Αναζήτηση αυτού του ιστολογίου

Πέμπτη, 24 Ιουνίου 2021

An incident that happened to the monk Cyril of Karelia.


An incident that happened to the monk Cyril of Karelia.

One day Father Cyril went out into the courtyard of his hut and breathed in the fresh morning air. The elder had already lived on Athos for many years, but every day it was as if he felt afresh its wonderful atmosphere of prayerful silence.

Suddenly, Father Cyril was struck on the head as if by a kick in the head: profanity, blasphemous words reached his ears! The monk could not believe his ears - who here on the Holy Mountain could speak so rudely about Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary?

Father Cyril went in the direction from which the voices and coarse laughter were heard; it turned out that it was the Athenian workers, who were felling wood near Father Cyril's cell, who were talking to each other.

When they saw the monk, the loggers fell silent. "Well, now he's going to start preaching," each of them probably thought. But Father Cyril was not going to do that. In tears he got down on his knees and begged the workers not to swear anymore.

The lumberjacks were at a loss. This was not what they had expected! Almost crying themselves, they rushed to lift the elderly monk from his knees.

"Father, come on, really! Well, forgive us, for God's sake, we promise we will never say a swear word again!" the workers said.

They parted with the monk as friends. Since then, the loggers, shocked by Father Cyril's behavior, carefully watched themselves and instead of swearing, prayed to themselves.

Elder Cyril of Karelia explained this change very simply: "It is not necessary to scold and rebuke people," he said. - That will not do any good. But humility and kindness can touch someone's heart and awaken piety in him in a single minute".

New Athos Patericon.

Η Οδός των Αγίων ...


Η Οδός των Αγίων ...
Ειναι η ταπεινωση!
Συναντηση Αγιων...
Οὔτε μίτρες, οὔτε εγκόλπια, 
οὔτε πατερίτσες, οὔτε παρατρεχάμενοι. 
Συνάντηση ἐν ἁπλότητι. 
Τοὐτέστιν Ὀρθοδόξως.

Ὁ μακαριστός μητροπολίτης Σιατίστης Ἀντώνιος ἐξομολογεῖτο στόν πατέρα Ἰωάννη Καλαΐδη. 
Τόν εἶχε πνευματικό τόν παπα-Γιάννη.

Ὑπάρχουν καί ἐπίσκοποι, πού ἐξομολογοῦνται... Δόξα τῷ Θεῷ!
Παρά τό πλῆθος τῶν ἁμαρτημάτων μας, δέν μᾶς ἐγκατέλειψε ἀκόμα ἐντελῶς.
Μέ τέτοιους Ἁγίους δίπλα μας, 
θά εἴμαστε ἀναπολόγητοι...

Τί τρυφερή, μεγαλειώδης, οὐράνια σκηνή! 
Ὁ υἱός (ἐπίσκοπος) ἀσπάζεται τόν πατέρα (παπᾶ)!
Τολμῶ νά πῶ, ὅτι στήν σκηνή αὐτή εἰκονίζεται ὁ Παράδεισος...!

🌿Συνεργείο Προσευχής 
ΚΩΝ. ΣΥΜΠΟΥΡΑ


(Το τι γινόταν κάτω από το πετραχήλι δεν θα το περιγράψω.)



1989. Προσπαθώντας να ξεφύγω από τα αδιέξοδα στα οποία έφτασα μετά από πέντε χρόνια διαλογισμού, από προτροπή φίλου αποφάσισα να γίνω Πεντηκοστιανός.

Βαπτίστηκα στις αλάνες της Ν Ηρακλείτσας Καβάλας .

Έμεινα κοντά τους πέντε περίπου μήνες.

Τα προβλήματα όμως παρέμειναν....

Μου μίλησαν για τον π. Βασίλη Καραγκιαούρη.

Τον επισκέφτηκα .

Από την πρώτη στιγμή δίχως να γνωρίζει το παρελθόν μου ,άρχισε να μου διαβάζει ευχές μπρος στην θαυματουργή εικόνα της Παναγίας Φανερωμένης.

(Το τι γινόταν κάτω από το πετραχήλι δεν θα το περιγράψω.)

Μετά από δέκα περίπου μέρες όταν ήδη άρχισα να νοιώθω καλύτερα μου ανακοίνωσε ότι πρέπει να προετοιμαστώ και την επόμενη Κυριακή να κοινωνήσω.

Ήρθε η Κυριακή , μπήκα γεμάτος χαρά στην ουρά, άνοιξα το στόμα και μόλις κατάπια τη Θεία Κοινωνία..... αισθάνθηκα κρύο ιδρώτα από την κορυφή ως τα νύχια και χάθηκαν τα πάντα από μπροστά μου....

.....Συνήλθα έπειτα από μισή περίπου ώρα.

Απ' ότι μου είπαν ,ο παπάς έτρεξε, άφησε το Άγιο Δισκοπότηρο στην Αγία Τράπεζα , και ζήτησε από δύο παρευρισκόμενους να με κρατάνε συνέχεια σε ένα στασίδι.

Είχα χάσει κάθε επαφή με το περιβάλλον και έτρεμα σαν το ψάρι.....

(Χρειάστηκε να εξομολογηθώ και να λάβω το Άγιο Χρίσμα . Στην ουσία ξανά βαπτίστηκα Ορθόδοξος.

Τότε μόνον μπόρεσα να πλησιάσω την Θεία Κοινωνία.

Τα γράφω για κάποιους φίλους που ερωτοτροπούν με τις αιρέσεις

και για κάποιες μαμάδες που νομίζουν ότι δίνουν στα παιδάκια τους ψωμάκι και κρασάκι )

Τετάρτη, 23 Ιουνίου 2021

Αναφέρει Προσκυνητής για τα εμβόλια.


παρατηρώ ξανά ότι.. 

κάποιοι από αυτούς που κάναν το εμβόλιο έχουν γίνει επιθετικοί ακόμα και απέναντι σε γνωστούς και παλιούς φίλους.. χωρίς κανένα ιδιαίτερο λόγο... 

κάποιοι από αυτούς που κάναν το εμβόλιο έχουν αποκτήσει το σύνδρομα του γενίτσαρου.. δηλαδή έχουν γίνει πιό επιθετικοί, πιο΄πιεστικοί από τους παλιους μουσουλμάνους , απέναντι στους πρώην ομόθρησκούς τους Χριστιανούς... 

κάποιοι από αυτούς που κάναν το εμβόλιο πιέζουν, λοιδωρούν ακόμα και απειλούν αυτούς που έχουν αμφιβολίες και δεν θέλουν να εμβολιασθούν.. 

φασιστική, αυταρχική νοοτροπία που δείχνει προς τα που ρέπει ένα κομμάτι των συμπολιτών μας..
οι ατομικές ελευθερίες, το σύνταγμα, οι δημακρατικές ευαισθησίες, ο όρκος του Ιπποκράτη, οι αποφάσεις του δικαστηρίου της Νυρεμβέργης κατά των υποχρεωτικών ιατρικών πράξεων που έκαναν οι Ναζί στα Θύματά τους, δεν έχουν καμία αξία για αυτούς... αντίθετα επιδεικνύουν την ίδια νοοτροπία με τους Ναζί.. την επιβολή διά της βίας και περιφρόνηση και μίσος απέναντι στους έχοντας διαφορετική άποψη- γνώμη.

