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Are there any elders in America?


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#1 Caleb Shoemaker

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 07:03 PM

I've been reading The Orthodox Church as we begin our journey into Orthodoxy, and am intrigued by the character of the Elder or Staretz. Are there any such people in the monasteries of the United States?

#2 Nina

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 07:19 PM

There is at least one Elder in USA. His name is Elder Ephraim of Arizona (Monastery of St. Anthony the Great).

#3 Father David Moser

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 07:27 PM

There is at least one Elder in USA. His name is Elder Ephraim of Arizona (Monastery of St. Anthony the Great).


While I wouldn't categorically disagree here - I would make the distinction that Fr Ephraim is not universally acclaimed or recognized as an "Elder" (in the sense of spirit bearing staretz).

Fr David Moser

#4 Eric Peterson

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 07:28 PM

Dear Caleb,
Elders, or experienced, enlightened spiritual guides, have always been rare globally, and moreso today, but even in America there is at least one, Elder Ephraim at St. Anthony's Monastery in Arizona. There are also many other experienced spiritual fathers in America which might be called elders in the true sense. Unfortunately, there are also people here and around the world who would pretend to be elders and lead people into problems. Elders are just one means God has given of guiding people aright. Even a humble parish priest is capable of this, though, as he has the grace of God. We also have our own conscience, our guardian angels, our saints, the Holy Scriptures, and most of all God Himself who speaks to our hearts and orders our lives and arranges things for our benefit and salvation. I say all this because, while I don't want to discourage you from investigating elders and monasticism, I don't want you to become overwhelmed. (Also, I don't know what your situational specifics are, so I try to cover the bases--lol.) It is easy for new converts to become very excited by a particular aspect of Orthodoxy and find that, later, their spiritual lives have a particular imbalance which could be dangerous (been there). Orthodox spirituality is dynamic, powerful, and rich since it is true. But it is important to realize our own situation, and that we just are not prepared to jump in that ocean. So, learn to walk on the beach and feel the little waves with your feet. Find a church parish home and a priest with whom you can develop a good rapport and make your confession. Visit monasteries. Ask your priest for books to read. Pray. And be joyful. God be with you, friend.

#5 Eric Peterson

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 07:34 PM

Perhaps it's safer to acclaim elders after they have departed to the Lord. We can be very sure, then, about Elders Paisios, Porphyrios, Iakovos, and even more sure of the glorified saints, the elders of Optina, for example.

I'm not sure "geronda" has the same kind of exclusivity attached to its use as "staretz." They both translated to about the same thing, but the Russian use appears narrower.

#6 Nina

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 07:40 PM

While I wouldn't categorically disagree here - I would make the distinction that Fr Ephraim is not universally acclaimed or recognized as an "Elder" (in the sense of spirit bearing staretz).

Fr David Moser


Of course even Saints are not universally recognized as such until the Church proclaims them Saints. But since for me personally he is an Elder and seeing the immense work he has done starting all monasteries he has and God has blessed his work so much here for me he is an Elder and I am not alone in this opinion. Plus there are many stories of miraculous things with Elder Ephraim. Of course much is not revealed since these kind of Elders prohibit people from divulging these before their death. One thing I know is that my husband who is not Orthodox when he sees Elder Paisios', Elder Ephraim's, Elder Porphyrios', Elder Iakovos' etc photos I have from books here at home, he immediately asks who these people are since he is impressed so much by their smile which reflects Heaven...

Eric wrote:

Elders, or experienced, enlightened spiritual guides, have always been rare globally, and moreso today, but even in America there is at least one, Elder Ephraim at St. Anthony's Monastery in Arizona. There are also many other experienced spiritual fathers in America which might be called elders in the true sense. Unfortunately, there are also people here and around the world who would pretend to be elders and lead people into problems.

I agree with this very much.

It is easy for new converts to become very excited by a particular aspect of Orthodoxy and find that, later, their spiritual lives have a particular imbalance which could be dangerous (been there).

I think this kind of intoxication can happen to the cradle people too.

