Oración , Preghiera , Priére , Prayer , Gebet , Oratio, Oração de Jesus

2666. Mas o nome que tudo encerra é o que o Filho de Deus recebe na sua encarnação: JESUS. O nome divino é indizível para lábios humanos mas, ao assumir a nossa humanidade, o Verbo de Deus comunica-no-lo e nós podemos invocá-lo: «Jesus», « YHWH salva» . O nome de Jesus contém tudo: Deus e o homem e toda a economia da criação e da salvação. Rezar «Jesus» é invocá-Lo, chamá-Lo a nós. O seu nome é o único que contém a presença que significa. Jesus é o Ressuscitado, e todo aquele que invocar o seu nome, acolhe o Filho de Deus que o amou e por ele Se entregou.
2667. Esta invocação de fé tão simples foi desenvolvida na tradição da oração sob as mais variadas formas, tanto no Oriente como no Ocidente. A formulação mais habitual, transmitida pelos espirituais do Sinai, da Síria e de Athos, é a invocação: «Jesus, Cristo, Filho de Deus, Senhor, tende piedade de nós, pecadores!». Ela conjuga o hino cristológico de Fl 2, 6-11 com a invocação do publicano e dos mendigos da luz (14). Por ela, o coração sintoniza com a miséria dos homens e com a misericórdia do seu Salvador.
2668. A invocação do santo Nome de Jesus é o caminho mais simples da oração contínua. Muitas vezes repetida por um coração humildemente atento, não se dispersa num «mar de palavras», mas «guarda a Palavra e produz fruto pela constância». E é possível «em todo o tempo», porque não constitui uma ocupação a par de outra, mas é a ocupação única, a de amar a Deus, que anima e transfigura toda a acção em Cristo Jesus.

Arquivo do blogue

terça-feira, 22 de novembro de 2011

Saint Seraphim tells us : Knowing God and Receiving the Light of Christ

Knowing God

Saint Seraphim tells us that we must first know God before we can contemplate Him. It is this direct knowledge that is necessary if we are to truly love Him.
Saint Seraphim writes,

If you do not know God, it is impossible for love of Him to be awakened in you; and you cannot love God if you do not see Him. The vision of God comes from knowledge of Him; for contemplation of Him does not precede knowledge of Him.

How are we to gain this knowledge? This is the question we should all ask ourselves and have great anguish if we cannot experience God in this non intellectual way but through a direct experience of Him and His love.

Saint Seraphim tells us,
"A man becomes perfect in His sight to the extent that he follows in His footsteps; in the true age God will reveal His face to Him."
This knowledge we seek is one that is expressed in a way that "warms" our inner being.

Saint Seraphim expresses it as follows:
God is a fire that warms and kindles the heart and inward parts. And so, if we feel in our hearts coldness, which is of the devil--for the devil is cold--then let us call upon the Lord, and He will come and warm our hearts with perfect love not only for Him, but for our neighbors as well. And from the presence of warmth the coldness of the hater of good will be driven away.
Christ has given us the means through our participation it it's liturgies, sacraments and prescribed practices for all of us, no matter what our spiritual condition, to come to this direct knowledge of Him. This includes the beauty if His Church which uses all means to lift us to heavenly levels. The sacrament of Holy Communion is a direct encounter with Him that works through all parts of our body to transform our fallen nature into one of His likeness. Through Holy Confession we are aided in not just relieving us from our guilt but committing ourselves with His help to change our mind and way of life. We nurture our growth through our regular practice of fasting and daily prayer. This is the Orthodox ways of life and the path to Theosis where we gain a direct knowledge of Him.

Reference: Little Russian Philokalia, Volume 1, p 23

Our aim is to know God in a direct way, not intellectually or through reason.  This is often  referred to as receiving the light of Christ. When we receive this light we experience a sense of joy. When it a light sent by the devil we feel a bit of agitation or obscureness. 

Saint Seraphim says,
The Christian heart, when it has received something divine, does not demand anything else in order to convince it that this is precisely from the Lord...
Saint Seraphim also gives many pointers about how to prepare to receive this gift of lights.

He says,
To receive and behold in the heart the light of Christ, one must, as far as possible, divert one's attention away from the visible objects. Having purified the soul beforehand by repentance and good deeds, and with faith in the Crucified, having closed the bodily eyes, immerse the mind within the heart, in which place cry out with the invocation of the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; and then, to the measure of one's zeal and warmth of spirit toward the Beloved, a man finds in the invoked name a delight which awakens the desire to seek higher illumination.
What is important to remember that this gift comes after we have purified our heart and soul of the attachment to the passions of the body and committed to a life of ongoing repentance and good deeds, including participation in the sacraments of the Church.
Saint Seraphim goes on to describe this gift.
When a man beholds the eternal light interiorly, his mind is pure and has no sensory representations, but, being totally immersed in contemplation of uncreated goodness, he forgets envy thing sensory and wishes not even to see himself; he Desiree's rather to hide himself in the heart of the earth if only he not be deprived of this true good--God.
This is the gift that is available to all up who are willing to cooperate with God and undertake the necessary preparation.
Reference: Little Russian Philokalia, Vol 1, pp 46-47

sábado, 19 de novembro de 2011

The Love of Christ and Prayer


« previous entry | next entry »
Jun. 23rd, 2009 | 10:30 am

I said to the Elder, "They are constantly saying prayers at the monastery. They are always saying the Jesus prayer. While at their various chores they recite supplications and salutations. They do this for whole hours at a time. After this they go to the Church for services.

I can't stand it any more. My mind has become tired. But nevertheless I want to become a monk. What will I do? Help me."

The Elder said "A young girl used to come here and confess her sins. She was in her second grade of Junior High School. She told me once, 'Father, I have fallen in love with a boy and I can't get him out of my mind. My mind is constantly on him, on Nick. One would think that Nick is here, (she pointed with her finger to her forehead). I begin to read and Nick is here. I go to eat and to sleep but nothing changes. Nick is here. What can I do father?' "

"My child," I told her, "you are still young. Be pateint, finish school and then Nick will still be here. Now you must put your effort into your lessons. A week passed and she came again."

"Dear Father, it's impossible for me to concentrate on my lessons. Constantly all day long my mind and my heart are on Nick. NIck has become an obsession with me and it won't go away."


"Did this girl sit on a stool [to concentrate]? Did she force herself to think of Nick? No.

"This happened spontaneously. This was unforced love.

"The same happens with us. When we love Christ with divine love, without any coercion, pressure, or worry, with love we will proclaim His holy name, 'Lord Jesus Christ.'

"And when the heart is flooded by this divine love, it does not requier us to verbalize the whole prayer, 'Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.'"

Before he finishes the prayer the heart stops at that point out of love and rejoicing.

