom comes from His essence... Let us, therefore, listen to the angels so that you may know—and know abundantly—that  not even in heaven does any created power know God in His essence.”


Glorified man will perceive God as do the angels, who have to cover their eyes and who behold not the essence of God itself but a fitting condescension. When St. John the Theologian writes that no one has ever seen God, this means that no one has ever had or ever will have an exact grasp  or perfect comprehension of God.


To illustrate the fundamental ontological distance between God and man, Chrysostom puts before his listeners the question: “For what distance do you suppose there is be-tween God and man? As great as between men and worms? Or as great as between angels and worms? But when 1 have mentioned a distance even thus great, I have not at all ex-pressed it.”


To express the real distance between God and man is, in fact, impossible. Driving home his point, Chrysostom asks his hearers if they would be at all interested in having a great reputation among worms! If humans, who love glory in their pride, are not interested in the praise of worms, how much less is God, Who is far above the passion of pride, in need of or interested in any human praise. Only in His great condescension toward man does God say that He desires man’s praise, and this is solely to promote man’s salvation. This teaching on the unknowability of God’s essence should not disturb any reasonable person, for it is clear that we humans do not even know our own essences, let alone God’s!...


Though not seeing God’s essence, resurrected man will perceive all things with greater clarity  and perspicuity . So great will be the advancement and transformation of human perception that it can only be compared to the difference between a child and an adult, or between seeing darkly through a glass versus seeing face to face. To illustrate the nature of this immersing clarity, St. John uses the development of sacred rites in redemptive history. Examining the Holy Passover, Chrysostom shows that the Jews celebrated their rite “as in a mirror and darkly They could not see Christ clearly in the slaughtered lamb, in the Sprinkled blood, and in the door posts.



These Old Testament sacramental types became clear when the antitype appeared. The same will occur at the Resurrection. In this light the future state of man, as radical an alteration as it is, is nevertheless a natural process of increasing clarity. Not being capable of beholding the essence of God does not mean that glorified man will not see God. Glorified man will not only see God, but he will gaze intently upon Him and in perfect silence will continually commune with Him. These realities, in fact, are what constitute the unspeakable pleasure of heaven.

THE VISION OF ST. JOHN OF KRONSTADT





THE VISION OF ST. JOHN OF KRONSTADT


Translated by priestmonk Orestes, Christ the Saviour Orthodox Seminary.


The Holy and Righteous John of Kronstadt recalled this vision which he had in January of 1901:


After evening prayers I laid down to rest a little in my dimly lit cell since I was fatigued. Hanging before the icon of the Mother of God was my lit lampada. Not more than a half-hour had passed when I heard a soft rustle. Someone touched my left shoulder, and in a tender voice said to me, “Arise servant of God John, and follow the will of God!”



I arose and saw near the window a glorious Staretz (elder) with frosty gray hair, wearing a black mantia, and holding a staff in his hand. He looked at me tenderly, and I could scarcely keep from falling because of my great fear. My hands and feet trembled, and I wanted to speak, but my tongue would not obey me. The Staretz made the sign of the cross over me, and calm and joy soon came over me. Then I made the sign of the cross myself. He then pointed to the western wall of my cell with his staff in order that I should notice a certain spot. The Staretz had inscribed on the wall the following numbers: 1913,1914,1917,1922,1924, and 1934. Suddenly the wall vanished, and I walked with the Staretz toward a green field and saw a mass of crosses—thousands of them—standing as gravemarkers. They were wooden, clay, or gold. I asked the Staretz, “What are these crosses for?” He softly answered, “They are for those who suffered and were murdered for their faith in Christ and for the Word of God and have become martyrs!”


 And so we continued to walk.
Suddenly I saw an entire river of blood and asked the Staretz, “What is the meaning of this blood? How much has been spilled?” The Staretz looked around and replied, “This is the blood of true Christians!” The Staretz then pointed to some clouds, and I saw a mass of burning white lamps. They began to fall to the ground one after another by the tens and by the hundreds. During their descent they grew dim and turned to ashes. 