ΤΑ ΛΟΓΙΑ ΤΗΣ ΣΚΑΛΑΣ ΤΟΥ ΑΓΙΟΥ ΝΕΚΤΑΡΙΟΥΚΑΙ ΤΑ ΛΟΓΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΚΑΦΕ.


ΤΑ ΛΟΓΙΑ ΤΗΣ ΣΚΑΛΑΣ ΤΟΥ ΑΓΙΟΥ ΝΕΚΤΑΡΙΟΥ
ΚΑΙ ΤΑ ΛΟΓΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΚΑΦΕ
   Καταγραφὴ λόγων τοῦ Γέροντα Ἀνανία  Κουστένη
2018-2019 
 

ΕΙΣΑΓΩΓΗ
 
Τὰ λόγια τῆς σκάλας τὰ ἀφιερώνω σὲ σένα, ἀδελφέ μου Νίκο Ὀρφανίδη, ποὺ εἶσαι μακριὰ καὶ συγχρόνως πολὺ κοντὰ μας, στὴν ἀγκαλιὰ τοῦ ἁγίου Νεκταρίου, στὴν Νεάπολη, κοντὰ στὰ Ἐξάρχεια. Εἶναι σπαράγματα σοφίας ἀπὸ τὸ στόμα τοῦ Γέροντὰ μας Ἀνανία, ποὺ σκέφτηκα νὰ ἀρχίσω νὰ τὰ καταγράφω, γιὰ νὰ μὴν πᾶν χαμένα καὶ νὰ στὰ στέλνω σὰν ἀντίδωρο, μιᾶς καὶ ὁ Γέροντας τὰ λέει στὴν σκάλα τοῦ ἁγίου Νεκταρίου, μετὰ τὴν Θεία Λειτουργία, καὶ ἀφοῦ ἐμοίρασε σὲ ὅλους τοὺς παρόντες εὐχὲς καὶ ἀντίδωρα.

Σκέφτηκα, τὸ λοιπόν, ἐσύ, γιατί νὰ ἀδικεῖσαι, ἀφοῦ κάθε φορὰ εἶσαι νοερὰ παρὼν στὸ Ψαλτήρι, ἀνάμεσα σὲ μένα καὶ στὸν Θοδωράκη μας, τὸν ἀρχιψάλτη;

Ἐκεῖ, μετὰ τὸ «Δι’  εὐχῶν», τὰ ἀντίδωρα καὶ τὶς εὐχές, κατεβαίνει τὴν σκαλίτσα ὑποβασταζόμενος ἀπὸ τὸν Γρηγοράκη καὶ λέει πράγματα σοφὰ καὶ ἐμεῖς, ὁ Σταύρακας καὶ κανὰ δυὸ ἄλλοι ἀδελφοί, τὰ ἀκοῦμε καὶ πάντα σκέπτομαι: «Τί κρίμα; Δὲν ὑπάρχουν μαγνητόφωνα σὲ αὐτὴ τὴν διαδρομὴ καὶ ὅλα αὐτὰ θὰ ξεχαστοῦν. Θὰ πᾶν χαμένα». 

Ὅμως πιστεύω πὼς αὐτὰ ποὺ βγαίνουν ἀπ’ τὸ στόμα του, ἔτσι φρεσκολειτουργημένος καὶ νεκραναστημένος ἀπὸ τοὺς ἄφθονους τοὺς σκώλωπες «τῇ σαρκί», ποὺ ἐπιτρέπει στοὺς δικούς Του ὁ Χριστὸς μας, δὲν εἶναι τοῦ «Ἀνανία τοῦ ἀναξίου Ἱερομονάχου». Εἶναι τοῦ Ἁγίου Πνεύματος τὰ ὡραιότερα.

Γι’ αὐτὸ ἀποφάσισα νὰ σοῦ τὰ στέλνω λίγα -λίγα καὶ σύ, εἶναι δικὰ σου, κάντα ὅ,τι θέλεις. Γιὰ μένα καὶ μόνο τὸ χαμόγελο στὸ πρόσωπό σου, ὅταν τὰ διαβάζεις, μοῦ φθάνει. Δέξου τὰ σὰν ἀντίδωρο, γιὰ ὅσα μᾶς προσφέρεις μὲ τὰ βιβλία ποὺ μᾶς χάρισες τοῦ Γέροντὰ μας.

ΣΤΕΦΑΝΟΣ ΔΗΜΟΠΟΥΛΟΣ
Ἀναγνώστης -Ἰατρὸς

Τά σαράντα του Γέροντα μας Ανανία Κουστένη.

Το πετραχήλι του Γέροντα Ανανία.
Λευκό σάν την ψυχή του.
Δικέφαλος ἀετός βυζαντινός ὅπου ἡ καρδιά καί ἡ καταγωγή του ἀπ την βυζαντινή Καρκαλού της Γορτυνίας,
Σταυρός ὅπως ἡ βιωτή του με χίλια βάσανα τυραννισμένη.

Ἁπλό φτωχικό ἀλλά ἀρχοντικό ,με μιά σειρά σταυρουδάκια στήν γαρνιτούρα ,οὔτε χρυσοκλωστές οὔτε διαμάντια. Σταυρουδάκια σάν τις ψυχές μας πού «ἔπαιρνε» στήν πλάτη του καί ἀνέπαυε στό Πετραχήλι του.