--Taken from The Divine Flame Elder Porphyrios Lit In My Heart


Elder Porphyrios was born in the village of Aghios loannis

December 2nd – Elder Porphyrios

Elder Porphyrios was born in the village of Aghios loannis in the province of Karystia on the Greek island of Evia [Euboea] on
the 7th February 1906.
The name he received at birth was Evangelos.
His parents, Leonidas and Eleni Bairaktaris, were poor farmers and had difficulty in supporting their large family. For this reason his father left for America where he worked on the construction of the Panama Canal.
Young Evangelos was the fourth child of the family.
As a boy he looked after sheep on the hills and had completed only the first class of primary school when, at the age of seven, he was obliged on account of his family’s extreme poverty to go to the nearby town of Chalkida to work.
He worked there in a shop for two or three years.
Thereafter he went to Piraeus to work in a general store owned by a relative.
At the age of twelve he left secretly to go to the Holy Mountain.
His longing was to imitate Saint John the Hut-dweller whose life he had read and for whom he felt a special affinity.
The grace of God led him to the hermitage of Saint George in Kavsokalyvia where he lived in obedience to two elders, natural brothers, Panteleimon, who was a father confessor, and Ioannikios, who was a priest. He devoted himself with great love and in a spirit of utter obedience to the two elders who had a reputation for being exceptionally austere.
He became a monk at the age of fourteen and took the name of Niketas. Two years later he took his final monastic vows of the Great Schema. Shortly thereafter God granted him the gift of clear sight.
At the age of nineteen he became very seriously ill and was obliged to leave the Holy Mountain. He returned to Evia where he went to live in the Monastery of Saint Charalambos at Levka.
A year later, in 1926, and at the age of twenty, he was ordained priest at the Church of Saint Charalambos in Kymi by the Archbishop of Sinai, Porphyrios III, who gave him the name Porphyrios.
At the age of twenty-two he became a confessor and spiritual father.
For a time he was parish priest in the village of Tsakei in Evia.
He lived for twelve years in the Monastery of Saint Charalambos in Evia serving as a spiritual guide and confessor and then for three years in the deserted Monastery of Saint Nicholas in Ano Vatheia.
In 1940, on the eve of Greece’s entrance into the Second World War, Elder Porphyrios moved to Athens where he became chaplain and confessor in the Polyclinic Hospital.
He himself said that he served there for thirty-three years as if it were a single day, devoting himself untiringly to his spiritual work and to easing pain and suffering.
As of 1955 he made his home in the tiny Monastery of Saint Nicholas in Kallisia on the foothills of Mount Penteli. He rented this monastic dependency along with the surrounding area from the Penteli Monastery and worked the land with great diligence.
At the same time he carried out his copious work of spiritual guidance.
In the summer of 1979 he moved to Milesi, a village some thirty miles north of Athens and overlooking his native Evia, with the dream of founding a monastery there.
To begin with he lived in a caravan under exceedingly adverse circumstances and later in a simple room constructed from breeze blocks where he endured
without complaint his many health troubles.
In 1984 he moved into a room in a wing of the monastery which was under construction.
In spite of the fact that the elder was seriously ill and blind, he worked constantly and unstintingly for the completion of the monastery.
On the 26th February 1990 he was able to see his dream becoming reality when the foundation stone of the church of the Transfiguration was laid.
During the final years of his earthly life he began to prepare himself for his death.
His desire was to return to the Holy Mountain and to his beloved Kavsokalyvia where, secretly and silently, just as he had lived, he would tender up his soul to her Bridegroom.
He was often heard to say, ‘My desire now that I have grown old is to go and die up there’.
So it was that he came to his saintly end in his hermitage in Kavsokalyvia on
the morning of 2nd December 1991.
The last words that were heard to pass from his lips were the words from our Lord’s high-priestly prayer which he loved so much and repeated so often: that they may be one.
From the Life & Discourses of Elder Porphyrios the Kapsokalyvite:
One morning I was walking alone in the Virgin forest.
Everything, freshened by the morning dew, was shining in the sunlight. I found myself in a gorge. I walked through it and sat on a rock.
Cold water was running peacefully beside me and I was saying the prayer.
Complete peace. Nothing could be heard. After a while the silence was broken by a sweet, intoxicating voice singing and praising the Creator.
I looked. I couldn’t discern anything. Eventually, on a branch opposite me I saw a tiny bird.
It was a nightingale [Luscinia megarhynchos]. I listened as the nightingale trilled unstintingly, its throat puffed out to bursting in sustained song.
The microscopic little bird was stretching back its wings in
order to find power to emit those sweetest of tones, and puffing out its throat to produce
that exquisite voice. If only I had a cup of water to give it to drink and quench its thirst!
Tears came to my eyes – the same tears of grace that flowed so effortlessly and that I had acquired from Old Dimas [an old Russian Athonite hermit]. It was the second time I had experienced them. . . .
. . . ‘Why did they [nightingales] puff out their throats to bursting?’ The purpose was worship, to sing to their Creator, to worship God. That’s how I explained it. [from:'Wounded by Love: The Life & the Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios', ed. Sisters of the Holy Convent of Chrysopigi]
Later in this book, Elder Porphyrios refers again to this experience in a chapter called, |
‘On Creation’.  At the end of the chapter, he writes:
All these things connected with nature help us greatly in our spiritual life when they are conjoined with the grace of God. When I sense the harmony of nature, I am brought to tears. Why should we be bored with life? Let us live life with the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Truth. The person who has the Spirit of God, who has Divine Wisdom, sees all things with love of God and notices all things. The wisdom of God makes him grasp all things and delight in all things“.
Listen and I’ll recite my poem to you. It’s by Lambros Porphyras. [Poet from the port of Piraeus 1879-1932 - 'Poetry from Homer to Seferis' by Prof.C.Trypanis].
This captures my present state; I’ve got it constantly before me. It fits with my life.
If only the pine trees that cover the hillside would giveme a pileof their numberless branches,then finding a spot in a hollow beside them, I’d build there my dwelling, a hut low and lonely.
If only’t were summer-time, then they could give me a couch of their dry leaves, pine needles, to lie on, and then I would join in the song of the pine trees, their chorus at dawn-break of whispers and rustlings.
And nothing beyond this would I wish thereafter.
And when full of joy from this life I’d be parted, again they would lend me a few of their brances and make me a bower, a bed everlasting“.
In a touching passage about his first days on the Holy Mountain, Elder Porphyrios writes:
One night there was a vigil service at the Kyriakon, the church of the Holy Trinity.
This was very shortly after I had arrived, during the first few days.
Our skete was celebrating its feast day.
My elders left in the early evening for the church and left me in the hermitage to sleep.
I was young and they thought I might not be able to stay awake until the morning when
the vigil would end.
After midnight Father Ioannikios came and woke me up. ‘Wake up and get dressed’, he said, ‘and we’ll go to the church’.
I jumped up at once and in three minutes we had arrived at the Holy Trinity church.
He ushered me into the church first. It was the first time I had been inside.
I was overwhelmed! The church was filled with monks standing upright in an attitude of reverence and attentiveness. The chandeliers shed their light everywhere, lighting up the icons on the walls and on the icon stands. Everything was bright and shining.
The little oil lamps were lit, the incense exuded fragrance and the singing resonated devoutly in the otherworldly beauty of the night. I was overcome with awe, but also with fear.
I felt that I was no longer on earth, but that I had been transported to heaven.
Father Ioannikios nodded to me to go forward and kiss the icons. I remained motionless. ‘Take my hand, take my hand’! I started to shout. ‘ I’m scared’! He took me by the hand and, gripping him tightly, I went up to venerate the icons. It was my first experience.
It was engraved on my innermost soul. I will never forget it
There is no contradiction of course, because what the monks were doing in and through the physical structure of the temple was the human equivalent of the nightingale’s song.
As the Elder notes in the chapter ‘On Creation‘, while the nightingales are indeed praising their Creator and expressing their purpose by displaying ‘the greatness of God and His providence’, ‘God’s purposefulness is expressed differently in us, in mankind. We have freedom and reason’.
It is with the aid of these gifts that we produce art – our nightingale song.
Archimandrite Vasileios of Iveron has written ['What is Unique about Orthodox Culture' - Montréal: Alexander, 2001 pg. 20] :
Here [on the Holy Mountain 'Athos'] we find ourselves on another plane of education, culturally and spiritually. We find ourselves in a realm of high art [in architecture, iconography, music, poetry, prose] which is a fruit of spiritual maturity and
a starting point for spiritual maturity.
There is a reverence for man, a deep knowledge and development of the capacities concealed within him. And the grace with which matter is filled is revealed.
The same spirit prevails and is manifested everywhere. In the whole architecture of the Mountain [in the way Monasteries, Sketes, Cells and Huts have been formed and established in different places].
In the way the program [the daily schedule] is organized. In the expression of the icons.
In poetry; in the music of the chant. In the architecture of words and life.
Thus, the Temple, in the Orthodox view, is hardly a cage to imprison God, but rather ‘a house for the name of the Lord God of Israel’ [2Chron.6: 7], an expression of Praise and Beauty through human Art.