The Staretz then said to me, “Look!” I saw on a cloud seven burning lamps. I asked, “What is the meaning of the burning lamps which fell to the ground” He said, “Those are the churches of God which have fallen into heresy, but these seven lamps on the clouds are the seven Catholic and Apostolic Churches which will remain until the end of the world!”

The Staretz then pointed high into the air and I saw and heard angels singing, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord of Sabbaoth! Then a large crowd of people with candles in their hands rushed by with joy on their shining faces. They were archbishops, monks, nuns, groups of laymen, young adults, and even children and babies. I asked the wonderworking Staretz, “What is the meaning of these people?” He responded, “These are all the people who suffered for the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church, for the holy icons at the hands of the wicked destroyers.” I then asked the great Staretz if I could sit down next to them. The Staretz said, “It is too early for you to suffer, so joining them would not be blessed by God!” Again I saw a large group of infants who had suffered for Christ under Herod and had received crowns from the Heavenly King.




We walked further and went into a large church. I wanted to make the sign of the cross, but the Staretz said, “It is not necessary to cross yourself because this is a place of abomination and desolation!” The church was very gloomy. On the altar was a star and a Gospel book with stars. Candles made of tar were burning and crackling like firewood. The chalice was standing there covered by a strong stench. There wasprosphora with stars. A priest stood before the altar with a face like pitch and a woman was under the altar covered in red with a star on her lips and she screamed and laughed throughout the church saying, “I am free!” I thought “Oh, Lord, how awful!” The people, like madmen, began to run around the altar, scream, whistle, and clap their hands. Then they began to sing lecherous songs. Suddenly, light¬ning flashed, a frightening thunderbolt resounded, the earth trembled, and the church collapsed, sending the woman, the people, the priest, and the rest into the abyss. I thought “Oh Lord, how awful, save us!”




The Staretz saw what had happened as did I. I asked, “Father, tell me, what is the meaning of this frightening church?” He responded, “These are the earthly people, heretics who have abandoned the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church and recognized the newly innovated church which God has not blessed. In this church they do not fast, do not attend services, and do not receive Holy Communion!” I was frightened and said, “The Lord has pity on us, but curses those with death!” The Staretz interrupted me and said, “Do not mourn, but just pray!” Then I saw a throng of people, each of whom had a star on the lips and was terribly exhausted from thirst, walking here and there. They saw us and yelled loudly, “Holy Fathers, pray for us. It is very hard for us because we ourselves cannot. Our fathers and mothers did not teach us the Law of God. We do not even have the name of Christ, and we have received no peace. We rejected the Holy Spirit and the sign of the cross!” They began to cry.





I followed after the Staretz. “Look!” he said, pointing with his hand. I saw a mountain of human corpses stained in blood. I was very frightened, and I asked the Staretz, “What is the meaning of these dead bodies?” He replied, “These are people who lived the monastic life, were rejected by the Antichrist, and did not receive his seal. They suffered for their faith in Christ and the Apostolic Church and received martyrs crowns dying for Christ. Pray for these servants of God!”
Without warning, the Staretz turned to the north and pointed with his hand. I saw an imperial palace, around which dogs were running. Wild beasts and scorpions were roaring and charging and baring their teeth. And I saw the Tsar sitting on a throne. His face was pale and masculine. 




He was reciting the Jesus Prayer. Suddenly he fell like a dead man. His crown fell. The wild beasts, dogs, and scorpions trampled on the anointed Sovereign. I was frightened and cried bitterly. The Staretz took me by my right shoulder. I saw a figure shrouded in white—it was Nicholas II. On his head was a wreath of green leaves, and his face was white and somewhat bloodied. He wore a gold cross around his neck and was quietly whispering a prayer. And then he said to me with tears, “Pray for me, Fr. John. Tell all Orthodox Christians that I, the Tsar-martyr, died manfully for my faith in Christ and the Orthodox Church. Tell the Holy Fathers that they should serve a Panahida for me, a sinner, but there will be no grave for me!”


Soon everything became hidden in the fog. I cried bitterly praying for the Tsar-martyr. My hands and feet trembled from fear. The Staretz said, “Look!” Then I saw a throng of people scattered about the land who had died from starvation while others were eating grass and vegetation. Dogs were devouring the bodies of the dead, and the stench was terrible. I thought, “Oh Lord, these people had no faith. From their lips they expelled blasphemy, and for this they received God’s anger.”