Orthodox spirituality is dynamic, powerful, and rich since it is true. But it is important to realize our own situation, and that we just are not prepared to jump in that ocean.

I commend Caleb in his interest about Spirituality. This as Eric says is one very important part of Orthodoxy. We can acquire spirituality and a lot of spiritual advise by reading Lives of Saints and Patristic books.

The most important elder for one person is his own spiritual father where he confesses. This is important. If we can have the blessing to visit an Elder and receive his blessing this is a great bonus for our spiritual life.

#7 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 07:47 PM

Some recent elders have been recognised as such during their lifetime. This would include the Greek elders mentioned, Elder Sophrony of Essex, and Staretz Kyrill (Pavlov) (who is still alive) of Holy Trinity St Sergius Lavra.

#8 Archimandrite Irenei

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 07:49 PM

I've been reading The Orthodox Church as we begin our journey into Orthodoxy, and am intrigued by the character of the Elder or Staretz. Are there any such people in the monasteries of the United States?


Yes. And God will show you precisely who they are at precisely the time this becomes helpful to your salvation. Until such time, take joy in leaving them to God and residing in their prayers!

INXC, Fr Irenei

#9 Nina

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 08:24 PM

One thing I know is that my husband who is not Orthodox when he sees Elder Paisios', Elder Ephraim's, Elder Porphyrios', Elder Iakovos' etc photos I have from books here at home, he immediately asks who these people are since he is impressed so much by their smile which reflects Heaven...


Just as I was writing this now, the mailman brought a book (blessing!) from St. Herman of Alaska Monastery. It is the book "Our thoughts determine our lives" by Elder Thadeus of Serbia. And as I opened the package my husband was asking me: "Do not you already have his book? Right there?" And pointed to the books of these Elders I mentioned above. (Giggle) He could not tell this is a new Elder entering our home since his face too radiates with the love and smile from Heaven. This is a characteristic of these modern/contemporary Elders. This smile from Heaven.

These Elders are humble, unpretentious, need no glory, quiet and people who have reached theosis and are a beacon from Heaven on earth. As Fr. Irenei mentions above, allow these Elders to find you. I had no idea about Elder Thadeus (he has departed now) until some days ago. God revealed him since I needed to listen to him and read from him. There is a 6 part video on you tube where this Elder is being interviewed and I wanted to etch his words all over my place to be surrounded by them since they are very helpful to me. And then a friend told me about Elder's book and the Monastery of St. Herman has published it! :) Now I am like a kid in the middle of fairytale land that this Elder entered my home. :) See I have been Orthodox for long and still can get too excited like Eric warns us about. :) But some joy is ok. :)

#10 Caleb Shoemaker

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 04:10 PM

Yes. And God will show you precisely who they are at precisely the time this becomes helpful to your salvation. Until such time, take joy in leaving them to God and residing in their prayers!

INXC, Fr Irenei


Father, Bless!

Thank you so much. That was exactly what I needed to hear.

#11 Anna K.

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 09:04 AM

Nina dear,

Thank you so much for introducing Elder Thadeus to us.
He has through the videos helped me as well so much. Hoping to get the book as well!

In christ
Anna K

#12 Fr Seraphim (Black)

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 03:13 PM

Are there elders in the USA?
Normally to paraphrase Fr. Paisios [+1994] "..many of us are elderly but not necessarily elders..."
No matter which word we desire to utilize, be it: startez, gerondas, duhovnik, abba, or the feminine version of these words; yes, our Orthodox Christian historical witness has been that there will be Spiritual Fathers and Mothers until the end of this present age.
The question arises: how do you define this term.

This then opens a veritable can of worms (forgive the expression). Do you want an old man with silver hair and a beard down to his knees; of a gentle elderly Abbess with a twinkle in her eye?

It is not in the Christian life as it is in secular life: what you pay is equal to what you get.

Rather it is the reverse and it depends on your heart. Depending on the mature spiritual state of your heart, our Lord will hear your prayer. As the Psalmist says: "...a broken and contrite heart' is the starting point.