Elder Porphyrios – Prophet of our time . An anthology of Elder Porphyrios' conversations with his spiritual children. Elder Porphyrios' own accounts. Elder Porphyrios' conversations with Cypriots

Testimonies and Experiences
Elder Porphyrios – Prophet of our time

Panagiotis Sotirchos
Journalist, writer

K.I.: Mr. Sotirchos, you had the good fortune to know Elder Porphyrios. We therefore ask you to talk about his personality and his holiness.

P.S.: The whole of Greece mourned the passing away of Elder Porphyrios, not just geographically, but universally, throughout the whole world.  It's not only my personal opinion. All his spiritual children believed that. Elder Porphyrios is a holy person of great spiritual height, a true saint. All those who had the opportunity to know him well saw his sanctity in his silence, in his words and in his actions. I don't say Elder Porphyrios is a saint because I believe it but because I feel it. I can't help saying it. I can't put it any other way, because he had all the characteristics of a saint.

We've already been honored by God with signs of Elder Porphyrios' sanctity, not only while he was alive but immediately after his passing too. I give the following testimony.

There was a very well educated man here in Athens who was a spiritual child of Elder Porphyrios for many years. Whenever he had a problem he would go to see the elder or simply phone him up. When Elder Porphyrios passed away this man was absent on business and so hadn't learnt about his death. When he returned to Athens he came across a family problem and, as always, sought the Elder's advice. He picked up the telephone, dialed the Elder's number and heard Elder Porphyrios himself answer the phone.

He greeted him, sought his blessing and then went on to tell him about his problem and to ask for some advice. Elder Porphyrios told him what to do and what not to do. The spiritual child was pleased and said,

"I'll come and see you, Elder, as soon as I can." Elder Porphyrios then said,

"Don't telephone me again, because I have died."

K.I.: That's astonishing, Mr. Sotirchos, even to the point of being unbelievable.

P.S.: It really does appear to be unbelievable, Mr. Ioannides, but it's not unbelievable. It's simply a reflection of God's love. As a well-known monk from the Holy Mountain said, if we were truly able to know God's love for man, then, even now, we would be placed in paradise by it.

It's God's all-encompassing presence, even through His saints so that (please don't think it an exaggeration, because personally I completely believe it.) as we talk, God's grace gives Elder Porphyrios the blessing to hear what we're saying. I'm trying to avoid saying that he's standing in this room where we're speaking.

Let me explain that. Whatever we say about Elder Porphyrios it's not said to glorify him, because heaven has no need of the earth's glory. Here on earth we are in a miserable state. These things happen to give us the chance to follow their example, "to imitate a saint is to honor a saint," as Saint John Chrysostom says. It's like the raft of salvation that the castaway searches for in order to be saved. I believe that this is what is needed more than anything else in our times. We must find the hand of God in the midst of the saints, one of whom, I believe, is Elder Porphyrios.

K.I.: Mr. Sotirchos you've known and even written about elders of Orthodoxy. Your book Mystical Ascents is one of the most important Orthodox books, that I have read in recent years.

K.I.: The experiences of the elders that they received with the help of God and with the help of an elder is the correct road for every Christian to take.

The relationship between an elder and spiritual child is both fatherly and filial. It's part of the tradition of the Church from the very day of her foundation. It's the principle that we ought to follow.

An elder's existence is not the result of a personal decision. You don't say, "I want to become an elder," and it happens. It's "not enough to want it; you must give up your whole being. That's what the elder does in his individual struggle.

It starts with purification (catharsis), through hard asceticism. It does not attempt to avoid matter, but primarily purifies our inner being. Purification is not something that is achieved easily. A material house is built brick by brick, the same is true of the process of purification.

After the first stage, which is purification, comes the second stage, God-given enlightenment. Elder Porphyrios was barely educated; he had only gone to elementary school. However, the whole world did not know what the Elder knew. Holiness is not a piece of knowledge. It is a condition, a power, a quality of God. The saint enters the life of God and acquires the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

At this point we must make a small deviation, in order to say that grace is benevolent, but it is also painful for its bearer. Those who have grace also have pain. It's enough for us to recall the suffering of St. Paul the Apostle and St. John Chrysostom. The same was true of Elder Porphyrios, even though he had enormous gifts he suffered from many diseases until the moment of his death.

After that comes the reward, the prize, the third stage, theosis, which the Elder acquires without knowing it, unknowingly. The Elder now functions like an instrument, a tool of Divine Grace.

When he has the gift of discernment, or foresight, or healing, or whatever other pastoral gift, it functions in a completely natural way. It is just like doing all the other things in life, like breathing, thinking, talking, and so on. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are imparted in this natural way, just like a mirror reflecting the light of the sun.

K.I.: Elder Porphyrios' spiritual beam was so bright and so strong that whatever anyone says about that holy man is not enough.

P.S. The blessed Elder was one of the greatest contemporary figures of true spiritual holiness. His chief characteristics were his immense humility, meekness, and prayer. This triptych truly showed us the figure of a saint as bequeathed to us by our Orthodox tradition.