I also saw an entire mountain of books and among the books worms were crawling, emitting a terrible stench. I asked the Staretz, “What is the meaning of these books?” He said, “These books are the Godlessness and blasphemy which will infect all Christians with heretical teachings!” Then the Staretz touched his staff to some of the books, and they ignited into flames. The wind scattered the ashes.


Further on, I saw a church around which was a large pile of prayer intentions for the departed. I bent over and wanted  to read them, but the Staretz said, “These prayer requests for the dead have been lying here for many years, and the priests have forgotten about them. They are never going to read them, but the dead will ask someone to pray for them!” I asked, “Who will they get to pray for them?” The Staretz answered: “The angels will pray for them!”



We proceeded further, and the Staretz quickened the pace so that I could hardly keep up with him. “Look!” he said. I saw a large crowd of people being persecuted by demons, who were beating them with stakes, pitchforks, and hooks. I asked the Staretz, “What is the meaning of these people?” He answered, “These are the ones who renounced their faith and left the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church and accepted the new innovative church. This group represents priests, monks, nuns, and laymen who renounced their vows or marriage, and engaged in drinking and all sorts of blasphemy and slander. All of these have terrible faces and a terrible stench comes from their mouths. The demons beat them, driving them into the terrible abyss, from where hellfire comes forth.” I was terribly frightened. I made the sign of the cross while praying, “Lord deliver us from such a fate!”


I then saw a group of people, both old and young, all of whom were terribly dressed, and who were raising a large, five pointed star. On each corner were twelve demons and in the middle was satan himself with terrifying horns and a straw head. He emitted a noxious foam onto the people while pronouncing these words, “Arise you accursed ones with the seal of...” Suddenly many demons appeared with branding irons and on all the people they placed the seal on their lips, above the elbow and on their right hands. I asked the Staretz, “What is the meaning of this?” He responded, “This is the mark of the Antichrist!” I made the sign of the cross and followed after the Staretz.


He suddenly stopped and pointed to the east with his hand. I saw a large gathering of people with joyous faces carrying crosses and candles in their hands. In their midst stood a large altar as white as snow. On the altar was the cross and the Holy Gospel and over the altar was the aer with a golden imperial crown on which was written in golden letters, “For the short term.” Patriarchs, bishops, priests, monks, nuns, and laymen stood around the altar. They were all singing, Glory to God in the highest and peace  on earth. Out of great joy I made the sign of the cross and praised God.


Suddenly the Staretz waved his cross upwards three times, and I saw mountain of corpses covered in human blood and above them angels were flying. They were taking the souls of those murdered for the Word of God to heaven while they sang Alleluia!


I observed all this and cried loudly. The Staretz took me by the hand and forbade me to cry. “What is pleasing to God is that Our Lord Jesus Christ suffered and shed His precious blood for us. Such ones will become martyrs who do not accept the seal of the Antichrist, and all who shed their blood will receive heavenly crowns.” The Staretz then prayed for these servants of God and pointed to the east as the words of the Prophet Daniel came true, Abomination of desolation.


Finally, I saw the cupola of Jerusalem. Above it was a star. Within the church millions of people thronged and still many more were trying to enter. I wanted to make the sign of the cross, but the Staretz grabbed my hand and said, “Here is the abomination of desolation!” So we entered into the church, and it was full of people.


I saw an altar on which tallow candles were burning. On the altar was a king in red, blazing, porphyry. On his head was a golden crown with a star. I asked the Staretz, “Who is this?” He replied, “The Antichrist!” He was very tall with eyes like fire, black eyebrows, a wedge-shaped beard, a ferocious, cunning, evil, and terrible face. He alone was on the altar and he reached his hands out to the people. He had claws as those of a tiger for hands and he shouted, “I am King. I am God. I am the Leader. He who does not have my seal will be put to death.”



