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Modern elders


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#1 Anthony

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 12:29 PM

There have been a number of references recently to modern day elders. I must admit that apart from the very famous ones, many of these are only names to me or even completely unknown. I thought it might be useful to bring together on a single thread some of the spiritual fathers and mothers of recent times, perhaps with some sources for their lives and teachings.

(I'm not sure if this is actually the right area for it, but there seem to be a few precedents, so I'll chance it.)

#2 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 01:12 PM

Elder Paisios of Karyes.

#3 Andrew

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 04:34 AM

Elder Sophrony
Elder Philotheos Zervakos
Elder Joseph the Hesychast
Elders Paisi Olaru, Arsenie Noica, Arsenie Boca, Cleopa, Iustin of Romania
Elder Ioann Krestiankin
Elders Ephraim, Arsenius, Haralambos, Athanasius, Joseph, and Ephraim
and many more...
orthodoxengland.org and orthodoxphotos.com have some great resources.

#4 Olga

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 08:04 AM

The calendar produced by the Brotherhood of St Herman's had as its theme "Greek Elders" in a recent edition (2003 or 2004, if memory serves.) I'll dig up my old copy and post some details.

#5 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 11:10 AM

Staretz Kyrill of Holy Trinity St Sergius Lavra (still alive - just).
Elder Porphyrios.

#6 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 12:40 PM

Fr Emilianos of Simonos Petras on Mt Athos.

#7 Nina

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 01:28 PM

  • Fr. Sofian Boghiu (of Antim)
  • Mother Gavrilia
  • Elder Adrian Fageteanu
  • Elder Iakovos Tsalikis
  • Elder Iosif of Vatopedi


#8 Nina

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 03:26 PM

  • Elder Amphilokios Makris
  • Papa Dimitri Gagastathis
  • Father Epiphanios Theodoropoulos
  • Schemanun Macaria


#9 Andrew

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 03:45 AM

Father Lazarus Moore
Father Roman Braga (still alive)
Mother Alexandra

#10 Kusanagi

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 09:26 AM

Fr Macarie of Poiana Marului skete in Buzau Romania
Fr Ciprian of Sihastria monastery
Fr Vasillios of Birth of the Mother of God monastery in Agia Napa
Fr Savvas of Cyprus
Fr Zacharias and Symeon of St John the Baptist monastery in Essex England
Fr Raphael Noica in Alba Iulia
Fr Chrysostomos of Kentish Town England
Fr Teofil Pararian of Sambata de Sus monastery in Romania
Mother Siluana in Romania
main priest of St Cyprian's church in Bucharest Romania
Fr Ireneu of Antim monastery Romania.
Fr Michael of St Parascheva church in Basarab, Bucharest Romania
The above are all alive from my knowledge

Fr Dometie of Rimets monastery in Romania (deceased, awaiting canonisation)
Fr George Calciu (Deceased)
Fr Taidi of Milkovo monastery Serbia (Deceased)

#11 Anthony

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 01:43 PM

Thank you for all these replies, and hopefully others still to come. I must admit that I have never heard of many of these, and wonder if people would like to post a few basic facts about some of their lives or quotations from their teaching.

#12 Olga

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 04:58 AM

Here is the list of featured contemporary Greek elders from the 2004 edition of the St Herman’s calendar:

Elder Demetrius of Trikala (1902-1975)
Hieromonk Kosmas of Zaire (1942-1989)
Elder Amphilochius of Patmos (+1970)
Elder Philotheos of Paros (1884-1980)
Eldress Macrina of Volos (1921-1995)
Elder Gervasius of Patras (1877-1964)
Elder Paisius the New of Mt Athos (1924-1994)
Elder Joseph the Hesychast (1898-1959)
Elder George of Drama (1901-1959)
Blessed Stavritsa the Missionary (1916-2000)
Elder Epiphanius of Athens (+1989)
Elder Porphyrius of Kavsokalyvia and Kallisa (1906-1991)
Elder Iacovos of Euboea (1920-1991)

