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Πέμπτη, 7 Οκτωβρίου 2021

+ Fr. Pavlos of Sinai [1939-2020]





 RAIN IN THE DESERT


+ Fr. Pavlos of Sinai [1939-2020]


Early March 2005. Journey to Sinai. Reception room. Fr. Pavlos welcomes the pilgrims, but also the nuns who arrived from [another place in Sinai] to ask him to pray for rain for their monastery. Not a drop had fallen all winter in their area, they said. I listen to them and smile. How is it possible for the weather to change according to the desires of people? I was reminded of similar stories by the elders, but being of weak faith, I am skeptical.


I do not say anything but cannot accept their "simplicity." Vespers. Tomorrow we will participate in the Liturgy with Fr. Pavlos at St. George the Arselaite, said Fr. Michael, a deacon then. If you want to, come. At dawn, in Toyota jeeps, 1960s model, we crossed the desert with Bedouin guides. At every obstacle there was an unanticipated solution. One-and-a-half-hour trek. The gorge is in front of us. Rocks. Another one-and-a-half-hour walk on foot to the desolate place. We finally arrived at the hermitage of the Arselaite. (He is celebrated on March 11).

 

The church is spare, cared for by the monastery. Surrounding us at a distance, Bedouins observe us with curiosity. Having prepared the holy altar, Fr. Pavlos began to serve. His deacon was Fr. Michael. It becomes cloudy. By prayers. Coffee, joy in the courtyard. And it begins to drizzle. Yes, my God, it is drizzling in the desert. It's raining. We climb the cliffs. It's raining, o God! We return to the desert, to the sand. It's raining. Soaked. We gathered dry branches and lit a fire to dry.

 

And Father Pavlos had great joy, he was shining. My eyes did not believe what they saw. The jeeps were waiting. Return. Torrents ran down in the mountains, streams in the desert. We arrived at the monastery. They do not remember such water, they told us. And I also glorified God, the little-of-faith who dared consider the stories of the elders fairy tales. Fr. Pavlos smiled without speaking, but there was joy in his eyes. Glory to You, o God. 

 

In the dental clinic of the monastery, I relieve those suffering. Monks, Bedouins, their wives. Extractions, fillings. The assistant, my daughter. Blessing. And the Geronta wanted to show us their village. We arrived and it reminded me of Christ's entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. The Bedouins gave such a reception for Fr. Pavlos. Festival. Abouna, abouna, they called him. ‘Abouna’ meant their father. And they kissed his hand as though he were their own. Father Pavlos smiled and gave them his blessing. Glory to You, o God.

 

+Father Pavlos reposed in the early morning of Sunday, March 1st. May his memory be eternal.


Translated from Greek from the Blog of Ioannis Froudarakis with more stunning photos: https://froudarakis1.blogspot.com/2020/03/



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