All the people fell down and worshipped him, and he began to place his seal on their lips and on their hands in order that they should receive some bread and not die from hunger and thirst. Around the Antichrist his servants were leading several people whose hands were bound as they had not bowed down to worship him. They said, “We are Christians, and we all believe in our Lord Jesus Christ!” The Antichrist ripped off their heads in a flash and Christian blood began to flow. A child was then led to the altar of the Antichrist to worship him, but he boldly proclaimed, “I am a Christian and believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, but you are a minister, a servant of satan!” “Death to him!” exclaimed the Antichrist. Others who accepted the seal of the Antichrist fell down and worshipped him.


Suddenly, a roar of thunder resounded and a thousand lightning flashes began to sparkle. Arrows began to strike the servants of the Antichrist. Then a large flaming arrow flashed by and hit the Antichrist himself on the head. As he waved his hand, his crown fell and was crushed into the ground. Then millions of birds flew in and perched on the servants of the Antichrist. I felt the Staretz take me by the hand.


We walked further on, and I again saw much Christian blood. It was here that I remembered the words of Saint John the Theologian in the book of Revelation that blood would be up to the horse’s bridle. I thought, “Oh my God, save us!” At that time I saw angels flying and singing, Holy, Holy, Holy. Lord of Sabbaoth! The Staretz looked back and went on to say, “Do not grieve, for soon, very soon, will come the end of the world! Pray to the Lord. God be merciful to His servants!”


Time was drawing near to a close. He pointed to the east, fell to his knees and began to pray so I prayed with him. Then the Staretz began to quickly depart from the earth to the heights of heaven. As he did so, I remembered that I did not know his name, so I cried out loudly, “Father, what is your name?” He tenderly replied, “Seraphim of Sarov!”
That is what I saw, and this is what I have recorded for Orthodox Christians.


A large bell rang above my head, and I heard the sound and arose from bed. “Lord, bless and help me through the prayers of the great Staretz  You have enlightened me, the sinful servant, the priest John of Kronstadt.”


 ORTHODOX HERITAGE VOL 16. ISSUS 05-06.

There is a huge difference between Buddhist and Orthodox asceticism. Elder Sophrony of Essex (+1993)




There is a huge difference between Buddhist and Orthodox asceticism. In Buddhism they try to make a disclaimer and they reach nirvana. They confuse a reflection with mystical vision. They see created light with their mind. This was best done with Plotinus, in Neo-Platonism. The Fathers know this, and we can call it the “cloud of unknowing,” but they went beyond this and reached the vision of the uncreated Light. Then they experience that the Light comes from a Person and not from an idea, and they feel a personal relationship with God and, at the same time, there develops a great love for God and the whole world until martyrdom and “self-hatred.”


Some say that meditation brings them a certain peace. Externally this appears good, but these people are possessed by conceit and this results in carnal warfare. Even if they leave Buddhism, they again have carnal warfare. This shows the satanism of this method.


Others say that Buddhism has nothing to do with demonism. However, those who speak thus know Buddhism only from books and speak theoretically. Action is different.



Elder Sophrony of Essex (+1993)

A TRUE PRIEST OF GOD: ELDER EPIPHANIOS (+1989)





A TRUE PRIEST OF GOD: ELDER EPIPHANIOS (+1989)




Source: “Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit: The Lives and Counsels of Contemporary Elders of Greece, ” by H. Middleton, Protection Veil Press (2003), pp. 63-71.    


On December 27,1930, in the small town of Vournazion in the southwestern Peloponnese, the blessed Elder Epiphanios (Theodoropoulos) was born into the world. His pious parents John and Georgia gave the name Eteoklis to this their first of six children. Despite all the attention he received as the first-born child, Eteoklis spurned worldly attention from an early age. He focused his attention on Christ, following the pious example of his mother and particularly of his aunt. (His aunt, Alexandra, had an especially important influence on his life, a fact that Fr. Epiphanios referred to many times. In addition to playing an important role in his early education and upbringing, she also helped him during his years as an archimandrite (in Athens).


As a child of two he would tell people of his desire to become a priest, and donning a sheet, would play priest. From the tender age of five he attended all the services of the local church, fasting and preparing for Holy Communion in the same way as the Church prescribes for adults. One Sunday, in fact, concerned for the boy’s health (he was particularly thin at the time), his aunt tried to get him to drink a glass of milk before leaving for the liturgy. The boy was visibly upset and responded, “Shall we go to church with a full stomach? How will we pray? How will we take antidoron  Are we going just to listen to the service?”