Naturally the number of elders does have a direct correlation to the spiritual state of the local Church.

As St. Seraphim of Sarov replied as to why there are not as many wonder-workers at the present time; he answered, "lack of fervour".

There is definitely no need to take a long and expensive airplane journey , unless 'spiritual tourism' attracts you.

Our Lords words are sincere:"...ask and you shall receive..."

#13 Gregorios Dunn

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 06:45 PM

"The Teacher will appear when the student is ready to learn." There are elders, maybe some even you do not know and they are near by.

#14 Fr Seraphim (Black)

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 11:09 AM

Actually I heard that saying in India on my pilgrimage down to Kerela and the Syrian Orthodox monastery where I was blessed to lay my head for sometime. I hope it is not absolute.

One day yet one year later I was working in the garden in Essex, England with Father Zosima, now Archimandrite Zacharias. We were toiling in the early November morning amongst the mist and clay adjacent to the hermitage of Blessed Father Sophrony. I remember clearly him taking a moment to rest and he spoke of what he termed "one of the greatest gifts of Orthodoxy to us". That being a Spiritual Father, Staretz, duhovnik, gerondas, however the ineffable word of each particular language encompasses the immeaurable blessing of an abba.

One thing is absolute: knock; cry; weep and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will most assuredly hear our heart filled lamentation. Fr. Zosima's beard was as long as it is now, but still he was only in his late twenties, and we even had hair on our heads! Even then my dear brother was venerable; but our good Lord hid it from him.

Yes, let us be at peace: as he was so fond of saying from the Psalmist: "...many are the tribulations of the righteous [though he refused to count himself amongst that group] - yet even so, dear Father Zosima was confident that "the Lord delievereth him out of them all."

How?

By the prayers and blessing of the Spiritual Father.

Let us be confident and our hearts' encouraged by the immense blessings of this radiant Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord and Saviour!


"The Teacher will appear when the student is ready to learn." There are elders, maybe some even you do not know and they are near by.


Edited by Herman Blaydoe, 06 August 2011 - 01:09 PM.
duplicate quote removed


#15 Fr Seraphim (Black)

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 10:00 AM

I was touched by these words of Father Paisios in "With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man":

'It's one of the signs of our times, that people are seeking help from a poor man like me. I am not any good and I wonder what they find in me and why they come to see me. I am only a pumpkin that looks like a watermelon. Today people eat pumpkin and think it is watermelon, because the skin looks the same. They travel from afar without even being sure whether they will find me or not. With myself I am disgusted; for them, I feel so much pain. Look what has happened to our world and what is becoming of us! The Prophet Isaiah says that a time will come when people will find a man who is wearing a piece of clothing, and they will say to him, Come, let us make you our king. (cf. Is. 3:6) May God have mercy on us.

(Holy Monastery "Evangelist John the Theologian" Souroti, Thessaloniki, Greece, 2007, pg. 31)

Blessed Father Paisius - he was so thin he did not even resemble a pumpkin!

#16 Alice

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 05:47 PM

IDear Father Seraphim,

I just read this book for a second time, and it spoke to me again as if it were the first time. So much of what Father Paisios wrote is touching and profound. He is so loved by the Greek people and I am sure we will be canonized sooner rather than later, as I have watched Greek documentaries, and many are the miracles associated with him even after death. He was indeed so, so thin--he ate almost nothing. On the CD there is a photo of him as a young layman at the time he was in the army...with snow up to his knees and a smile as wide as the heavens. He was quite robust and healthy looking before he became an ascete.

My husband was also sent a special 2 hour CD about him from a Father at Mt. Athos that he had met last year. I don't remember if this was in the CD or in the book, but he had such a cute sense of humour--someone, (obviously not a friend of monasticism) once asked himat his kalyvi (hut): "what do you do here with your time?"

He told them to look up at the mountain behind the kalyvi. He then said "do you see all the flowers there? Do you know how long it takes for me to water all of them?" He then went on to say: "Do you see how many stars light up the sky at night? Do you know how long it takes me to go light each one of them?" The man looked at him, not knowing exactly what to make of his answer!