K.I. As you've quite rightly mentioned, Elder Porphyrios belongs to the great patristic tradition of our Church. The discernment that he had was striking. He helped everybody move one step forward. It was always a complete offering, service and ministry to his fellows.

Elder Porphyrios had many gifts and each one complemented the others.

He had boundless long-suffering and spiritual mercy not only for all his spiritual children, but for all his visitors. Thousands of people went and visited him in his cell. The greater part of Greece's spiritual elect respected him, visited him, and obeyed him.

He taught love by practical example. His basic sermon was love towards God. He wanted us to love God so that we could love people, the world, every single thing.
He was an ascetic for over seventy years. From his childhood until his extreme old age he was a man who continually exercised and struggled for himself and for his spiritual children. That's why God gave him so many gifts. Amongst others, the gifts of discernment, foresight, prophecy, and especially his wonderworking prayer. It is well-known that he healed many people from some very serious diseases.

Many academics characteristically went to him for advice, either before making an important decision or before an academic conference, or, in the case of doctors, before a major operation.

K.I.: "The humble people cried unto the Lord and the wise men of the world were admonished and their wisdom melted like wax."

P.S.: Exactly.    Elder Porphyrios was a great blessing from God upon all of us.  Before we continue, however, it would be good to make some clarifications. Discernment is the gift of the Holy Spirit, where the soul of the believer can see through people and things.

The gift of foresight is when man knows the events from God before they happen. This gift is complemented by the gift of prophecy, which gives a fuller forecast of the future. That's why many faithful instead of calling him Father Porphyrios called him Father Prophet, an example of the impact his spiritual work made.

K.I.: Elder Porphyrios' eyes saw what we can't see.

P.S.: Elder Porphyrios knew the details of time and space. The extent to which he saw things, people and events that happened in the past, that happen in the present, and that will happen in the future is incredible. He saw all these things without actively looking for them. You are, I imagine, aware of the fact that he saw the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

: Yes

P.S.: On that terrible morning, at dawn on the 20th July 1974, he jumped up out of bed and woke up his company.

"At this very hour," he told them, "the Turks are entering Cyprus."

K.I.: He even indicated to them the exact spots where the Turks were landing at that hour. Let us proceed from this addition, as we have recorded this shocking experience from others.*

*In July 1974 Elder Porphyrios traveled by car with three of his spiritual children to Mt. Athos. On the 20th of July 1974 he could be found in the village Metamorphosis, Chalkhidiki, where he had stopped to visit a monastery. There he heard the news of the Turkish invasion on the radio. He remained thoughtful and 'saw' that this situation was part of the development of a greater plan, as he told his companions. The radio had announced a call-up of reserves and one of his companions was required to report to the assembly point at Tyrnavos, all four of them took the car and headed for home. The reservist reported for duty somewhere in Tyrnavos. The Elder and the rest of the party spent the night in a hotel. The next day the Elder determined that it was unnecessary for them to remain, since the recruits name could not be found in the army directories. They went and picked him up, finally returning to Athens. One evening, during the journey, the Elder turned to one of his spiritual children and said that an important Turk was highly irritated because things were not going so well for them. He said that officers and leaders were coming and going giving orders and directions.
We were told this at the Convent founded by the Elder, by two of his spiritual children who spoke to us.

P.S: Yes

K.I.: We're waiting with great anticipation Mr. Sotirchos, for you to tell us more.

P.S.: I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to share some of my astounding experiences with your fellow Cypriots.

Once, the Elder set off for a monastery with three of his spiritual children to celebrate Vespers. At first they said they would go on foot. However, after walking some distance, Elder Porphyrios became tired, and the monastery was still quite far away. They decided to find a vehicle to take them the rest of the way.

At that moment, a taxi appeared in the distance. The Elder's three lay companions told him that they would wave it down and ask the driver to take them to the monastery.

"Don't worry," he told them, "the taxi-driver will stop anyway. But when we get into the cab, no-one is to speak to the driver; I'm the only one who'll speak to him."

That's exactly what happened. The taxi-driver stopped without them waving him down, they got in and the Elder told the driver their destination.

When the taxi set off the driver began to put down the clergy and to blame them for a thousand and one different things. Each time that he said something he addressed it to the three laymen sitting in the back seat of the cab:

"It is like that, isn't it, you guys? What do you say?"

They kept their lips tightly shut and didn't say a word, just as the Elder had told them.

When the driver saw that the others weren't answering him he turned to Elder Porphyrios and said,

"Isn't that the way it is, pappouli?. What do you say? The things they write in the papers are true, aren't they?"

Then Elder Porphyrios said to him,

"My son, I'll tell you a little story. I'll tell it only once to you; you won't need to hear it a second time.   There once was a man from a certain place (he named it), who had an elderly neighbor with a large property. One night he killed him and buried him. Then, using falsified papers, he got hold of his elderly neighbor's property and sold it. And do you know what he bought with the money that he got from selling the property? He bought a taxi...."
The moment the taxi-driver heard the story, he was so shaken, that he pulled over to the side of the road, and shouted,

"Don't say anything pappouli. Only you and I know about it."

"God also knows about it," Elder Porphyrios answered. "He told me, so that I could tell you. See to it that you change your way of life from now on."

K.I.: You mean to say, Mr. Sotirchos, that Elder Porphyrios saw, with his gift of foresight, that the taxi-driver had committed murder.

P.S.: Exactly.

K.I.: That's more than astonishing.

P.S.: When talking or hearing about the wonders of Elder Porphyrios' life one really does find one thing more astonishing than the other. Elder Porphyrios was really a spiritual giant. His journey here on earth was a journey entirely towards holiness.

K.I.: Mr. Sotirchos, could we please hear about one more event. One never becomes tired of hearing stories about Elder Porphyrios.

P.S.: One day, a spiritual child of Elder Porphyrios phoned him from South Africa, where he lived, to seek his advice about some problem he had.

As they were speaking on the phone Elder Porphyrios said to him,

"What's happening there? Is it still raining or has it stopped?"

Can you imagine it, the Elder in Greece knew that it was raining in South Africa that day.

The caller knew about Elder Porphyrios' gifts of discernment and foresight. When he finished his own conversation he said,

"Elder, I also have a friend of mine here who would like to speak with you, to receive your blessing."  He said it without mentioning his friend's name, he simply said, "a friend of mine".

The friend picked up the receiver and heard the Elder say,

"Good Evening X, my child."

X was taken aback. Immediately afterwards he heard the Elder ask him,

"How are your four girls?" and then, "Pay attention to your oldest daughter - she has problems and could be making a big mistake."

I must make it clear at this point that Elder Porphyrios didn't know this man and had never met him. When he heard what Elder Porphyrios said to him he became soaked in his sweat from the shock. He had realized that he had spoken to a true saint. This incident shows that Elder Porphyrios didn't only care about his spiritual children but about each human soul.

K.I.: That was the greatness of Elder Porphyrios' love; it truly overwhelmed you from the first moment you saw him, spoke with him or telephoned him.