Καί μιά φωτογραφία ἀπό πάνω χαμογελαστός ὅπως πάντα ,ἀκόμα καί σάν θύμωνε καί μας ἔβριζε. Ἐσύ Γιατρέ , ξέρω ,δέν συμφωνεῖς με αὐτά ἀλλά ἐγώ ὅμως βρίζω... -Καλά κάνεις Γέροντα του ἀπάντησα ,γιατί ἀλλιῶς θά σε περάσουνε γιά Ἅγιο καί ἀλλοίμονό σου.. -Αμ , αὐτό πού το πᾶς;; Καί ξαναγύριζε το χαμόγελο στήν μορφή του.
Κάθησα Νικολάκη μου μπροστά -μπροστά σε ἕνα στασίδι πού ἦταν 1-2 μέτρα ἀπό το τραπεζάκι με τα κόλλυβα καί το πετραχήλι του καί την φωτογραφία του ἀπό πάνω καί εἶπα νά βγάλω μιά φωτογραφία νά σου στείλω. Δέν ἐπιστράτευσα  τέχνη φωτογραφική ἤ οφθαλμολογική ἀλλά ἀπό μόνη της  ετουτη ἡ φωτογραφία πού σου στέλνω δείχνει τον Γέροντα μας σάν νά λειτουργεῖ καί ἡ μορφή του γέμισε την Ὡραία Πύλη.
Χοροστατοῦσε ὁ Θεόφιλος, Ἐπίσκοπος Ρωγῶν καί ἄλλοι ἐννέα ἱερεῖς συλλειτουργοῦσαν, μίλησε καί ὁ πατήρ Σιλουανός καί εἶπε κάτι ὄνειρα συγκινητικά πού εἶχε με τον Γέροντα μας ὁλόκληρες συνομιλίες καί χάρηκα πολύ νά σου πῶ την ἀλήθεια μου γιατί εἶδα πώς δέν εἶμαι ὁ μόνος ἀλλά γιά αὐτά δέν θέλω νά ὁμιλῶ μήν με περάσουνε γιά ἀλαφροϊσκιωτο ἤ πλανεμένο. Με βάλαν καί εἶπα Νικολάκη μου το 'Πιστεύω” ,ἔλειπες βλέπεις καί ἐσύ πού στό ἔδινε τιμητικά ὁ Γέροντάς μας. Μας διάβασε Ἀπόστολο”ὁ “Πρύτανις” πού ὀνόμαζε ὁ Γέροντας τον Δημήτρη καί ὁ Σταύρακας διάβασε το “Πάτερ ἡμῶν” σάν τον παλιό καλό καιρό πού εἴχαμε τον Γέροντα κοντά μας. Την ὥρᾳ πού ξεκίνησα το διάβασμα σκύβη ὁ Θοδωρακης ὁ Αρχιψάλτης του παππουλη καί μου λέει:Ἀργά καί καθαρά! Ἐκεῖ στό τέλος πού ὁμολογῶ ἕν Βάπτισμα με πήρανε τα κλάματα καί ἔσπασε ἡ φωνῆ μου Νικολάκη μου. Θυμήθηκα πού με διόρθωνε τότε στήν ἀρχή πρίν ἀπό χρόνια ΕΝ!!!! ΕΝ!!!. -Μά ἕνα εἶπα Γέροντα... -Ξαναπέστο!! Ἵδρωσα νά καταλάβω την διαφορά. Δέν εἶναι βλέπεις ἕνα βαπτισματάκι ἐκεῖ πέρα ἀλλά το ΕΝ καί μοναδικό βάπτισμα πού τρέμουν οἱ δαίμονες. Ὅλα αὐτά μου ἦλθαν στήν μνήμη μου σάν κινηματογραφική ταινία καί συγκινήθηκα καί ὅταν τέλειωσα ὅπως -ὅπως την ἀνάγνωση γύρισα στό στασίδι μου με λυγμούς γιά λίγη ὥρα. Νὰ εἶναι ἤ ευσυγκινησία των γηρατειῶν;; Νά εἶναι ἡ ἐπίσκεψη της ψυχῆς του Ἁγίου Παππουλάκου μας;Σήμερα στά σαράντα του φέρνουν οἱ ἄγγελοι τήν ψυχή ἐνώπιον του θρόνου του Θεοῦ καί γίνεται ἡ πρώτη κρίση καί ἡ ἐκκλησία ὅλη σύσσωμη συμπαραστέκεται σε αὐτήν τήν κρίση. Καί εἶμαι σίγουρος πώς εἶναι ἤδη με παρέα ζηλευτή ,τον Γέροντα του Ὅσιο Πορφύριο τον Καυσοκαλυβίτη καί τον ἄλλο Πορφύριο τον παραδελφό του τον Δελή πού προηγήθηκε λιγάκι.

ΟΤΑΝ ΕΧΟΥΜΕ ΟΡΑΜΑ ΔΕΝ ΜΑΣ ΣΤΑΜΑΤΑ ΤΙΠΟΤΑ.

ΟΤΑΝ ΕΧΟΥΜΕ ΟΡΑΜΑ ΔΕΝ ΜΑΣ ΣΤΑΜΑΤΑ ΤΙΠΟΤΑ.

O π. Νάρκισσος, από την περιοδεία του στη σπαραγμένη 
από τους πολέμους περιοχή του Σουδάν, ιερουργούσε, 
αλλά δεν είχε θυμιατό. Βρήκε κάπου ένα πεταμένο καλάσνικοφ. 
Και γράφει: «Άναψα τα καρβουνάκια στην άκρη του γεμιστήρα 
του καλάσνικοφ, έβαλα το λιβάνι και θύμιασα τους ανθρώπους».

Άγιος Παϊσιος .1993.Άγιον Όρος. Αναφέρει προσκυνητης.


Άγιος Παϊσιος .

1993.Άγιον Όρος.
Γέροντα, να κάνουμε όλοι προσευχή να επιστρέψουν και οι δαίμονες στο Χριστό.Λέγει τον προσκυνητή ο Άγιος.Έλα εδώ,ανοίγει το παράθυρο και βλέπουν το δαίμονα μεταμορφωμένο σε σκυλί να τους ......μουτζώνει συνεχώς !!! Βλέπεις δεν θέλει με τίποτε !!!!

Δι΄ευχών.

ΈΝΑ ΚΑΙ ΤΡΕΙΣ

Η ΜΕΤΑ ΘΑΝΑΤΟ ΖΩΗ

Η UEFA στα χρώματα του ουράνιου τόξου των ΛΟΑΤΚΙ .

ΤΟ ΤΟΎΒΛΟ.


Το τούβλο

Ένα νεαρό και επιτυχημένο στέλεχος εταιρείας, οδηγούσε τη νέα του τζάγκουαρ κάπως γρήγορα σε μία γειτονιά όχι και τόσο καλόφημη.
Πρόσεχε μην τυχόν κανένα παιδάκι ξεπροβάλει απότομα ανάμεσα από τα παρκαρισμένα αυτοκίνητα.
Κάποια στιγμή πιστεύοντας πως είδε κάτι να κινείται επιβράδυνε, αντί όμως να εμφανιστεί κάποιο παιδάκι, ένα τούβλο χτύπησε με δύναμη την πλαϊνή πόρτα της τζάγκουάρ του.  Φρέναρε απότομα και κάνοντας όπισθεν κατευθύνθηκε στο σημείο που το τούβλο είχε ριχτεί.
Φανερά θυμωμένος πετάχτηκε έξω από το αυτοκίνητό του, κι έπιασε ένα παιδί που βρήκε κοντά του, το έσπρωξε και το ακούμπησε με την πλάτη σε
ένα παρκαρισμένο αυτοκίνητο, φωνάζοντας:
- «Γιατί το έκανες αυτό και ποιος είσαι;
- Τι νομίζεις ότι κάνεις;
 - Αυτό είναι ένα καινούριο αυτοκίνητο και το τούβλο που πέταξες του έκανε μια πολύ ακριβή ζημιά!
 - Γιατί το έκανες»;
 - Το νεαρό αγόρι απολογητικά του είπε:
- «Σας παρακαλώ κύριε. σας παρακαλώ, ζητώ συγνώμη, αλλά δεν ήξερα τι άλλο να κάνω!
- Πέταξα το τούβλο γιατί κανένας δεν σταματούσε.»
Με δάκρυα να κυλάνε στο πρόσωπό του και στο
σαγόνι του, το αγοράκι έδειξε πίσω από ένα παρκαρισμένο αυτοκίνητο.
- «Είναι ο αδερφός μου» είπε: «Το αναπηρικό του καροτσάκι αναποδογύρισε στο πεζοδρόμιο, έπεσε απ' το καροτσάκι κι εγώ δεν μπορώ να τον σηκώσω».
Το αγόρι ζήτησε από τον νεαρό:
- «Θα μπορούσατε σας παρακαλώ να με βοηθήσετε να τον βάλουμε πίσω στο αναπηρικό του καροτσάκι;
- Είναι χτυπημένος και είναι πολύ βαρύς για να τον σηκώσω μόνος μου».
Ο οδηγός εμβρόντητος, προσπάθησε να συνέλθει, σήκωσε γρήγορα το ανάπηρο αγόρι και το καροτσάκι του, έπειτα πήρε ένα χαρτομάντιλο και
περιποιήθηκε πρόχειρα τις πληγές του αγοριού.
Με μια ματιά που του έριξε κατάλαβε πως τα τραύματα του παιδιού ήταν επιφανειακά κι όλα θα πήγαιναν καλά.
- «Σε ευχαριστώ, ο Θεός να σε ευλογεί» είπε το ευγνώμων αγοράκι στον ξένο.
Ο οδηγός ταραγμένος ακόμη, απλά κοιτούσε το αγοράκι να σπρώχνει το καροτσάκι με τον αδερφό του πάνω στο πεζοδρόμιο πηγαίνοντας για το
σπίτι τους.
Γύρισε προς τη τζάγκουάρ του αργά.
Η ζημιά στο αυτοκίνητο ήταν εμφανέστατη,
αλλά ο νεαρός ποτέ δεν μπήκε στην διαδικασία να την επιδιορθώσει.
Άφησε τη ζημιά να υπάρχει για να του θυμίζει το μήνυμα…
Μην ζεις τη ζωή σου τόσο γρήγορα έτσι ώστε να αναγκάζεις τον άλλον να σου πετάξει ένα τούβλο για να τραβήξει την προσοχή σου»
Ο Θεός ψιθυρίζει στις ψυχές μας και μιλά στις καρδιές μας.
Μερικές φορές όταν δεν έχουμε χρόνο να ακούσουμε, είναι αναγκασμένος να μας πετάξει ένα τούβλο.
Είναι επιλογή μας να ακούμε ή όχι.
Αν ο Θεός ήταν ψυγείο, η φωτογραφία σου θα ήταν πάνω του.
Αν είχε πορτοφόλι, η φωτογραφία σου θα ήταν μέσα σε αυτό.
Σου στέλνει λουλούδια κάθε άνοιξη.
Σου στέλνει μία ανατολή κάθε πρωί.
Τελικά είναι «τρελός» μαζί σου!
Ο Θεός δεν υποσχέθηκε μέρες χωρίς πόνο, γέλιο χωρίς θλίψη, ήλιο χωρίς βροχή, αλλά υποσχέθηκε δύναμη για κάθε μέρα, ανακούφιση στα δάκρυα και φως για τον δρόμο.