#17 Alice

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 08:12 PM

Wondrous events with Elder Paisios, modern day Starets--

Elder Paisios

Wondrous events


Father Paisios always wished for the grace of God to function in his life, and for this reason, he humbled every single one of his wills. As a result, divine grace, which abided in the Elder’s soul since the day he was baptized, was activated and worked miracles.


The Elder always tried to hide from people the energy of divine grace hidden inside him. When divine grace was functioning within him and was perceived by some people, Father Paisios humbly admitted that he himself did nothing; for he had very well understood –since he was very young- that it was impossible for any authentic spiritual energy to come out of him.

Most of the times, he covered up the energy of divine grace, so people could not detect it. There were times, however, when people needed a “divine push” instead of human assistance in order to believe in God and thus correct themselves; then, he was forced to disclose the energy of the divine grace.

A series of volumes is required in order to present, even to the slightest degree, whatever was overflowing from the spiritual activity of the Elder. The following are only a few indications of wondrous events witnessed by priestmonk Christodoulos, who is the author of the book “Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain” (1998).

One afternoon, I went to see Father Paisios. During these days, I was possessed by a certain haughtiness which was derived from the lack of warmth in my poor prayer life. When I began to control my unrestrained mind, I started seeing things more lucidly. However, as I did not have a humble attitude, I thought I had reached a certain spiritual state and I was bragging about it.

I went to see the Elder to confide in him my thoughts, which were imbued by the sense of haughtiness I just described. Father Paisios listened to me and without saying anything in specific, started telling me the following story:

-Yesterday, a monk visited me and told me something which made me recall the incident I am about to tell you.
One night, I was in my cell at Katounakia saying the Jesus prayer and gradually I was possessed by a heavenly joy. Simultaneously, my cell, whose darkness was interrupted only by the trembling flame of a candle, was filled with a beautiful white-blue light. At the beginning, the light was very strong. I felt that my eyes were also “getting stronger” in order to withstand the glow. It was the Uncreated Light! I stayed in my cell for many hours, losing sense of all earthy things and living in a spiritual world, very different from this one.
While being in this state of the Uncreated Light and heavenly experiences, I lost all sense of time.

At one point the Uncreated Light started fading away and I was back to my old state of being. I began to feel hungry, so I took a piece of bread to eat. Then, I was thirsty and had some water to drink. I was getting tired and I needed to sit down and get some rest. I felt like an animal and I deplored myself for it. The change from one situation back to the other gave birth to a natural humbleness. Having experienced the difference between the spiritual state I was found in and my earthly needs, there was nothing left for me but to despise and blame myself for it.

Further down from my cell, another monk was residing. I looked outside and had the impression it was still night with a full moon. I went out and asked him:

-What time is it? It seems that dawn hasn’t broken yet this morning.

The monk looked astonished and asked me:

- What did you say, Father Paisios? I didn’t understand.

Only then, I realized what had happened. It was ten in the morning and the “full moon” I thought I had seen was the sun. The Uncreated Light was so strong that it made daylight and the sun look like a night with a full moon. The difference between the light of the sun and the Uncreated Light was like the one between night and day.
When the Elder finished his story, he told me to go, as there were other people waiting to see him. I made my way back to my cell only slightly realized my beastly state of being.

After the Turkish invasion in Cyprus, a Cypriot deacon monk went to visit the Elder, as he was feeling very sad about the terrible destruction and great loss of lives. (He had also lost some of his relatives).

Father Paisios was fond of him because he was a very pious and kind man and asked him to spend the night at his cell.
- In the morning, the priest will come to serve the Divine Liturgy. I will wake you up early, so we can chant the Matins service and read the prayers of the Holy Communion service.
The deacon went to his cell and the Elder to his own, where he prayed all night. A couple of times, he went to knock on the deacon’s door and jokingly said:

- Father, did you, by any chance, have a vision? Did you see an angel?

