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Παρασκευή, 29 Νοεμβρίου 2013

ΤHE ELDER PORPHYRIOS HAS BEEN OFFICIALLY PROCLAIMED A SAINT OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH BY THE HOLY SYNOD OF THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE IN CONSTANTINOPLE ON NOVEMBER 27, 2013




THE ELDER PORPHYRIOS HAS BEEN OFFICIALLY
PROCLAIMED A SAINT OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH
BY THE HOLY SYNOD OF THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE
IN CONSTANTINOPLE ON NOVEMBER 27, 2013

Dear People,

            It is with great joy in my heart that I share with you the news of the official proclamation of the Elder Porphyrios as a Saint of the Holy Orthodox Church.  The proclamation was announced by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on Wednesday, November 27, 2013. I first discovered this extraordinary man on a pilgrimage to the monasteries of Greece with my son Gregory and Dr. Dino Chrysostom in October of 1993.  This pilgrimage took us to Mount Athos for a week.  Upon our return to Thessaloniki, we visited the bookstore “Τό Περιβόλι τής Παναγίας” (The Garden of the Virgin).  This particular bookstore in Thessaloniki promotes and sells books authored by monks of Mount Athos or religious books about the Orthodox Church.  Through divine providential I found a book written about the life and works of the Elder Porphyrios who had reposed on December 2, 1991.   It was written by Klitos Ioannidis who hails from the Island of Cyprus. I was able to finish reading the book on the plane while returning to the States.  I was so so blown away by the miraculous life that the Elder lived that I was determined to translate this book into English.

            Upon my return to the States, I wrote to the Convent of the Transfiguration of the Savior in Milesi, Greece seeking permission to proceed with the translation.  The Abbess of the Convent was the sister of the Elder Porphyrios.  Her name is Porphyria.  She graciously gave me her blessing to proceed with the translation.  I initially started the translation with great enthusiasm.  After about forty pages, the powers of darkness hindered me by making me procrastinate and delay the effort for about two months.  During another visit of mine to Mount Athos, I visited the Monastery of Saint Paul at the foot of Athos.  One of the novices there was an American boy from the Midwest USA named Kosmas.  In our conversations there, I told him of my intentions to translate a book of the Elder Porphyrios.  He offered to help me with this translation since there was another American monk at the Monastery named Fr. Serphim. He also said that he wanted to find out what was happening in the world.  We had exchanged a couple of letters when one day, I received a very startling letter from him at the end of January 1994.  He said that he received a telephone call from Kavsokalyvia, the Monastery of Elder Porphyrios.  I would like to quote for you this letter.

            “Fr. Constantine.  I am asking God to help me write a letter to you, telling you about how I received a phone call from Fr. Porphyrios.  This happened last week on the evening after the feast of St. Gregory the Theologian.  I was cleaning up the trapeza (the refectory) as usual when I suddenly was called by Fr. Efthymios to go to the telephone room.  “Quickly, you have a phone call, perhaps it is someone from America.”  I never get phone calls especially since almost no one knows me to be here in Greece, Mt. Athos, or at St. Paul’s Monastery.

            When I arrived in the phone room, Fr. Gerasimos and Fr. Paul were pointing at the telephone.  I answered absent-mindedly in English, and then realizing I was speaking to a Greek, I asked “what do you want?” It sounded as though from a great distance; “What is your name?”  “I am Kosmas.”  There was a strange silence as from the 1,000 year reign of Christ. “I am Kosmas, who are you?”  There was still silence in the great distance. “Where are you?” “Kapsokalyvia.”  Fr. Gerasimos took the phone from my hand. I was a bit astonished at having received the phone call but not knowing who it was.  “Who is this?” Fr. Paul took it away from Fr. Gerasimos.  “Hello, who is this? Who do you want?” Then he handed it to me.  “Kosmas it is for you.” “Who is this,” I asked.  Again it was silent. Fr. Gerasimos took the phone away and said; “This is Saint Paul’s Monastery, if you want someone you must explain who you are.  The Kosmas you want is somewhere else.”  I looked at Fr. Gerasimos and said “Αμαρτίας Άδάμ” (The sins of Adam).  He said, «Άμαρτίας Άδάμ» (The sins of Adam). We felt the phone call was our problem together as we left the phone room.  Later I began to think that was Fr. Porphyrios calling to find out about his biography with you, so I wrote you this letter Fr. Constantine.  With your blessing and forgiveness, I remain yours in Christ.  Kosmas. “

            When I received this letter from Kosmas, I was startled by the implication that the Elder was inquiring about the progress of the translation I was doing on the book entitled “Elder Porphyrios, Testimonies and Experiences.” Needless to say, the shock of that letter prompted me to finish the translation.  That was the first of three books that I translated about the Elder Porphyrios.  The second book I translated about the Elder is entitled “The Divine Flame Elder Porphyrios Lit In My Heart”.  That was published in 2005.  The third book that I translated is entitled “Miraculous Occurrences and Counsels of Elder Porphyrios.”  This book was published in 2013.

THE CANONIZATION OF THE ELDER PORPHYRIOS

            I would like to translate for you the official announcement of the canonization of The Elder Porphyrios by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate as I received it from Greece on the internet.  “The Elder Porphyrios is now officially a Saint.  He is one of the enlightened figures of the Orthodox Church during the last generation. Specifically the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate proceeded during today’s meeting to canonize the Elder Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia.  His feast day is set for the 2nd of December, the day on which he reposed.  In fact, during the meeting, Meletios of Rhodes was also canonized.

            The fame of the Elder Porphyrios amongst the Orthodox faithful is widespread because of his personality and because of the multitude of witnesses of the divine gifts that he possessed.  The Elder Porphyrios was born in 1906 in the village of Saint John, near Aliveri on the Island of Evia.  His worldly name was Angelo (Εύάγγελος) Bairaktaris and from a very young age he manifested a desire for monastic life.  At the age of thirteen and having finished only the second grade, he left home to go to the Skete of the Holy Trinity, known as Kavsokalyvia on Mount Athos.  He lived there for six years as a novice under the tutelage of two elderly monks.  While there, he was tonsured with the name Nikitas.  After this, due to serious health issues he was forced to return to Evia where he settled in the Monastery of Saint Haralampos.

            At the age of twenty he met Archbishop Porphyrios of Sinai.  This Archbishop immediately recognized the unique spiritual qualities of this young man and ordained him to the priesthood giving him the name Porphyrios.  During the following years and because his Monastery had become a convent, Porphyrios moved to the Monastery of Saint Nicholas in Ano Vathia, Evia.  In 1940, at the age of thirty-four he moved to Athens where he was assigned as the pastor of the Church of Saint Gerasimos, in a Polyclinic near Omonia Square.  In 1973 he received his pension from the Polyclinic and moved to the Saint Nicholas Hermitage in Kalissia, Penteli.  A few years after this, he moved to Milesi in Malakasa where he built the Holy Convent of the Transfiguration of the Savior. He received wide acclaim at this location and many faithful visited him for spiritual consolation and healing. In November of 1991 he returned to his old monastic cell at Kavsokalyvia on Mount Athos where he reposed on December 2, 1991.  


+Fr. Constantine J. Simones, Waterford, CT, USA. November 28, 2013.

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