ΘΥΣΙΑ Ή ΣΥΝΥΠΑΡΞΗ; «Ευκολότερο είναι να θυσιάζεσαι γι’ αυτούς που αγαπάς, από το να ζεις μαζί τους». ΓΕΡΟΝΤΙΣΣΑ ΓΑΒΡΙΗΛΙΑ ΠΑΠΑΓΙΑΝΝΗ (1897–1992)

Αγιος Παϊσιος....



Άγιος Παϊσιος.

Να τρώτε λιγότερο.Εγώ έχω ένα στομάχι όσο έχει ένα μικρό πουλάκι.Η νηστεία λεπτύνει το νου.Εχεις νήψη και πάντα είσαι σε εγρήγορση.Είσαι συνεχώς με το δάχτυλο στη σκανδάλη.Δεν μπορει να σε προσβάλλει ο τύπος και να σε πιάσει στον ύπνο.

Γι΄αυτό είπε ο Χριστός  (Ματθ.17,21) =  "Αυτό το δαιμονικό γένος δεν βγαίνει παρά μόνο με νηστεία και προσευχή."

Δι΄ευχών.

γιος Πορφύριος: Οταν λέμε «Βλέπει ο Θεός», τι εννοούμε;

 


Ο άνθρωπος έχει τέτοιες δυνάμεις, ώστε να μπορεί να μεταδώσει το καλό ή το κακό στο περιβάλλον του. Αυτά τα θέματα είναι πολύ λεπτά. Χρειάζεται μεγάλη προσοχή. Πρέπει να βλέπομε το καθετί με αγαθό τρόπο. Τίποτα το κακό να μη σκεπτόμαστε για τους άλλους. Κι ένα βλέμμα κι ένας στεναγμός επιδρά στους συνανθρώπους μας. Και η ελάχιστη αγανάκτηση κάνει κακό. Να έχομε μέσα στην ψυχή μας αγαθότητα κι αγάπη αυτά να μεταδίδομε. Να προσέχομε να μην αγανακτούμε για τους ανθρώπους που μας βλάπτουν· μόνο να προσευχόμαστε γι’ αυτούς με αγάπη. Ό,τι κι αν κάνει ο συνάνθρωπος μας, ποτέ να μη σκεπτόμαστε κακό γι’ αυτόν. Πάντοτε να ευχόμαστε αγαπητικά. Πάντοτε να σκεπτόμαστε το καλό. Δεν πρέπει ποτέ να σκεπτόμαστε για τον άλλο ότι θα του δώσει ο Θεός κάποιο κακό ή ότι θα τον τιμωρήσει για το αμάρτημά του. Αυτός ο λογισμός φέρνει πολύ μεγάλο κακό, χωρίς εμείς να το αντιλαμβανόμαστε.

 

Πολλές φορές αγανακτούμε και λέμε στον άλλο: «Δεν φοβάσαι τη δικαιοσύνη του Θεού, δεν φοβάσαι μη σε τιμωρήσει;».Άλλη φορά πάλι λέμε: «Ο Θεός δεν μπορεί θα σε τιμωρήσει γι’ αυτό που έκανες» ή «Θεέ μου, μην κάνεις κακό σ’ αυτόν τον άνθρωπο γι’ αυτό που μου έκανε» ή «Να μην πάθει αυτό το πράγμα ο τάδε».

 

Σε όλες αυτές τις περιπτώσεις, έχομε βαθιά μέσα μας την επιθυμία να τιμωρηθεί ο άλλος. Αντί, όμως να ομολογήσομε το θυμό μας για το σφάλμα του, παρουσιάζομε με άλλον τρόπο την αγανάκτησή μας και, δήθεν, παρακαλούμε τον Θεό γι’ αυτόν. Έτσι, όμως, στην πραγματικότητα καταριόμαστε τον αδελφό. Κι αν, αντί να προσευχόμαστε, λέμε, «να το βρεις απ’ τον Θεό, να σε πληρώσει ο Θεός για το κακό που μου έκανες», και τότε πάλι ευχόμαστε να τον τιμωρήσει ο Θεός.

 

Ακόμη και όταν λέμε, «ας είναι βλέπει ο Θεός», η διάθεση της ψυχής μας ενεργεί κατά ένα μυστηριώδη τρόπο, επηρεάζει την ψυχή του συνανθρώπου μας και αυτός παθαίνει κακό.

 

Καταλάβατε, λοιπόν πώς οι κακές μας σκέψεις, η κακή μας διάθεση επηρεάζουν τους άλλους; Γι’ αυτό πρέπει να βρούμε και τον τρόπο να καθαρίσομε το βάθος του εαυτού μας από κάθε κακία. Όταν η ψυχή μας είναι αγιασμένη, ακτινοβολεί το καλό. Στέλνομε τότε σιωπηλά την αγάπη μας χωρίς να λέμε λόγια.

 

 

 

Ο Χριστός ποτέ δεν θέλει το κακό. Αντίθετα παραγγέλλει: «Ευλογείτε τους καταρωμένους υμάς …».