Around two o’clock in the morning, Father Paisios woke him up to start the Matins service. At one point, the Elder began to read the service of the Holy Communion. The deacon was watching the way Father Paisios was reading, and how his face was full of compunction and piety.

When he reached the hymn of the fifth ode which says: “O Mary, Mother of God, the sacred tent of fragrance, through your prayers, make me a chosen instrument that I may partake of the holiness of your offspring”, something extraordinary happened:

The little chapel was filled with a white-blue light and the oil lamps, whose red flames became light-blue as well, began to move in a slow rhythm. At the same time, the whole chapel was permeated by a heavenly fragrance beyond description.
The deacon was astonished and could not understand what was going on. He interrupted the Elder, whispering to him:
- Father, what is happening?

He made a signal for him to keep silent and told him:
- Say the Jesus prayer and do not talk, because the Virgin Mary is visiting us.

For quite some time, the Elder and the deacon remained with their heads on the ground, until the white-blue light faded away taking along with it the sorrow and grief from the deacon’s heart. In their place, there was joy, hope, faith and love for God, but also gratefulness towards the Elder who was the recipient of the grace of God. Later on, the priest came to serve the Divine Liturgy. In the morning, the deacon left with a feeling of admiration for the spiritual boldness Father Paisios had before God.

Father Paisios was going through a very difficult phase. A problem was created in the Church at that time and many bishops had gone to him to ask for his help. However, it was a very complicated problem and even if he wanted to, he was unable to assist; as he said, no matter from which side you look at the problem, you come face to face with a spiritual impasse. So, he decided to turn his efforts to solve the problem into prayer. During that time, Father Paisios constantly prayed for God to give solution to the Church’s problem; especially, he prayed to St. Ephemia:

- St. Ephemia, you who miraculously solved the serious problem the Church was facing then, take the Church out of the present impasse!

One morning, at nine o’ clock, when Father Paisios was reading the service of the third hour, he suddenly heard someone discreetly knocking on his door. The Elder asked from inside:

-Who is it?
Then, he heard a woman’s voice answering:
- It is me, Ephemia, Father.
-Which Ephemia? He asked again.
There was no answer. There was another knock on the door and he asked again.
-Who is it?
The same voice was heard saying:
-It is Ephemia, Father.

There was a third knock and the Elder felt someone coming inside his cell and walking through the corridor. He went to the door and there he saw St. Ephemia, who had miraculously entered his cell through the locked door and was venerating the icon of the Holy Trinity, which the Elder had placed on the wall of his corridor, on the right hand side of the church’s door.

Then the Elder told the saint:
-Say: Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
St. Ephemia clearly repeated those words and immediately Father Paisios knelt and venerated the saint.

Afterwards, they sat and talked for quite a while; he could not specify for how long, as he had lost all sense of time while being with St. Ephemia. She gave the solution for all three matters he had been praying for and in the end he said to her:

- I would like you to tell me how you endured your martyrdom.
The saint replied:
-Father, if I knew back then how eternal life would be and the heavenly beauty the souls enjoy by being next to God, I honestly would have asked for my martyrdom to last for ever, as it was absolutely nothing compared to the gifts of grace of God!

When the Elder was still residing at the cell of the Holy Cross, one night, as he was saying the Jesus prayer, suddenly the roof of his cell was removed and in its place he clearly saw the Lord. His face was so bright that he could not look straight at Him and wondered how it was possible for some people to once split on it.

After this incident, the Elder gave instructions to the nuns of the Convent of St. John the Theologian, who were painting icons, to paint the Lord just the way he had seen Him that night. During the whole time they were painting the icon, he was by their side guiding them.

Father Paisios said that the face of the Lord and the Virgin Mary had the color of ripe wheat.

Father Paisios had already dug his grave next to his cell, Panagouda, and his mind was always set on the day he would depart from this transient world. Due to his deep sense of humility, he constantly felt unprepared for his last journey. However, a vision he saw filled him with joy.