P.S.: Elder Porphyrios' great and fundamental ascetic effort, apart from his humility, vigil and fasting, was prayer. Through his prayer he could see events in the past, in the present and in the future. When a Professor from the Polytechnic University was going to attend some European conference, he went to get the Elder's blessing. There they spoke about astronomy. As the professor himself told us, Elder Porphyrios told him what he would encounter at the conference and what he should do.

During the conference, the professor saw that everything Elder Porphyrios had told him beforehand came true. He was so moved that, not only did he become a most humble spiritual child of Elder Porphyrios, but he visited the Elder's Convent at Milesi regularly and humbled himself by doing manual labor there.
People didn't only come to see him from within Greece, but they came from all over the world, even from as far away as Japan. They went and put all their problems, worries and whatever else troubled them to him, and he helped all of them with lots of love, humbleness, gentleness and prayer -most of all prayer.

In one of our conversations, (I was blessed enough to see him many times), he said to me, "There are elders who can cover the whole of Greece when they stretch their arms out in prayer." He didn't say if it was himself or someone else that he was talking about.

K.I.: Every time I met Elder Porphyrios I felt as if our conversation was a spiritual banquet. I was greatly impressed by the freedom he allowed to the person who spoke with him. I saw all of Orthodoxy's freedom embodied within his face.

P.S.: Elder Porphyrios never forced anyone to do anything and he never suggested anything that would infringe upon another's freedom. He didn't want us to lord it over others, he wanted us to respect others. The holiness within him meant that he saw the world with infinite compassion.

With the freedom, as you said, that he gave to those who spoke with him, he helped them realize in the best possible way that they were going along the wrong path. He always said that we should keep away from sects.

A basic quality of his was that he accepted everybody. He welcomed agnostics and atheists. He even welcomed gurus, without judging or criticizing anybody for their beliefs. However, to all of them he pointed out that the truth is found in Christ and in the Orthodox Christian Faith.

One of the Elder's major attributes was to be accepting - to accept all things and all people. He was, to put it more simply, an exact copy of the way God acts towards us in order for us to become better, to be cleansed and to advance towards salvation. That was Elder Porphyrios' practice. He never criticized anybody but captivated
everybody. He had the grace of transforming people.

I'll tell you a typical incident involving a French woman, a professor. She had heard about the Elder's gift of discernment and wanted to test him.

This French lady had attended a conference in Japan on the subject of gurus. Anyway, she went and saw the Elder without telling him that she had taken part in the conference.

Elder Porphyrios let the conversation flow freely, as he always did. The French lady said whatever she wanted to say and at some point in the discussion they found themselves talking about gurus. He then said to her,

"There was a certain gentleman sitting next to you at that conference you attended a few days ago, didn't he tell you something about the subject of the question you're asking me now?"

He also named the gentleman, who was a Christian.

The French lady felt as if she had been struck by lightning. She really had talked about that subject with the person whom Elder Porphyrios named. She then realized that Elder Porphyrios was a person enlightened by God.

His words were full of fatherly wisdom. What else can you tell us, Mr. Sotirchos?

P.S.: He advised us to use gentle words when we said something to someone to avoid the element of confrontation. He gave the following example. "If you need to tell someone he is lying, don't tell him that he's telling lies, because naturally he'll become hurt and will react. Tell him that he is not telling the truth."

The greatest weapon for the salvation of us all is tolerance. This compassion comes to us from God and we in turn must give it to others as a present in return.

K.I.: He was highly inoffensive, an expression of his meekness.

P.S.: That was another of the Elder's virtues. It's also the reason why whoever spoke with him felt that whatever we've done as fallen beings, God's mercy would come to liberate us. It's enough to just seek his mercy, to call upon it with prayer and with a clean lifestyle.

In his farewell letter he writes, "I always made the effort to pray and to read the hymns of the church, may you also do the same." He showed us a road that we could follow and find the help and support that is so important in these trying times in which we live.

K.I.: He knew that I wrote poetry. He knew it before I had even met him: When some friends of my wife were telling him about our wedding he said, "Yes, I know, she married a poet and philosopher." Take note that no-one, not even my wife, had managed to tell him that I studied philosophy and wrote poetry.

In one of our conversations, he told me that the saints are poets and the Christ wants refined people next to him, like the true poets.

P.S.: This evolution, this development, not in the worldly sense, but in the spiritual sense, is the subject of my latest book with the title, "The Poet and the Saint."

In the hook I put forward that in life's river, we have the poet on one bank and the saint on the other. Both of them are reaching out to meet one another. At the point at which they meet we find the Christian writer, the Christian poet, who gives us poetry according to God, in Christ, feeling and expressing the world in another way, in a renewed way. This re-birth gives him God's holiness, which passes into life and meets man. I gained great joy from the fact, which you mentioned, that the late Elder told you that Christ wants refined people near him, because I've always thought that a person is refined when he manages to throw off the passions of this world, and thus open the closed door which prevents us from approaching Christ. We thus become more accepting of God's mercy.
K.L May the grace of Holy Spirit help all of us to accept this blessing from heaven, always allowing us to remember Elder Porphyrios, who bore so much witness to life according to God.

.: I personally have the conviction that he is a true saint of our time. I would like to make one wish, -that this conviction, the conviction of thousands of people, is for Elder
Porphyrios to become known throughout the Church and to be recognized 'officially' as a saint of our Church. We have a need of such examples.

I ask him to pray for all of us, as I believe that he lives in the land of the living, in the tabernacles of the saints, and that he speaks openly before God.

One more wish, that all those who have any kind of testimony from a meeting or conversation with the Elder write it down and present it to us, so that everything can be gathered together now while the memory of his passing is still fresh in our minds.

K.I.: Mr. Sotirchos I would like to give you our warmest thanks for the important things that you've told us and for all your advice regarding the selection of material for this current edition.
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Article published in English on: 11-2-2009.
Last Update: 11-2-2009.

An anthology of Elder Porphyrios' conversations with his spiritual children

An anthology of some of Elder Porphyrios' axiomatic conversations with his spiritual children from Greece and Cyprus.
They are presented just as they themselves recorded them for this book.
We present them in full, bearing in mind St. Isaac the Syrian's saying "Brevity (of the humble) is like the infinite words of the wise"