Eteoklis would arrive early for church, often before the priest. Early one Sunday morning, the village priest went to prepare things for the liturgy. On arriving at the church, he could just make out a pair of eyes looking at him in the darkness from the doorway of the church. Afraid that the person might be dangerous, he went to Eteoklis’ house to see if he had left for church yet. On hearing the story his aunt Alexandra laughed, “Ah! My dear father, what are you afraid of?! It’s Eteoklis waiting for you with lit charcoal for the censer.”


One evening, on learning that his aunts would be going to an early morning liturgy in one of the many chapels that dot the countryside, Eteoklis begged them to take him with them. Despite their assurances that they would wake him, the young Eteoklis sensed that they would not follow through on their word, as they had done in the past. In his zeal for the Church’s services, he decided to hide his aunts’ shoes so that they would be forced to wake him, and take him with them!


When he was old enough, Eteoklis was sent to the school in the nearest large town, Kalamata. He was a good student and enjoyed his studies, except for mathematics. His remark to his aunt is characteristic: “What do I need math for? Am I going to become a merchant? I’m going to become a priest!” From early on in his academic career he distinguished himself by his love for study and his fine character. Both his fellow students as well as his teachers recognized this, and he was thus sought after to serve in various positions of authority and responsibility.


Eteoklis did not spend his time and energies in many of the normal pursuits of young people, but rather in reading Holy Scripture as well as the works of the Fathers. He began his theological training on his own while he was in junior high school and thus developed his belief, oft-repeated, that it is not the university that creates the scholar, but rather one’s commitment to a “study-chair,” that is to say, his personal study. In addition to his academic studies, Eteoklis did not neglect his spiritual development and thus spent a great deal of time not only in the Church’s services, but also visiting what he called the “aristocracy” of Orthodoxy, the monasteries. In particular he would often visit the Voulcanou Monastery, located near Kalamata.


In 1949 Eteoklis moved to Athens, having successfully com-pleted his studies in Kalamata. He enrolled at the Theological School of the University of Athens, but, having a great appetite for knowledge, he didn’t limit himself to the study of theology. Following the example of the Cappadocian Fathers and other great Fathers of the Church, Eteoklis threw himself into the study of Greek and foreign authors, philosophers, poets, historians, scholars, and apologists from ancient times to the present. In addition to his personal study, he would also attend lectures at the Schools of Law, Philosophy and Medicine, among others, so as to broaden his knowledge.


 Many of his professors, recognizing his intellectual gifts, encouraged him to continue his studies abroad so as to return and follow the path of university teaching. Eteoklis refused however, unwilling to sacrifice the grandeur of the priesthood for the lower path of scholarship. Instead of going abroad for graduate studies, he preferred to specialize in the “science” of the spiritual life at the “university” of the monastery. He believed that it is necessary for each candidate to the priesthood (and especially celibate priests) to spend time in monasteries so as to better prepare spiritually for pastoral service. During his years in Athens, Eteoklis frequently visited the Monastery of Longovarda on the island of Paros. The abbot of the monastery there, the blessed Elder Philotheos (Zervakos), was his spiritual father until his repose in 1980.


In the sphere of academics Eteoklis’ greatest love was the study of Holy Scripture. He would study the whole of the Old and New Testament from the ancient text, three times each year. He referred to Scripture frequently, using it as his main source in speaking and writing. When asked what he would have studied had theological studies not been an option, he replied, medicine or law: medicine, as it is the most philanthropic science, and law, as the lawyer has the possibility of greatly affecting society by championing the cause of the good and by protecting the innocent.


In November 1956, Eteoklis’ childhood dream was realized when he was ordained to the diaconate by Metropolitan Ierotheos of Aitolia and Akarnania, and was given the new name Epiphanios. That same year he also published his first book, Holy Scripture and the Evil Spirits. The years of his diaconate were spent mostly in Kalamata where he had the opportunity to continue his study of the Fathers as well as to spend time with important ecclesiastical personalities of his day.