While he was praying, he saw that he was in a place, which looked like an airport, where people departed for their journey to heaven. There were many people, some of whom were assigned to check if the travelers had passports and tickets with them, so they could travel; if either one was missing, they stayed behind. When it was the Elder’s turn, he realized he did not have the necessary documents. Suddenly, the Virgin Mary appeared dressed in gold like a queen. Her appearance was exactly the same as on the icon of the Virgin Mary of Jerusalem. She said to the inspectors:

- He is my own servant. Let him pass for I have all his documents ready.
She took them out of her pallium and after showing them to him, she put them back in their place. So, they let Father Paisios go through.

Father Paisios once told us:
- The Virgin Mary looks a lot like the one on the icon of the Virgin Mary of Jerusalem. She is exactly the same. I have seen her many times and I don’t know of any other icon resembling her so much.

Once, while Father Paisios was praying with his Komvoschinion (prayer rope), he experienced a divine visitation. Suddenly, he heard footsteps coming from the corridor of his cell. He went to the door and looked at the corridor facing the door of the chapel. He saw the Virgin Mary, walking like a queen. When she reached the door of the chapel, she went in. St. John the Theologian followed behind her. After they both entered the chapel, they disappeared leaving behind them a white-blue light, the Uncreated Light, which after a while faded away. Father Paisios’ soul was overflowing with gratitude and humbleness. He was crying because the Virgin Mary had visited him, even if he himself felt that he was the most sinful person in the world.

Father Paisios had a funny way of informing us of the weather report. Father David was the gate keeper at Koutloumousiou Monastery. When one of the monks or novices were returning to the monastery, after having visited Father Paisios, he used to tell them:

-Tell Father David to get off the almond tree, because it will snow.
(He said that because righteous David of Thessaloniki did his spiritual exercise by living on an almond tree and this way he was sanctified.)
Whenever he gave that message to Father David, it always snowed a few days later. So, we knew when to expect snow and were able to prepare ourselves for it.

In December 1992, Father Paisios sent a message to Father David “to get off the almond tree” and “climb on it” again after Christmas. The holidays went by and he sent another message telling him “not to climb on the almond tree” yet, but to wait until he notified him. On St. Anthony’s day (17 January), the weather was very bad and it snowed. A few days later, he told him that he could now “climb on the tree”.
Thus, we always knew when it would snow through Father David, for the Elder “informed” him accordingly.

Six fathers and I were sitting on the grass outside the Elder’s cell listening to him talking. All of a sudden a young man, who looked like an anarchist with long hair and a scarf around his neck, arrived. He asked somewhat impolitely:

-Where is this Paisios?
The Elder stood up, went close to him and told him:
-What do you want him for, young man?
-I want him, he replied.
The young man had a pack of cigarettes in the left pocket of his shirt. Father Paisios pointed at it and asked him:
- What do you have in here, the Gospel?
- No, cigarettes, he replied, and offered him one.
-Do you want one?
-No.
Since we were all looking at the Elder laughing, the young man understood that he was Father Paisios. After confirming it with us, he turned to him and asked:
- I want you to tell me what is my name.
The Elder, scratching his head pretending to be bewildered, said:
- What is your name…, let’s see. How do you call the traffic lights, the red and the green ones that regulate the traffic? (Greeks have named the green and the red light after men’s names, Grigoris and Stamatis respectively).
-You mean Grigoris and Stamatis, the others replied.
- Well, yes. This is how you are called.

His name was indeed Grigoris and when he heard it, he was astonished and immediately asked to see the Elder in private. He took the young man aside so the two of them could talk.
After six months, he went again to Mount Athos and I met him outside Koutloumousiou Monastery. He no longer looked like an anarchist. His change was so dramatic that I was not sure if it was the same person, so I asked him:

- Excuse me, you remind me of someone. Are you the young man who visited Father Paisios about six months ago?
-Was the person I remind you of rude to the Elder?
- Yes, in a way.
- It was me the idiot, Father. Pray for me so I can correct myself.