Miraculous Stories with St Gabriel (Urgebadze)




 

Venerable Gabriel (Urgebadze), who passed away less than 30 years ago, is known to Orthodox Christians from all over the world. Today St Gabriel works real miracles, appearing in dreams and helping those who sincerely pray to him, interceding before God even for those who are hopelessly sick. The earthly life of the venerable was also full of miracles. However, the elder tried in every possible way to hide these miracles behind foolishness, asking to keep them a secret until his death.  Here are some of these amazing incidents from the life of the saint, told by his spiritual children.

 

 

 

Buckets Filled with Cement Flying in the Air Like Magic Carpets

 

Father Gabriel’s sister, Julietta Mikhailovna, once told Mother Paraskeva, the elder’s cell attendant, about the miracle that she had witnessed, so that people would know what an amazing person Father Gabriel was.

 

Once, I came to see Fr Gabriel at the time when he was building a church. He was alone in the house and opened the gate himself. After a short conversation, he said: “Sister, I don’t have any time to interrupt my work and I’m hungry. Please bring me a bottle of Georgian yoghurt from the store.” I didn’t want to take his money, but he insisted, also giving me the keys saying: “I will continue my work. Lock the gate from the outside and when you return, be sure to call me BEFORE you open the gate.” I went, but I was a little confused. I did not know any places in that neighbourhood to buy yoghurt. I walked a short distance and saw a milkman. I was glad that I managed to fulfill Fr Gabriel’s request so quickly and hurried back as soon as I got the jar from the milkman. Out of haste and joy, I forgot Father Gabriel’s words about calling him before unlocking the gate and entered the courtyard without warning. I was shocked by what I saw. Buckets filled with cement were travelling through the air emptying themselves  right into the frames prepared at the top floor. Father Gabriel was standing in the courtyard below, kneading the cement and pouring it into the buckets. As soon as I entered, he noticed me and realized that I had seen everything. At first he was angry at me for entering without warning, and then he calmed me down and asked me to keep it a secret. More than thirty years have passed before I told this story to anyone.

 

                                                          https://russian-faith.com/sites/default/files/styles/w726xauto/public/users/260/images/1-12.jpg?itok=2pv12T76

 

 

 

When mother Paraskeva mentioned that story to Fr Gabriel, he was offended and said: “Haven’t I asked her not to tell this story to anyone? I have nothing to do with this. I was working alone, and when it became very difficult, God took pity on me! I don’t want to talk about it!

 

 

“What do you say, Nodar?”

 

One of Fr Gabriel’s spiritual children named Nodar once told the following story:

 

Father Gabriel once spent several days with my family. We consecrated our house and spent all night talking and praying. Then the elder said, “Nodar, my brother, by six o’clock I have to be in the monastery. Can you take me to Mtskheta? ” I agreed, of course. These were the days when absolutely everyone was controlled. We headed to Mtskheta. As we were exiting from Tbilisi, seven armed men blocked our road and demanded to stop the car. Let me remind you that these were the 1990s.

 

Despite the fact that Elder Gabriel told me not to stop, I was careful and stopped the car. Father Gabriel was sitting very calmly. I got out of the car to show the documents to strangers, but it turned out that they did not want the documents, showing more interest in my car. I resisted, although I understood that a fight with seven heavily armed “knights” was a risky enterprise. At that time, I saw Elder Gabriel get out of the car and walk towards us. Then something extraordinary happened: it was as if a huge glowing pillar descended from the sky, followed by a supernaturally tall, handsome, unearthly man with a staff and a white beard. He struck the ground with his staff, and said in an extraordinary voice: “How dare you stop us?! Shame on you!” It was truly a supernatural phenomenon that shocked everyone. Frightened, the armed people ran in all directions. The one who had all the documents, froze in place and then began to thrust them into my hands asking us to leave as soon as possible.

 

And then we left. Father Gabriel looked at me and asked: “What do you say, Nodar? I think we did pretty well, didn’t we?”

 

 

 

“You Have Saved Me from Death”

 

Once a woman came to the elder and said:

 

 – You have saved me from death, now let me thank you.

 

 She told us the following story:

 

 – I live in an old house near the cemetery. Once at night, some bandits broke into it. Out of fear, I began to call Father Gabriel for help. A miracle then happened: the elder appeared instantly, with a club and began to chase after them. The frightened bandits then fled in terror, and the elder disappeared as suddenly as he had appeared.

 

 

 

Visiting the Neighbouring Monastery without Getting out of Bed

 

This story has also been told by mother Paraskeva.

 

“Fr Gabriel was seriously ill when he told me:

 

– I am going to go visit Shavnabada monastery.

 

I thought that he was joking.

 

After some time I asked him:

 

– Father, have you been to Shavnabada?

 

– Yes, I have. Everything is fine there. They were just having a meal when I arrived.

 

– Have they noticed you? I asked.

 

“No, why would they? If they had, they would have been surprised. I didn’t want to show myself to them.

 

– What was Fr Shio busy with? I asked.

 

“He was counting people,” the elder replied.

 

A few days later, the abbot of the Shavnabada monastery Archimandrite Shio came to see Fr Gabriel.

 

I asked him:

 

– How many are you in the monastery?

 

– I don’t know! Some come, some go. I usually count them during meals.

 

Father Gabriel looked at me meaningfully and smiled. I was shocked.”

THE STORY BEHIND “MY ELDER JOSEPH THE HESYCHAST” by Hieromonk Ephraim, St. Nilus Skete, Alaska

 


Hieromonk Ephraim is a longtime disciple of Elder Ephraim of Arizona who received the elder’s blessing to live and struggle ascetically at St. Nilus Island Skete, near Kodiak, Alaska. Fr. Ephraim as offered us the fruit of his hagiographic labors on the windswept isle for our readers’ edification.

 

St. Joseph the Hesychast was one of the greatest monks of the Holy Mountain in the 20th century. His life story and teachings have been translated into many languages and touched thousands of people. People have been moved especially by the stories told by his disciple, Elder Ephraim of Arizona, in the book My Elder Joseph the Hesychast. Due to the popularity of this book, I was asked to write this article, explaining the story behind it. In Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of this article, I will share some unpublished anecdotes about St. Joseph.

 

When I was a monk at Philotheou Monastery, I had access to more than 100 private cassette recordings of Elder Ephraim's homilies to us his monks. In them he taught both basic and advanced aspects of the spiritual life, and he illustrated his teachings with examples from lives of the saints and especially from the life of his holy elder, St. Joseph. I found the stories about St. Joseph to be so inspiring that I wanted to share this treasure with other people. So in the year 2000, I asked Elder Ephraim if I could type up all the stories about St. Joseph from his homilies and organize them into a biography, and he gladly gave me his blessing. I then spent an entire year listening to all his homilies and typing word for word what he had said about his elder, St. Joseph. During that year, I also typed up verbatim numerous accounts of other people who had lived with St. Joseph—primarily St. Ephraim of Katounakia and Elder Haralambos of Dionysiou. But since most of the stories I had gathered were from Elder Ephraim of Arizona, I put him as the author of this composite book.