"You're always talking about my ego, Elder."
"Yes, because not one trace of egotism should remain in us, not a trace, do you hear?"
"Acquire humility, as much as you can, humility."
"It's difficult in the world we live in, Elder. How can I acquire it?"
"By loving Christ more."
"I would like to make my parents believe in God as much as I do, Elder, because they are very lukewarm in their faith. But it is already too late since they are old and at the end of their lives."
"It is not late at all. Not at all, that age is the most suitable."
"I like to go to the movies, the theater, but some of my friends told me that a good Christian has no need for those things and he shouldn't go there. What do you say about it, Elder?"
"You may go, if you like, it is not bad. The important thing is that you should not go to see something which will satisfy certain carnal desires of yours."
"Elder what can we do about our child who is filled with fears and insecurities?"
"You are completely responsible for this. You created these problems from his mother's womb because of the bad relations between you and your wife.  Won't all those emotional wounds affect the child throughout his life?"
"Elder, I'm afraid of getting married in case I chance upon some ill-natured woman."
"An ill-natured wife might be your chance to enter paradise."
"Elder, must I constantly help people in need of financial assistance all the time? I'm telling you this because, as you know, I don't have great financial ease."
"Do that too, when you can. However help those around you much more by speaking to them, by listening when they want to talk about their problems, or express their pain. Keep them company so that they won't feel alone."
The Elder's advice is not directed to everyone but was given to a particular individual under specific circumstances. It is wrong of us to come to the conclusion the Elder Porphyrios gave the same advice to everybody, in any case, he did not allow this particular person to see all plays and films unchecked. If we study the matter carefully we will see that very few films are free from the inclination to satisfy certain carnal desires.
"Elder, my daughter is living a dissolute life, how can I save her?"
"Only with your own holiness. A parent's holiness saves their children."
"How can I stop smoking? I tried many times but I didn't manage it."
"Every time you have the desire to smoke, say 'Lord, have mercy on me.' Prayer to Christ is the solution to each and every one of our problems. Do you see that even this parrot, this beautiful bird that I keep here in my room, has learned to say, 'Lord have mercy on me.'"
"Elder, I trust in dreams a lot. When I've had a dream at night that I think is a bad omen, I'm turned upside down for the whole of the following day, because I'm afraid that something bad will happen to me. For example, last night I saw fish in my sleep."
"Don't attach any importance to dreams. Now go to the fish market. Buy some fish and fry it for breakfast. This is what you should always do with your dreams."
"I confessed a new sin to my spiritual father, Elder, but I want to tell you about it, too."
"If you said it to your spiritual father, there's no need to say it to me as well. Since you confessed and repented, you received absolution."
"Elder, you speak to this friend of mine on the phone much more and for much longer than you speak to me lately."
"Were you afraid that I love her more than I love you?"
"Elder, you read my mind again. Can I tell you something else? I was also a bit jealous. Forgive me."
"Your children should not hear you arguing even once, not even if you just raise the tone of your voices to one another."
"That's not possible, Elder!"
"But of course it's possible. Just as I'm telling you it is, not even once."
"Elder, do you understand what a great sin I committed?
"You are good and you will overcome it."
"But, Elder, my sin is very serious."
"Don't despair. You have a good soul and God, who sees it, will forgive you and help you."
"You haven't spoken to me much lately, Elder, and I worry about bothering you and asking you about my problems."
"You, my child, have known me for many years. You know by now that I can help you more with my prayers rather than with my words."
"My spiritual father is absent and I want your blessing Elder, so that I can take communion tomorrow."
"Do you hate anyone?" "No, Elder."
"Good. Go and receive communion."
" Now I'm at the start of my pregnancy and all my friends tell me to do a pre-natal examination to determine whether or not I will give birth to a retarded child or a child with some other terrible affliction."
"And afterwards what will you do? Have an abortion? If you do such a thing, never again ask for my advice because I will have nothing more to say to you."
"I frequently get depressed, Elder."
"Why do you stay closed up in your house all the time?"
 "Where can I go?"
"Go on trips, go to the mountain. Those things are very good."
"Elder, I tremble at the moment when I will need to face the death of one of my relatives."
"It is your insecurity and nothing else."
"I have studied much, as you know, Elder. Should I also study theology?"
"It's not necessary. It is quite enough to study the Holy Scriptures and the Fathers. You will find everything there."
"Elder, tell me something about the spiritual life."
"Whoever does not repent will be lost."
"That's a hard saying, Elder."
"I'll say it to you once again, whoever does not repent will be lost."

Elder Porphyrios' own accounts

Over the course of the ten years in which we had the divine blessing of meeting Elder Porphyrios, we had the great gift of hearing many accounts from his honorable mouth. Both in person and on the telephone.
We present a few of them here, just some simple indications of his divine gifts.
One day a lady went to get some advice about her children. She spoke to him about all her children and about the different problems she had with them. She had absolutely no problem at all, as she put it, with the youngest child. He was so good that everyone in the village said he should become a priest.
When the lady finished telling her story, Elder Porphyrios told her she should not be so sure about her youngest child. He saw that her biggest and most real problems would be created by that very child.
She flew into a rage. She started yelling at the Elder, accusing him of saying her child was something other than how she described him. Generally, she treated him in a very rude manner. (You'll allow us not to mention - besides, it is not necessary - the epithets that she applied to the Elder, as he himself told us).
Some time passed. One day, the Elder heard a lady outside of his room yelling, practically screaming,
"Let me see the Elder. Let me kiss his feet and maybe he will forgive me. May God forgive me for the terrible sin which I committed against him."
The Elder Porphyrios then asked a nun to escort the lady in. When she went into his room, she fell at his feet, wailing, asking again and again for forgiveness.
When she had come round she explained that the very same child about whom he had spoken to her, suddenly started to change from one day to the next and became unrecognizable. From being the studious child that he was, he stopped studying for his lessons. He had gotten mixed up with bad company and he was always away from home. One day he reached the point of throwing a heavy object at his father's head after he had made some remark to his son. From that moment he left the house and, despite the fact they had been looking for him for days, they could not find him anywhere.
His unfortunate mother was kneeling asking for forgiveness from the Elder. She pleaded with him to pray to God to enlighten her child to return to his home.
Elder Porphyrios told us this story during a conversation about relationships between parents and children. He gave the subject immense importance.