According to the feature article in the calendar, “Contemporary Ascetics of Mt Athos”, a two-volume set in English, derived from the original ten-volume set compiled by Archimandrite Cherubim was published some 15 years ago. The article also gives a list of biographies in English of the following elders, the titles being:

Elder Paisius of the Holy Mountain (publ: Holy Mountain Press, Mt Athos, 1998)
Elder Joseph the Hesychast
Papa-Dimitri Gagastathis
The Blessed Elder George Karslides
Elder Gervasios of Patras
Elder Porphyrios
The Garden of the Holy Spirit: Elder Iakovos of Evia
Apostle to Zaire: Father Kosmas of Gregoriou

A general overview of lives and teachings of some of the elders can be found in Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit (Protecting Veil Press, Thessalonica, 2003)

The calendar also has short biographies of the featured elders.

#13 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 10:54 AM

Are there really so many elders? Should we not be clear as to what we mean by 'elder'? There is a difference between an experienced spiritual father who can explain and give guidance as to the spiritual life and be well known for so doing, and an elder who can 'guide the guides' and is such a bearer of the Holy Spirit that he has unusual gifts such as clairyoyance. The Troitse Sergieva Lavra has a number of excellent spiritual fathers but only one elder.

#14 Anthony

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 12:22 PM

Thank you for these resources, Olga. Certainly enough there to point me in the right direction!

Andreas makes an interesting point, and I guess I should have started the thread by asking for a definition of "Elder". Certainly I was (of course pleasantly) surprised by the number of elders that have evidently been given to the Church in recent times.

#15 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 12:28 PM

Please cross refer to my post on the Thread, 'What things require a blessing'.

#16 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 12:28 PM

I suspect any definition of "elder" will fall prey to the same issues defining a word like "archbishop". Different churches use different definitions. Or try "spirit" and "soul". Different Fathers have defined them in opposite manner, or used them interchangeably. I notice that "elder" is NOT one of the automatically underlined words. Perhaps it is time to add it? I am glad that I do not have to supply the definition....

#17 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 12:34 PM

I agree, Herman. This is important for the reason I suggest in my post to which I have just referred.

#18 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 01:12 PM

Are there really so many elders? Should we not be clear as to what we mean by 'elder'? There is a difference between an experienced spiritual father who can explain and give guidance as to the spiritual life and be well known for so doing, and an elder who can 'guide the guides' and is such a bearer of the Holy Spirit that he has unusual gifts such as clairyoyance. The Troitse Sergieva Lavra has a number of excellent spiritual fathers but only one elder.


Part of the confusion may come from how in Greek monasticism the word for elder is applied freely to any monastic. I recall on Mt Athos a layman walking up the steep (very steep) path to Simonos Petras with me and referring in Greek to an 'elder'. I assumed he meant he wanted to meet the Elder at the monastery. Then I realized he was referring to me and using the word elder almost like we would speak to any priest and say Father. It took me back for awhile until I understood.

But I understand Andreas' point. I think this is what is happening naturally in the west as we make a distinction between a grace filled elder and a spiritual father. Although obviously the former is also the latter.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#19 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 01:16 PM

I wonder if we so want there to be elders that we are tempted to see them where they are not?

#20 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 01:25 PM

I wonder if we so want there to be elders that we are tempted to see them where they are not?


Maybe it's that we are looking for fulfillment of our imaginary expectations. ie 'Elders' who fulfill all our deepest 'spiritual' expectations. Of course the whole dimension of humility, trial and obedience disappears from this vision of what a spiritual father or elder actually is.

We need to keep firmly in mind with fear & trembling that even the most saintly elders have had those who hated them due to 'unfulfilled expectations.' I wonder if this demon doesn't prey at least in potential on every spiritual relationship.

In Christ- Fr Raphael




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