 

The result of all this work was a 700-page biography of St. Joseph in Greek. I shared this with our abbot at St. Anthony’s Monastery, Archimandrite Paisios, and based on the research he had done, he improved the text by clarifying and correcting some aspects of St. Joseph’s life as a layman. I also shared this rough draft with our other monasteries established by Elder Ephraim. Fr. Anthony (a hieromonk of St. Anthony's Monastery) also saw my rough draft and received the blessing of Elder Ephraim to expand it. He added many valuable historical details to give the reader a better understanding of the world that St. Joseph lived in. He also elaborated on my rough draft by adding several pertinent quotes from the holy Fathers. Furthermore, he found dozens of photographs and inserted them throughout the text.

 

At this point, the book was basically ready for publication. But since an important book like this needs to be polished as much as possible before being published, I wanted to find a native speaker of Greek who could go through the entire book and elevate the linguistic style wherever needed, and also improve any abrupt transitions between paragraphs, etc. So I sent this rough draft to two of our monasteries in Greece, but neither of them could find the time to edit and publish it. Finally, after the book remained in limbo for several years, Fr. Stephanos Anagnostopoulos of Piraeus decided to tackle this enormous task of proofreading, polishing, and publishing. He carefully went through the version of my draft that was expanded by Fr. Anthony, and he improved the overall flow and feel of the text. He also added more information about the nuns of St. Joseph. Thus, in 2007 he completed the work and published it in Greek. After he published it, St. Joseph appeared to him in a dream and embraced him, clearly showing how pleased St. Joseph was with his labors.

 

Once the Greek version of the book was published, I was asked to translate it into English. But as I began translating the book, I started to notice some problems with it. Not only were there many stories missing from my original rough draft, but there were even some additions that were clearly added just to spice up the original story. For example, in the incident where St. Joseph as a child obediently approached his father when he said that he would spank him, the published Greek text adds that his father was so moved by his son’s obedience that he had tears in his eyes. This detail did not exist in the original source but was added by the editors.

 

Another such addition made was to the following vision of St. Joseph (which was not included in the English edition of his biography) as narrated by St. Ephraim of Katounakia: “After a long fast, St. Joseph had a vision in which he saw the Holy Mountain as if it were a table supported by three legs. One of the legs had completely collapsed, and another was also ready to fall. The third was still standing, and the entire table was supported by it alone. The angel who was showing this table to him said to him: ‘This is the Holy Mountain.’ He saw this vision around 1930. Many years have passed since then. As for how the Holy Mountain is now, only God knows.” This is how St. Ephraim of Katounakia told this story. But the editors of the Greek edition of St. Joseph’s biography added to the angel’s words the following sentence: “This is what is supporting Orthodoxy.”

 

As for the stories that were missing from my original rough draft, it appears that the editors of the published book in Greek were concerned that revealing the human side of St. Joseph (such as his struggle to overcome anger) would detract from his holy reputation. Therefore, they chose to omit such stories. They also omitted how Elder Ephraim fought against carnal thoughts. But I, on the contrary, believe that it is precisely these struggles that we struggling Christians need to see. By seeing how they fought temptations, we can learn from their example. Besides, when a biographer presents a saint as being someone who was always perfect, not only do we lose the ability to relate with him, but even more dangerously we can fall into the error of believing that spiritual progress is out of our reach. For if the saints were always perfect, then we who are very imperfect have no hope of becoming even somewhat like them. Therefore, because of all this, and because I believe that people benefit from the truth, I decided to include all those omitted stories when translating this book into English.

 

I also noticed that a few human errors had slipped into the final published Greek edition. For example, in the incident of Fr. Athanasios pondering whether or not St. Joseph had made a mistake in his decision to side with the monasteries on the calendar issue, the original text in my rough draft (taken verbatim from Elder Ephraim) had Fr. Athanasios saying to himself: “Ἄραγε, λέει καλὰ ὁ Γέροντας; Δὲν λέει καλὰ ὁ Γέροντας;” (“I wonder, is Geronda right? Is Geronda wrong?”) But in the subsequent draft of the Greek edition, the second question mark in this phrase was accidentally replaced with a period, which changes the meaning to: “I wonder, is Geronda right? Geronda is wrong.” And then in the printed Greek edition, the final period in this quote was replaced with three exclamation points: “Geronda is wrong!!!”

 

Before I finished translating the book into English, Abbot Symeon Gagatyk from Ukraine came to Arizona in 2010 to find out more about St. Joseph and to translate his published biography from Greek into Russian. I explained to him the above history of this book, and I gave him both my original rough draft and Fr. Anthony's expanded version as well as the published Greek edition, so that he could see for himself how the text evolved and so that he could choose the best parts of each of the three versions to translate into his Russian edition. After comparing those two drafts with the published Greek edition, he concluded that my original rough draft was the most accurate version, and he proceeded to translate it into Russian. One significant change he made in his Russian edition was to separate the book into two parts instead of keeping the events in chronological order. He also decided to change the title of the book in Russian from "My Elder Joseph the Hesychast" to "My Life with Elder Joseph."

 

As for the publication of this book in other languages (Romanian, Georgian, Arabic, etc.) I did not have the opportunity to communicate with their translators and to share my rough draft with them, and so the version they all used for translating must have been the published Greek version.

 

After the Russian edition was published, but before I had finished my English translation, Fr. Nectarios from Vigla on the Holy Mountain came to our monastery in Arizona for two weeks in 2011. He had been a close disciple of St. Ephraim of Katounakia, and he has the gift of being able to remember in great detail the many stories his elder had told him. So he told us many stories about St. Joseph that we had never heard before from our Elder Ephraim. This was to be expected, considering that St. Ephraim of Katounakia was with St. Joseph for a decade before Elder Ephraim of Arizona came.

 

I was able to include in the English edition of this book several of the stories I heard from Fr. Nectarios. But there were a few others that I unfortunately didn't add. I translated a few of them now, and they may be read in Part 2 of this article. And for the benefit of all who have not read the English edition of the life of St. Joseph, I have written Part 3 of this article which contains Fr. Nectarios’s stories about St. Joseph, which were not in the printed Russian edition, nor in the Greek, Romanian, and Arabic editions. And for the benefit of all the people who have read only the printed edition of this book in Greek, Romanian, Arabic, etc., I have also put together Part 4 of this article, which contains the stories about St. Joseph that were omitted from those printed editions (but were included in the English and Russian printed editions).

 

May the holy prayers of St. Joseph strengthen us in our spiritual struggle, and may his luminous example inspire us to fight the good fight for the glory of Christ our God.

 

Hieromonk Ephraim, St. Nilus Skete, Alaska

 

11/11/2019

 

 

“MAN IS A MYSTERY…” 2021 is the year of Dostoevsky

 


Your meeting with a book that became one of the most important books in life remains forever in your memory. And the writer who created that book becomes close to you, like family. Of course, this is not immediately understood, but only after the years go by. You return again and again in your memory to that day and hour when that cherished meeting took place. This happened with me when, as a student of the Urals University, I left the reading room all shaken after reading the novel, The Idiot. It seemed to me that my hair was standing on end, that my soul was as if struck, and it shook from the blow.

 

And so, from that same university winter, from age nineteen and for the rest of my life, the characters of Prince Myshkin, Nastasia Philippovna, Parfen Rogozhin, and others in that immortal novel entered into the very center of my heart. And later, throughout the course of my life did this novel and Dostoevsky’s fate call back to me, often determining turns in that course—at times even sharp turns.