He also told us another story about his life that, as it seems, is known to many and evidently to others too. He himself told it to them because they had been told about it by a third party.
We put down our own experience here for one specific purpose. This account of the Elder's was in answer to a question we asked him. A question common to many people in our century. How can we, who live in the world, in the bustle, turmoil and schizophrenia of contemporary life, meet God?
Elder  Porphyrios  told  us  the  following  story, presented here in brief:
Shortly after he was appointed chaplain to the Church of St. Gerasimos in the Athens Polyclinic, by Omonia Square, he had a problem at the time of the Liturgy. Directly across the street from the Church was a store that sold gramophones and records. The shopkeeper played records on the gramophone in order to attract customers. He played them so loudly, however, that Elder Porphyrios could not bear it. He had reached the point where he thought of resigning even though he wanted the post very much.
In this situation, as throughout his whole life, Elder Porphyrios did not put his own wants first, but with much prayer and humbleness, asked God to show him what he should do.
Therefore, following three days of fasting and prayer he found a notebook that belonged to the son of a Church council member, in the corner of the Church. He was a student at the University. It was a physics notebook, -Lord, we always marvel at your works- which gave Elder Porphyrios the solution to his problem.
Leafing through the pages, he found some notes that referred to acoustic waves. Studying it, he had a thought. If you throw a pebble into a lake, the water is disturbed and circles form. If, on the other hand, you threw a rock into another section of the lake, new bigger circles are created which neutralize the first circles.
This was the answer from God that Elder Porphyrios was waiting for. The next day, he tried to concentrate all his spiritual and mental powers into the prayers and the acts of the Divine Liturgy. Thus, on the basis of the reasoning he had done about the lake, he formed circles in his mind and his heart that canceled out the circles that were formed by the gramophone. It no longer disturbed nor distracted him from the Divine Liturgy.
There was a priest who struggled to overcome the smoking habit. When he was just about to give up, temptation would defeat him and he was overcome again. He had tried to give up smoking often, using different methods. Each time he failed.
This continued until he visited Elder Porphyrios one day. They talked about different subjects. When they began talking about priest's family situation and about certain differences that he had with his wife. Elder Porphyrios told him that the real reason for the friction was the fact that, without the priest himself realizing it, he smoked.
"When you give up smoking," the Elder said to him, "you will see that your wife will love you more, your differences will end, and everything will be as you wish in your house. I'll pray for you and you won't smoke again. Now throw that pack of cigarettes you're holding out of the window immediately."
The priest was obedient. He threw away his cigarettes and did not smoke again. Even though he had been trying to give up smoking for years and always failed, this time he encountered no difficulties in the realization of his decision.
When he finished telling the story, Elder Porphyrios called one of the nuns to his room and asked her to bring in a priest who was outside with his wife. It was the priest about whom we were talking. There we heard the priest and his wife telling us how much suffering this habit had caused to their personal relationship. It was through Elder's intervention that everything changed and they both became different people.
Then Elder Porphyrios explained to us that in another situation he showed a spiritual child of his yet another method to stop smoking. You cannot suddenly give up smoking from one moment to the next, (as in the case of the priest who he advised to throw away the pack of cigarettes immediately). This new method was in stages. The specific advice in this case was to lessen the number of cigarettes by one every three days.
When we asked him why in one instance he suggested one way and in the other instance another way, he answered that for each person different things apply. One person can bear one thing and another person something else.

Elder Porphyrios' conversations with Cypriots

One of my friends went to meet Elder Porphyrios. After they talked about her problems, he suddenly asked her how my son was, if he was well. My friend replied saying that he was very well.
He persisted and asked her if my son was well three more times. My friend assured him that he was very well all three times. However, it left such a great impression upon her that when she returned to Cyprus she insisted on asking me about the matter. She telephoned me with some anxiety to ask me whether or not my son was sick. When I told her that, thank God, his health was fine, she calmed down. However she still wondered why Elder Porphyrios persisted in asking her if my son was well.
I told my friend that there was nothing wrong with my son's health. That was true. I did not tell her what was really happening to my son. It was strictly a family matter, which I did not see fit to make public.
Elder Porphyrios, was as always absolutely right, because at that time my son was suffering from great internal torment.
Maria I.

The first time I went to Elder Porphyrios it was with the purpose and the intent of personally finding out to what extent all those things I heard about him were true. I wanted to find out if there was any element of exaggeration in those stories.
With my objective rationalism I decided that I was going to verify this in my own way. I did not tell any one about it. I would try to have my mind elsewhere for as long as the Elder was talking. I would think of other things to find out for myself if he really could understand what I was doing.
We entered his room. There were five of us. We kissed his hand. He blessed us. The others said a few things then suddenly he started telling us a story. I decided that then was the right time to try out my little scheme.
Then immediately Elder Porphyrios turned towards me. He called me by my name said, "Are you listening to me?"
"Yes, Elder, Pm listening," I answered. He took up the story again. Suddenly he said to me again, "Listen to what I'm telling you." This happened five times. Each time he would interrupt his story a little, turn towards me and say, "Listen to what I'm telling you"
My friends naturally thought that these continual appeals on Elder Porphyrios' behalf constituted some expression of special interest towards me. Maybe it was because it was the first time I had met the Elder. Maybe it was because he wanted me, especially, to hear the story he was telling us. Only he and I knew the real reason.
This is my personal testimony. The Elder Porphyrios could really read the minds and thoughts of each person who approached him, with that marvelous gift of discernment he possessed.
Thus, God made me worthy to 'place my finger in the imprint of the nails' and to marvel at the grandeur, in the person of Elder Porphyrios, of the Lord's gift to twentieth century humanity.

Our marriage began with the best of presuppositions and from the start Elder Porphyrios, whom we often telephoned, told us not to avoid having children.
A little later, after our child was born, we did not get along and we decided to get a divorce. We also had something against the Elder, may God forgive us. Instead of foreseeing our marriage dissolution with his gift of which we had personal experience, he encouraged us to have children.
However, when our infant began to grow up we became conscious of the fact that it would be criminal if we got a divorce. So we forgot our differences and decided to make up despite the fact that we would both have preferred a divorce. (We saw no other way out.)
Three years before his death, Elder Porphyrios told us,
"If you didn't have that child you would now be divorced and God only knows what would have happened to you. That's why I told you to have a child. You saved your marriage which is sacred, like all the sacraments of the Church,."
He continued, "You'll create a happy family if you always think of this image which I'll now describe to you. Your child will hold each of you by the hand. He will walk ahead to show you the road and you will follow."

I was studying in Athens. I visited Fr. Porphyrios many times alone or with friends of mine. We always received encouragement, helping us continue our difficult life in Athens.
During Easter 1981, I visited him with my fiance. We were soon going to begin our new life together. We wanted to ask the Elder about a lot of things and to receive his advice. However, we respected the fact that he was ill and confined ourselves to receiving his blessing only. He said to me as I was kissing his hand,
"Let me check your pulse a little."  I gave him my hand.
"It is good," we heard him say.
He continued, "You are both good. You are Christ's."
Then, turning towards me, he said
"You are a tender soul and very sentimental. You easily become enthusiastic about things but later you're wounded and get upset. May you always be sensitive to whatever is good. That is the way Christ wants us."
Elder Porphyrios' words often helped me to overcome many things in my life such as sorrow caused by disappointment and my extreme sensitivity

