DATELINE DECEMBER 2, 2013 AT THE
MONASTERY OF THE HOLY TRANSFIGURATION OF THE
SAVIOR IN MILESI, GREECE
Thousands of pilgrims from all over Attica and other places in Greece gathered today in the Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Savior in Milesi to celebrate for the first time the canonization of Saint Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia. The Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the Katholikon of the Monastery which was built by Saint Porphyrios himself. The service was led by Metropolitan Meliton of Philadelphia from the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople, Turkey. The Metropolitan said: “Though twenty-two years have elapsed since the death of the Elder Porphyriso holy face of Saint Porphyrios continues to remain imprinted in the memories and hearts of all those who had the blessing to have known him and spoke to him.” The Metropolitan extended to those present the blessings of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. The Metropolitan characterized the Saint as a humble servant who offered his whole being to his fellow man. He became a type of Christ Himself. He continued saying: “People today, during these very difficult times, people have lost their faith in both their political and their spiritual leaders. People appear to be lost in the chaos around them and they are looking for someone to show them the way out of the turmoil. Saint Porphyrios has appeared on the scene and has shown them the path to salvation. This path is the path of love and of transfiguration in Jesus Christ.”
THE WONDROUS APPEARING AND HEALING OF
In a book “Traveling the Walls of the City” nun Porphyria mentions a wondrous appearance and a great miracle performed by Saint Porphyrios. This miracle proves to us that life continues after death and it teaches us that we should never lose hope, for God is all good and is all powerful. It was 2 p.m. and I was in Athens in a Square known as the Holy Un--mercenaries. I was stopped at a street light heading toward Athens. A man approached my cab and asked me if I would take him me to Menidi? My response was: “No, I cannot because I have to surrender my cab at the end of my shift in Piraeus.” The man then stood in front of my cab and was hailing another cab. But there was something that was telling me that said I should help this man. As I thought about this for a moment, I then motioned to the man to get into my cab. As soon as he entered my cab, he was mumbling: “It’s impossible!” And he took into his hands a photograph that I had of the Elder Porphyrios and began kissing it. While this was going on, the light changed and I turned in the direction of Menidi. I felt like taking back the photograph of the Elder from him but when I saw how much it meant to him, I hesitated to do this.
He then asked me, “Do you know him?” “No, but I know him from the books that I have read about him and I love him very much.” “My dear lady, do you want to hear how I got to know him?” I responded: “Of course.” “I was informed that my wife was gravely ill with cancer. The doctors gave her three months to live. During that time, our oldest son was finishing high school and he had planned a pilgrimage to Mount Athos for a week with ten of his fellow students. In spite of my wife’s sickness, we gave him permission to go on this pilgrimage. While he was gone, my wife took a turn for the worse. Her attendant doctor told us that the end of her life was very near. We then asked with great consternation: Doctor, what can we do to give her a little more life?” He replied: “We can operate on her and then leave things in the hands of God!” “We both agreed that the operation would take place after our son returned from his pilgrimage.”
“My son retuned from his trip very happy and filled with joy. We had never seen like that before. He told us how beautiful it was there and how warmly the monks received them and what a sense of peace that he felt there. He said that he sensed the presence of God so much that he had forgotten about his mother’s sickness. He then proceeded to tell us some wonderful things about a meeting with the Elder Porphyrios.” The cab driver interjected and said: “Excuse me, when did this occur?” “This occurred in 1996.” The son proceeded to tell them what happened to them with the Elder Porphyrios. He said that his group was sitting under a tree talking and laughing when suddenly a monk appeared before them. “We stood up and kissed his hand and the Elder proceeded to address us using our names. As you can imagine we were very surprised that the Elder knew our first names and our families. He then directed his attention and said to me, “tell your mother not to have surgery, she is healed.” I said to him: ‘do you know her?’ He responded, “I know her and I know all of you!” We then asked: “who are you?” He responded “I am Elder Porphyrios” and he left.
“During their return from Mount Athos, they stopped in Ouranoupolis at a drug store to buy some aspirins. When they entered the drug store, they saw a photograph of the Elder Porphyrios and said to the proprietor: “There is the Elder Porphyrios we saw on the Holy Mountain.” “As soon as the pharmacist heard this, he became startled. He said: “Did you say that you saw this Elder on Mount Athos? Are you sure?” “Of course we are sure, they replied, ‘we all kissed his hand and talked with him. Of course we were surprised that he knew our names and our families. When we asked him who he was, he replied that he was Elder Porphyrios.” The pharmacist then said: “My dear children, I am sure that you saw him but please don’t be alarmed when I tell you that the Elder has been dead for five years.” When the young men heard this, they were shocked.” They said: “that is impossible because we were talking to him.”
When we heard the story, my wife and I believed that they saw someone else who looked like Porphyrios because all monks look very much alike on Mount Athos. My son then said: “You don’t believe eh? In any case, he said that you should not have surgery because you are healed.” “Two days later we went to the hospital to prepare for the surgery. The surgery was scheduled for the next morning. During the scheduled time for the operation I was waiting anxiously outside in the waiting room. Suddenly I saw my wife walk out of the operating room. I ran to her and asked her what happened and she responded: “I am not having the operation for I am well!” The doctor followed her out of the operating room. I asked the doctor what happened. He responded, I do not know, she doesn’t want to have the operation.” She said, I told you, that I am well.” I said to her: Honey, are you crazy?” I took her in my arms and tried to convince her that she needed surgery. She replied: “I told you I feel better. Do the tests and you will see that I have nothing wrong with me.
“Great, said the doctor, let’s not force her if she is feeling well. “Since you do not believe me then do your tests to confirm what I am saying to you. They ran the tests and we received the results the next day and the doctor began to talk to us in a very somber way. We asked him what the tests showed. The tests showed that it was as if she had never been sick. The doctors looked at the old tests and compared them with the new ones. They were baffled. They said it was impossible and that they would order news tests the next day. When my son came home and saw the doctors ordering more tests, he said to them: “Why don’t you believe that which Elder Porphyrios said on Mount Athos? In response to this the doctor said: What did you say? Did you say Elder Porphyrios? He said that my mom is healed and that she should not have the surgery.
The doctor pulled out a photograph of the Elder Porphyrios from his pocket. You saw Elder Porphyrios, my son on Mount Athos? Yes, I saw him. Then the tests are correct. You wife is well and now you are free to go home. The doctors had given my wife three months to live. Two years have passed since then and she is much better than she was before her sickness. Because of this I love the Elder Porphyrios very much. We have visited the Monastery many times. Whenever we have difficulties in our lives the Elder strengthens us.
GLORY TO GOD IN HIS HOLY SAINTS
ΔΟΞΑ ΤΩ ΘΕΩ ΕΝ ΤΟΙΣ ΑΓΙΟΙΣ ΑΥΤΟΥ
Translated from the Greek by:
+Fr. Constantine (Charles) J. Simones, December 6, 2013, Waterford, CT, USA