 

This is what I want to tell you about today. Especially since we are in the “Year of Dostoevsky”.

 

Dostoevsky as a herald of Christ

 

After the second year of university, we students of the journalism school were sent for internships to the regional newspaper. I ended up in the town of Bogdanovich in Sverdlovsk province, at the newspaper called, “Flag of Victory”. I was supposed to write about the harvest, and how things stood with dairy yields. And after my ridiculous forays into the fields and dairy farms, my searches for people who were supposed to tell about the business (I could have gotten all this information over the telephone but I was “studying life”), barely alive because I either hitchhiked or used my own two feet, I flopped down on the dormitory bed to have at least a tiny rest. Then I rose early to write my reportage on the zealous work in the fields and farms.

 

And so, in the morning as I walked past the movie theater to the office, I saw an announcement for the film, “The Idiot”. I was stunned. All that day I only thought about getting to the theater as soon as possible to watch that film.

 

I watched it. And that same evening I set about writing my first review. I really regret that I didn’t save it. The editor stripped down my “creative torments” to mere notes. His conclusion was that it was “too long”. The newspaper was of a small format—culture and sports, weather, and all the rest that allowed it to pay for itself left but a small spot on the fourth column. Into that spot did they squeeze my ecstatic notes on the film. I’m sure that it must have looked crazy in that newspaper.

 

It was 1958; after all, the “thaw” had begun, and our dreams were swirling around something as yet unrecognized but definitely significant, and human—something pertaining not to the number of hectares of harvested wheat and rye, but to the life of the human soul.

 

I recall those notes because when I returned to Sverdlovsk (now Ekaterinburg), I had something to talk with my brother about. At the time, Anatoly was studying in the acting studio at the drama theater. Of course he had read The Idiot, and we watched the film together, then discussed it vigorously. In the theater, the excellent theatrical production of The Insulted and Humiliated was on, with Boris Feodorovich Iyin, a “people’s artist of the USSR”, brilliantly playing the role of Prince Valkovsky. And the young hero, the writer Vanya, was played by our favorite actor Constantine Petrovich Maximov, Anatoly’s teacher. He knew about my brother’s passion (besides Dostoevsky, we were voraciously reading the poetry of the “Silver Age” and had even organized an “Evening of forgotten poets”).

 

That is why he confirmed in the role of Andrei Rublev the totally unknown provincial actor, Anatoly Solonytsin, against the opinion of the entire artistic council.

 

But why does Prince Myshkin touch us so deeply, even stun us with his character, his fate? Why does Feodor Dostoevsky’s hero so stir us, despite the eccentricity of his actions? One critic has aptly compared Dostoevsky’s prose with “congealed lava”. Yes, he writes in such a way that his words as if erupt from the crater of a volcano, flow rapidly down the slope, wiping out everything on their path, and then congeal before our eyes, in our souls. The “golden pens” of the Russian literati, such as Turgenev and Bunin, even accused Feodor Mikhailovich of chaotic and sloppy writing.

 

Yes, Dostoevsky’s prose really was “unpolished”, as the author himself has said. But that is what makes it so remarkable and unique—its force and impetus. His characters are taken into “borderline” situations, when the “major” issues of life, as the author put it, are in the balance—into man’s existence in general.

 

Can a person in such moments of life talk without “choking on his own words”, in separate phrases? Moreover his heroes get entangled, and the entanglement comes from the fact that Dostoevsky is not afraid to show man’s “duplicity”, digging down at times to the most hidden depths of the soul. That is why his heroes say one thing but mean something entirely different, twist their way out of it and lie, while Prince Myshkin’s openness and childlike ingenuousness exposes them.

 

Just as do the exceedingly bold and “reckless” acts of Nastasya Filippovna.

 

 

 

Recall how she throws the bundle of 100,000 rubles Rogozhin brought into burning fireplace. One researcher of Dostoevsky’s works figured out that 100,000 rubles in Dostoevsky’s time would equal over a million USD today.

 

In the 1960s, out of romanticism I left for Kaliningrad to get a job on the whaling ship, the “Yuri Dolgoruki”. Because I was considered “unreliable” and therefore not someone who could be let out of the country, they didn’t take me out to sea. But I wrote my first stories about sailors “ashore”, and published my first book, with which I was accepted into the Soviet Writers’ Union. This took place at a meeting of young authors of the Northwest in Leningrad. There I saw the famous stage presentation of “The Idiot” with Innokenty Smoktunovsky in the main role.

 

I am not the only one who was stunned by the show. All who saw how Smoktunovsky played his role understood that a miracle was happening before their eyes. His Myshkin was naïve like a child, open, defenseless—and at the same time protected by the truth of Christ the Savior. It could even be that the actor did not understand that he was embodying on the stage a blessed one, whom everyone around him took for an idiot. Nor did the theater understand this. Years later, just before his death, on a lengthy television program the actor related that he roused the entire theater against himself because he continued to shape the role differently from how everyone—from the chief director down—was telling him to do it. He did it according to his heart’s urgings. The show’s premier was scheduled for December 31. It was four hours long. G. Tovstonogov was prepared for a failure, and that is why the premier was scheduled for New Year’s Eve.

 

For the first time in many years, the theater was half empty. But on January 1, news spread throughout Leningrad that in the Great Drama Theater a miracle had taken place. Then it became simply impossible to get a ticket. Because on that stage, for the first time in nearly century of godless rule, people saw authenticity of feeling, not human but divine truth, which shown in the actor’s eyes, in his inimitable intonation as he pronounced words about faith, love, and God. And the souls of all present in the theater opened up, empathized, wept, and laughed together with him.

 

Here is what Prince Myshkin says when Parfen Rogozhin asks him whether or not he believes in God:

 

“An hour ago, as I was returning to the hotel, I ran into peasant woman with her infant. The woman was still young, and the babe would have been about six weeks old. The child smiled at her, as she observed, for the first time since she was born. I looked, and the woman very, very piously, suddenly crossed herself. “What’s that, young lass?” I said (for I asked her about everything then). Well, she said it’s maternal joy for seeing her infant smile at her for the first time; for God has the same joy when He sees from heaven how a sinner starts praying to him with his whole heart for the first time. That is what the woman said to me in almost those exact words; and such a profound, such a subtle and truly religious thought, a thought in which the whole essence of Christianity is expressed in a moment; that is, the whole understanding of God as our own father… It’s a most important thought about Christ! A simple peasant woman!.. Listen, Parfen, you asked me just now and here is my answer: The essence of religious feeling doesn’t fit into any sort of discussion, any actions or crimes, any kind of atheism. Something is amiss there, and it will be that way for eternity. There is something on which atheism will forever slip up and miss the point. But the main thing is that you’ll most probably and clearly notice this “something” in the Russian heart—and that is my conclusion!”

 

When the show was over, for two or three minutes there was a sepulchral silence. Then the auditorium exploded in applause, shouts, and in such a pervading stormy ecstasy that’s hard to describe. This went on for twenty to thirty minutes. I was told that there were times when it lasted even longer. As the years passed, critics both in Russia and abroad (the presentation played also in London) understood that an event had taken place that was so huge, on a scale so significant that it’s hard to express in words. Feodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky stood before the people—alive, authentic, the man who is rightfully called a Russian genius.