The Elder was sitting outside his cell talking to a group of pilgrims. Father E. was watching him talk, and was wondering with admiration:

-How is his soul related to divine grace and how pure it must be in order to allow the grace of God to function?
While he was having these thoughts, Father Paisios interrupted the discussion he was having with the others, and said to him:

- Are you wondering how it looks like inside? It is full of dirt and stench.
And he then continued his discussion. The pilgrims did not understand what the Elder meant by these words, but Father E. was astounded.


http://www.pigizois..../paisios/11.htm

#18 Alice

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 08:44 PM

Just as I was writing this now, the mailman brought a book (blessing!) from St. Herman of Alaska Monastery. It is the book "Our thoughts determine our lives" by Elder Thadeus of Serbia. And as I opened the package my husband was asking me: "Do not you already have his book? Right there?" And pointed to the books of these Elders I mentioned above. (Giggle) He could not tell this is a new Elder entering our home since his face too radiates with the love and smile from Heaven. This is a characteristic of these modern/contemporary Elders. This smile from Heaven.

These Elders are humble, unpretentious, need no glory, quiet and people who have reached theosis and are a beacon from Heaven on earth. As Fr. Irenei mentions above, allow these Elders to find you. I had no idea about Elder Thadeus (he has departed now) until some days ago. God revealed him since I needed to listen to him and read from him. There is a 6 part video on you tube where this Elder is being interviewed and I wanted to etch his words all over my place to be surrounded by them since they are very helpful to me. And then a friend told me about Elder's book and the Monastery of St. Herman has published it! :) Now I am like a kid in the middle of fairytale land that this Elder entered my home. :) See I have been Orthodox for long and still can get too excited like Eric warns us about. :) But some joy is ok. :)


Yes, I too loved the words of Elder Thaddeus. When I read these books, I feel as if these Elders are speaking to me, and their words nourish me spiritually--they also bring a spiritual calm and blessing to my soul like nothing else. Then I finish the books and little by little I start feeling spiritually thirsty for that blessed calm again!

We are very lucky to have these books translated into English on these Elders' conversations and words of wisdom --

#19 Alice

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 01:40 PM

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Protopresbyter Dionysios Tatsis
November 23, 2012
Orthodoxos Typos


Many people are eagerly seeking for some contemporary Elder to entrust to them the solution of their problems. They want to meet a new Elder Paisios, who will have general and boundless love, wisdom from above, a holy life and God-entrusted prayer, through which he will work miracles. They telephone known clerics to learn about them, and they sorrow because they did not have the chance to meet Elder Paisios while he was alive.


The answers they usually receive is that God will send once again such virtuous Elders to uphold us. Obviously this creates hope, but our brothers and sisters want to deal with their problems now and not in the future. One can see this in the tone of their voice, in their pain and in their tears.


Many times people rely on others to pray for them, forgetting that their own prayers, when it comes from a pure heart, are heard and requests are satisfied. Communication with God should not be done through a third party. Everyone must pray, struggle spiritually, observe the commandments of the Gospel, and communicate with those who can help them. Alas, if a hurt brother or sister becomes idle and slothful! They should become active and find the path of God.


I notice that many study the various books which are written about contemporary Elders, and they remain more on the miraculous events and less on their teachings. This is something that must be corrected. The aim of a miracle is so that the Elder can become known and to certify his sanctity. The number of miracles has no particular value. What is one, what is a hundred? They are the same. We must not forget that it is Christ who works the miracles through the virtuous man. If Christ judges that one miracle requested by an individual will not be of help spiritually, then He will not do it.


Our attention should be directed mainly to the lessons and teachings of the Elders. We have to study and contemplate them, be fascinated by their meaning and strive to implement them without reservations and misinterpretations, always confident that everything taught by the Elders they had previously applied to themselves. Their teachings are experiential, this is why it alters in a sacred way the well-intentioned students who receive the spiritual seeds in the field of their souls and advance in the life in Christ. Soon we will discover that the path of the Elders must become our own path and their experiences must become our own experiences.


It is not enough to be fans of the Elders and in our lives to follow a different path. We must also be their humble imitators. Let them be shining examples in our spiritual life.


Translated by John Sanidopoulos

www.johnsanidopoulos.com








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