I hasten first to make it clear that the only reason I am not signing this text is to avoid any possibility of my words being considered as a sign of haughtiness, pride, or boastfulness. Besides, the short story is what is important, not my name. I am nothing more than one of the many who through God's kindness got to know Elder Porphyrios.
It was a very beautiful spring afternoon. We reached Oropos with the usual manifest worry as to whether Elder Porphyrios was there, whether or not he was sick, if he would speak to us, if he was too tired from the many visitors on that day, etc.. We had these uneasy feelings every time we set off to visit him.
Arriving there, we found ourselves before a most unexpected scene. Glory to God! Elder Porphyrios was there. He was not in bed, but up and about. He was in good health. He was in a field (right next to the Convent that he later built), overseeing scores of people who had gone there voluntarily to plant different things in the field.
The scene was indescribably picturesque and biblical. The 'good shepherd' in the midst of his 'rational sheep'. The instructor of souls even demonstrating how tomatoes should be planted. So that everything would be as it should be, perfect.
Naturally, we didn't even consider approaching him to kiss his hand and to receive his blessing.
We stopped the car a good distance away from the area where the large number of people were working. We remained in the car and we tried to console one another and each person was saying:
"It doesn't matter, nature is so pretty here and the afternoon is so beautiful. Let's enjoy it at least."
Half an hour went by, and I felt the need to get out of the car and take a little walk in the forest nearby. I was so grieved because I would not talk to the Elder that I wanted to be alone and maybe to cry a little. I wanted to speak with him so much and to get his advice about the enormous problems that then burdened me. Besides, I went to Greece only once or twice a year. Who knows how many months would go by before I would see him.
As I was walking the length of the forest, my friends who had taken me there in their car came running towards me.
"Come on," they said to me, "the Elder is calling for you."
"Yes, he said to go up to him, he wants you." "You're joking?"
We had not told anyone that we were there. We didn't even speak to anyone from the time we arrived and parked the car here. No one took any notice of us because they were all so busy, and we were far away from them. The only way they could see us was with a telescope.
They practically dragged me to the Elder. I couldn't believe that Elder Porphyrios saw me. More importantly, he saw what was happening in my soul at that time.
I approached him. I kissed his hand, and he made me sit down next to him. He kept me near him for about an hour. He and I were talking while all the others around us were digging the ground and planting. This was happening to such an extent that I felt it was improper for me to receive preferential treatment. The others were killing themselves working and I was enjoying the seat of honour next to the Elder without my offering any help.
At that time I knew very little about Christ and I studied the New Testament very little. Only later, when I had been taught by Elder Porphyrios to study the New Testament and the Fathers of the Orthodox Faith, did I understand the meaning of his actions that day, "...and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out" (John 10:3).
The Gospel according to St. Luke gave me the answer, "Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured saying, This man receives sinners and eats with them.' So He spoke this parable to them saying, 'What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he finds it, he lays it on his shoulders rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost! I say to you likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance" (Luke 15:1-7).
A Cypriot lady.


Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios from the book 'Wounded by Love'.

We need always to have thoughts of love for our brothers and sisters...We need to have goodness and love in our soul...  

Man has such powers that he can transmit good or evil to his environment. These matters are very delicate. Great care is needed. We need to see everything in a positive frame of mind. We mustn't think anything evil about others. Even a simple glance or a sigh influences those around us. And even the slightest anger or indignation does harm. We need to have goodness and love in our soul and to transmit these things.

We need to be careful not to harbour any resentment against those who harm us, but rather to pray for them with love. Whatever any of our fellow men does, we should never think evil of him. We need always to have thoughts of love and always to think good of others. Look at Saints Stephen the first martyr. He prayed, "Lord do not hold this sin against them". We need to do the same.

We should never think about someone that God will send him some evil or that God will punish him for his sin. This thought brings about very great evil, without our being aware of it. We often feel indignation and say to someone: 'Have you no fear of God's justice, are you not afraid of God's punishment?' Or else we say, 'God will punish you for what you've done', or 'O God, do not bring evil on that person for what he did to me', or 'May that person not suffer the same thing'...

In all these cases, we have a deep desire within us for the other person to be punished. Instead of confessing our anger over his error, we present our indignation in a different way, and we allegedly pray to God for him. In reality, however, in this way we are cursing our brother.

And if, instead of praying, we say, 'May God repay you for the evil you have done to me', then once again we are wishing for God to punish him. Even when we say, 'All very well, God is witness', the disposition of our soul works in a mysterious way and influences the soul of our fellow man so that he suffers evil.

When we speak evil about someone, an evil power proceeds from within us and is transmitted to the other person, just as the voice is transmitted on sound waves, and in point of fact, the other person suffers evil. It is something like the bewitchment of the evil eye, when someone has evil thoughts about others. This occurs through our own indignation. We transmit our evil in a mystical way. It is not God who provokes evil, but rather people's wickedness. God does not punish, but our own evil disposition is transmitted to the soul of the other in a mysterious way and does evil. Christ never wishes evil. On the contrary, HE commands, Bless those who curse you...

The evil eye is a very bad thing. It is the evil influence that occurs when someone is jealous of, or desires something or someone. It needs great care. Jealousy does great harm to the other person. The person who exercises the evil eye doesn't think for a moment that he is doing harm. Remember the Old Testament says: For the bewitching eye of wickedness obscures what is good (Wisdom 4:12)

When the other person, however, is a man of God and makes confession and receives Holy Communion and wears a cross, nothing does him any harm. Even if all the demons were to fall on him, they would achieve nothing.

Continued ---

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 06:46 PM
PART II...continuation....

'The noise of murmurings shall not be hidden'

Within us there is a part of the soul called the 'moralist'. This 'moralist', when it sees someone going astray, is roused to indignation, even though very often the person who judges has strayed in the same way. He does not, however, take this as an occasion to condemn himself, but the other person. This is not what God wants. Christ says in the Gospel: You, then, that teach others, will you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal?

It may be that we do not steal, but we commit murder; we reproach the other person and not ourselves. We say, for example: 'You should have done that and you didn't do it. So see now what's happened to you!' When we think evil, then it actually happens. In a mysterious and hidden manner we diminish the power of the other person to move towards what is good, and we do him harm. We can become the occasion for him to fall ill, to lose his job, or his property. In this way we do harm, not only to our neighbor, but also to ourselves, because we distance ourselves from the grace of God. And then we pray and our prayers are not heard. We 'ask and do not receive'. Why? Have we ever thought of this? 'Because we ask wrongly.' We need to find a way to heal the tendency within us to feel and think evil about others.

It is possible for someone to say, 'The way that person is behaving, he will be punished by God', and to believe that he is saying this without evil intent. It is not a simple thing, however, to discern whether he has or does not have evil intent. It does not appear clearly. What is hidden in our soul and how that can exercise influence on people and things is a very secret matter.

The same is not true if we say with a sense of awe that another person is not living well and that we should pray for God to help him and grant him repentence; that is, neither do we say, nor deep down do we desire that God will punish him for what he does. In this case not only do we not do harm to our neighbour, but we do him good. When someone prays for his neighbour, a good force proceeds from him and heals, strengthens and revives him.

It is a mystery how this force leaves us. But, in truth, the person who has good within him radiates this good power to others, mystically and gently. He sends light to his neighbour and this creates a shield around him and protects him from evil. When we possess and good disposition towards others and pray, then we heal our fellow and we help them progress towards God.

There is an invisible life, the life of the soul. This is very powerful and can have effect on the other, even if we are miles apart. This also happens with the curse, which is a power that works evil. But if, conversely, we pray with love for someone, whatever the distance that seperates us, the good is transmitted. So distances do not affect the power of good and evil.

We can transmit these across boundless distances. Solomon the Wise says this very thing: 'The noise of murmurings shall not be hidden.' The noise of our soul is transmitted mysteriously and affects the other, even if we don't say a word. Even without speaking we can transmit good or evil, irrespective of the distance which seperates us from our neighbour. What is not expressed generally is greater power than words.