 

The role of Prince Myshkin, I think, was the one for which actor Innokenty Mikhailovich Smoktunovsky was born. He played about a hundred roles in the movies. He acted in many good, even excellent theater productions. But none of them reached the heights of Prince Myshkin. The actor did not act, but lived on the stage the life, I repeat, of a man of God. He was also like that in real life—strange, and unfathomable for many. And in his best roles in both theater and film are heard those familiar intonations of Prince Myshkin—pauses, expressions of the eyes, gestures—of a man who is not of this world.

 

The [communist] party leadership also felt this, and that is why the performance was never videotaped. Only small snippets were saved for programs. Thank God, it was at least preserved on vinyl record disks, and a three-volume album was made available.

 

I still have my old “music center”, and favorite records. From time to time I listen to the recording of that amazing show, which during atheistic times told of a man who sacrificed his own life for the sake of his love of God and people.

 

What did Feodor Dostoevsky write about in his immortal novel?

 

To guess at the mystery

 

 “Man is a mystery. It must be unraveled, and even if you’ve spent you whole life unraveling it, you can’t say that you’ve wasted time. I am occupied with this mystery, for I want to be a man.”

 

That is how the young Feodor determined the purposed of his life even before he’d written his first short story, Poor Folk, which Belinsky read and then exclaimed ecstatically, “A new Gogol has appeared!”

 

Feodor Mikhailovich felt with his heart his purpose in life. It is important to determine this purpose, or it would be better to say, calling, which is the meaning of your life. It is important not to betray it, but to walk what is often a thorny path, but a path that calls to you to follow the call of your soul. I don’t in any way want to compare the scope of the great writer’s gifts with those directors and actors who had the fortitude to play and produce the author’s works in theater and film. But the yearning to express in their creative work the hidden mystery that is embedded in his great novels, remains the cherished dream of many. This would include such film producers as Andrei Arsenievich Tarkovsky. After his films, “Ivan’s Childhood” and “Andrei Rublev”, which brought him international fame, he wrote an expansive proposal for the screening of “The Idiot”. An anniversary date was approaching—in 1981 it was proposed to have a grand celebration of the one hundred years since Dostoevsky’s death, and 160 years since his birth. Tarkovsky had the idea of filming a television series. In his diaries he wrote, “Solonitsyn would be ideal for the role of Dostoevsky.” In his proposal he determined that the author of the novel, i.e., Dostoevsky, should play the role of the narrator. This actor, Anatoly, was entrusted with the role of Lebedev—that very liar who swears his love for the “excellent prince” but at the same time writes an “exposé” about him. Myshkin was to be played by Alexander Kaidanovsky, and Nastasia Filipovna by Margarita Terekhova. My brother and I were transported when talked about the work ahead. Anatoly was even ready to have plastic surgery in order to look more like his favorite author.

 

“How are you going to play other roles if you undergo such surgery?” Tarkovsky asked him.

 

“Why would I need any other roles, if I’ve played Dostoevsky?” my brother answered.

 

The surgery never happened, because Tarkovsky’s proposal was rejected. But Anatoly would yet experience the happiness of embodying the great writer’s image on screen—albeit in a film of a completely different scale.

 

The film was called, “26 Days in the Life of Dostoevky”.

 

I’ll tell you in a little more detail why in that memorable time an amazing “coincidence”, as it would seem at first glance, took place.

 

Anatoly was forty-five years old—just like his hero when in 1866 he dictated the novel The Gambler (to a stenographer). Like his hero, after a family catastrophe Anatoly had proposed to a girl who was half his age. Like his hero, Anatoly’s love was requited—and she transformed the entire rest of his life.

 

 

 

 

And hadn’t Anatoly also worked under similar circumstances?

 

“Well, the novel will have to be rushed by post-horses”, Feodor Mikhailovich said to Anna Grigorievna [his stenographer and future wife].

 

And the film was also shot as if by “post-horse”. Anatoly was under pressure to make a down payment on a cooperative apartment, and he was in debt up to his ears.

 

When I arrived in Moscow and met with my brother, I read the scenario and told him about all this.

 

He smiled, “Do you think they know about this? They hired me as a serious and reliable professional, and that’s all.”

 

But in fact they didn’t just “hire” him so simply. N. T. Sizov, director of Mosfilm at the time, summoned Anatoly and asked him to help the group of “26 Days in the Life of Dostoevsky”. “People’s Artist of the USSR” Oleg Borisov, who was playing the leading role, had just left the group. Half of the film had already been shot, but the creative formats of the director and the actor, different from the very beginning, had now irreversibly diverged. My brother could not bring himself to refuse the requests of the general director, who had shown both attention and care towards the actor, and of the producer, who had produced Anatoly’s favorite films from childhood on. Anatoly knew that the picture would be filmed under tough deadlines—a plan is a plan, and cinema is also a production line. But as an actor, Anatoly always needed time to “rev up”, time to take on his role. Anatoly was also dissatisfied with much of the screenplay. But after all, we’re talking about Dostoevsky!

 

“I don’t have enough time… You see, I’m living in a hotel across the street from Mosfilm. We’re punching two shifts in a row… It’s an endless race… You know, the only thing that seems not so bad to me so far … One scene… Where he’s with students, where Anna has taken him. He talks about hard labor in prison, and argues with the youths… And then he has an epileptic fit… Only don’t tell anyone this, understand? (He always began with these words whenever he wanted to tell me something important.) Do you understand, they started applauding. The entire group… That’s not acceptable in filmmaking, it’s sort of against the rules of decency. But they applauded, and Zarkhi didn’t criticize anyone for it. Then another double, and again applause. It’s stupid of course. The guys explained that they couldn’t help it. Well, there you are, I’m boasting… But even without the applause I feel that the scene was successful.”

 

But that very episode was cut from the film—it supposedly “didn’t reflect the writer’s character.”

 

Our bureaucrats “of art”, as if they had a mine detector in their hands, always find the very best scenes or pages in books, which they simply must “delete as extraneous”. And this applies not only to the past—even today these “mine detectors” are still in their hands for some reason.

 

 

 

Nevertheless, the film was successful not only in our own country but also on the international level. It represented our film industry at the thirty-first International Film Festival in Western Berlin. Here is what the papers wrote:

 

“Outstanding in the film was the role by Anatoly Solonitsyn. In conjunction with the sincere ingenuousness of Evgenia Simonova, it all together gives us a glimpse into the creative mystery of those literary works of genius, and into the character of a great man who inspired the whole world’s admiration… (Die Welt).

 

There is no point in comparing the performances of actors in films and plays in which they played the same roles. Different times determine differently both the position of the producers and, correspondingly, the role of the actors. But there are “breakthroughs”, when the performer of the leading role refuses to conform himself to the will of circumstances, producers, or even collective opinion, and does not waiver from the path leading to understanding a man’s mystery.

 

So it was with Innokenty Smoktunovsky, who wouldn’t heed the “vulgar” advice of famous actors and a no less famous director, as he expressed it in the foregoing story I’ve told you concerning the play, “The Idiot”. He walked a torturous path to the hidden mystery of the man whom Dostoevsky named, Prince Myshkin.

 

So also was it with Anatoly Solonitsyn, who against all circumstances, both mundane and creative, was able by force of his God-given talent to break through to the secret of that author, who lived and created to the glory of God.

 

Alexei Solonitsyn

Pravoslavie.ru

 

6/2/2021