Elder Epiphanios had patiently waited until after his twenty- fifth birthday to be ordained to the diaconate, so as to remain faithful to the precision of the Church’s canons regarding the age at which men may be ordained deacon. Though he never disregarded the need and use of Economy as regards the canons, and made use of it in his pastoral service, when it came to himself, he was very strict and insisted on keeping them precisely. He was accused, at various times, of having a pharisaical attachment to the holy canons. His answer, however, was that many people in the Church today, by seeking ways to reject them, are in fact rejecting gifts which the Holy Spirit has given the Church. His insistence on the keeping of the canons was inspired by his reverence and obedience toward the Holy Spirit Who inspired them and the Holy Fathers who wrote them.

In 1961 Elder Epiphanios was ordained to the priesthood by Metropolitan Ambrose of Eleftheroupolis. The Elder followed the example of the Apostle Paul in serving the Church without pay or benefits. In order to survive, he worked as an editor of the publications of the Astir publishing house. One of his spiritual children once suggested that he get on the Church’s payroll, not to earn money, but to ensure insurance and pension. He refused, insisting that God, as a good and faithful “Employer” does not leave His “employees” without pay.


Elder Epiphanios’ desire was to serve the Church in a quiet and invisible way. He was granted his wish with a position as priest of the little chapel of the Three Great Hierarchs, in downtown Athens. It was here that he zealously served the suffering people of God as confessor. Despite the strictness of his approach to spiritual counsel, crowds of people from all walks of life flocked to him for guidance and spiritual comfort. Although he suffered along with those who came to him, at the same time his work brought him the greatest peace.
In addition to his work as priest and confessor, he also served the Church through the twenty-two books and many articles he authored. His opinion was sought after by bishops, priests, monks and laymen, to help them answer many of the complex theological and ethical problems of the contemporary world. Because of the great respect the faithful had for him, he was asked many times to become bishop, an honor that he refused.


Although Elder Epiphanios lived most of his life in the heart of Athens, he managed to keep a strict rule of prayer. First thing in the morning, having said morning prayers, he would read the service of Matins along with the canons from the Menaion and from the Paraklitiki. When his morning rule of prayer had ended he would spend time in study or writing and then begin his pastoral work, receiving guests, or visiting people, according to the needs of the day. 


His work would barely stop for lunch, during which he would meet with people or speak with them on the telephone. At about five o’clock in the afternoon he would begin the evening services with Vespers followed by a Supplicatory Canon. He would then leave for the chapel of the Three Great Hierarchs, where he would receive people for confession, after which he would visit the sick and suffering in the hospitals. On his return home there would usually be people waiting for him or telephone calls to receive. He would have a late dinner, read Small Compline and the Akathist to the Mother of God, and then attempt to sleep, as he suffered from insomnia.

The Elder’s insomnia eventually grew so bad that he prayed for divine assistance. During one such sleepless night, he picked up the New Testament and looked for some understanding of his struggle. His eyes immediately fell upon St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, verse 12:7, “there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.” Elder Epiphanios was grateful for God’s answer to his prayer, that at least he knew his suffering was allowed by God. On two other occasions, having reached the limits of his strength, he asked God for His assistance and, opening the New Testament, immediately received the same response. Not so bold as to ask the same thing a fourth time, he simply suffered on.

In 1976, at the urging and with the help of his spiritual children, Elder Epiphanios founded the Holy Hesychasterion of the Keharitomeni (“Most Graceful”) Mother of God in Trizina, in the Peloponnese, a few hours from Athens. His hope of providing a place of monastic struggle for those of his spiritual sons who sought the monastic life was thus realized. He continued his service in the world as well, however, dividing his time between Athens and his monastery.


Not long after the foundation of the monastery, the Elder’s health began to deteriorate. His demanding regime had taken its toll, and in December 1982 he was operated on in Athens. He had been suffering from stomach ailments and was diagnosed with gastrorrhagia (severe stomach ulcers), which in his case had the danger of developing into cancer. The operation was very taxing on him and the surgeon ended up removing three-quarters of his stomach. The Elder’s health continued to plague him and eventually left him in such a state that he was completely confined to his bed, unable to sit up. Having arranged for his funeral and burial he prepared himself spiritually for his repose. At four o’clock on November 10,1989, at the age of 58, he gave his soul into the hands of God.