Thursday, June 14, 2018

Elder Amphilochios (Makris) of Patmos (+1970)

Elder Amphilochios (Makris) of Patmos (+April 16th, 1970) (source)
  
Elder Amphilochios of Patmos (Makris) was a priestmonk who lived on Patmos (Greece).
The future elder was born on December 13, 1889 to Emmanuel and Irene Makris and named Athanasios. He was born into a large family of simple, country folk. Even as an infant, Athanasios was devout, even observing the fasting rules regarding milk products while still an infant. When Athanasios was five, he convinced his newly-engaged godmother to spend the rest of her days in virginity. Athanasios, having preserved himself from worldly temptations, decided to enter a monastery at the age of seventeen. He asked his parents' blessing, which they were happy to give.

St. Nektarios, depicted with two of his spiritual children: Elders Amphilochios and Philotheos Zervakos (source)


In March, 1906, he entered the Monastery of St. John the Theologian, Patmos; in August, having earned the love of the aging brotherhood, he was made a rassophore and given the name Amphilochios. To fight the passions and temptations, Amphilochios would employ strict fasting - ten mouthfuls of food at each meal on standard days, with seven or eight olives on fast days.

In 1911, the abbot of the Monastery of St. John the Theologian sent Amphilochios to Mount Athos in order to learn wood-carving; in March 1913, he was tonsured to the Great Schema by Elder Antoniadis. Two months later, the abbot had the agreement of the brethren of the monastery to ordain Amphilochios; but, because of a self-perception of inadequacy, he asked his traveling companion (and ordinand) to continue while Amphilochios went to Egypt and the Holy Lands.
  
Elder Amphilochios of Patmos (source)
  
Amphilochios asked the Patriarch of Jerusalem to receive him as one of the caretakers of the Holy Sepulchre. While the Patriarch was willing to do this, the Monastery insisted that he return, where they "punished" him by sending him to the hermitage of Apollo, alongside Elder Makarios, which made Amphilochios very happy as he was better able to pray.
However, in 1919, Fr Amphilochios was ordained to the diaconate and, soon after, to the priesthood. He was assigned to the monastery's dependency on the island of Kos, also serving as confessor throughout the Dodecanese. In 1926, he was sent to the Cave of the Apocalypse, Patmos. He spent much time with students of the Ecclesiastical Academy, which produced numerous elders and abbots.

Elder Amphilochios traveling in prayer (source)

  
In 1935, the occupying powers of the Dodecanese were the Italians, who influenced the Church by forcing a system of governance that made it easy to manipulate the Church. However, the Patriarch of Constantinople demanded that this situation be rectified for the new abbot. In response, the brotherhood elected Elder Amphilochios as abbot. Soon after, the seeds of the future female Monastery of the Annunciation began to be planted: the first building housed a training workshop for knitting and weaving, a guise under which to teach children Greek. In response, in 1937, the Italians exiled Elder Amphilochios to mainland Greece, where the Elder received hospitality from the Zoe brotherhood in Athens, from whence he traveled throughout Greece; after which he traveled to Crete, where he became spiritual father of the island.
  
Elder Amphilochios in prayer (source)
  
His exile ended in 1939, and Elder Amphilochios returned to Patmos, being received with great joy. He did not, however, reassume his abbacy, but rather, focused on dependencies and the female Monastery of the Annunciation. The changeover of power in 1942, from the Italians to the Germans, did not greatly impact on the Elder's life. In 1947, Elder Amphilochios organised a small group of nuns to assist the orphans of Rhodes (at that time, extremely poor) by establishing an orphanage, along with a unit for pregnant women.

At Easter, 1968, Elder Amphilochios received a forewarning of his coming repose, and was given two years to prepare himself and his children for his repose. Anxious for his spiritual children, he asked God with tears for more time to develop his children, after which the Mother of God and St. John the Theologian appeared to him and informed him that his request was denied. Soon after this, he received a bout of flu. Having made his final preparations, he reposed on April 16, 1970.
  
Elder Amphilochios Makris, protector of the Monasteries of Patmos and beyond (source)

Spiritual Counsels of Elder Amphilochios
      -When you cultivate prayer, the Tempter's blusterings will not trouble you. Prayer diminishes his strength; he cannot do anything to us.
      -The end of my life draws near I ask you to live a holy life, to walk along holy paths, so that you may help both our Church and Greece.
      -Remaining faithful to Monasticism is considered to be a martyrdom.
      -Christ often comes and knocks at your door and you invite him to sit in the living-room of your soul. Then, absorbed in your own business you forget the Great Visitor. He waits for you to appear and when you are too long in returning, he gets up and leaves. At other times, you are so busy that you answer him from the window. You don't even have time to open the door.
      -You are royalty, destined for the heavenly bridal chamber.
      -When you see a person who is spiritually tired do not burden him any further, because his knees won't be able to bear it.
      -Love the One, so that even wild beasts will love you.
      -True wealth, for me, is to see you in the Kingdom of Heaven.
      -When the flame of love exists, it consumes whatever evil approaches.
      -The person who loves spiritually feels prayerful, so that he can be found within God and his brother.
  
Elder Amphilochios Makris (source)
  
      -He is saddened when his brother is not advancing well and prays for his progress.
      -Whoever has Christian love never changes.
      -Hold the banner of Christ up high, so that you've always got your elder's telephone number, no matter where you are.
      -Christ is the same, yesterday and today, but we have closed our eyes and look into the darkness.
      -It is because we carry on like this that some fall in the mud and others are killed.
      -All those things that we hear about: war, earthquakes, catastrophes, thunder, also expect rain.
      -We must be ready for our defence and our martyrdom.
      -I beseech the Lord to sanctify you, so that I may see you in Paradise. This is the dowry which I seek from the Lord for you.
      -For God's Grace to come during the Liturgy, you must be concentrated and untroubled.
      -The more a person loves God, the more he loves other people. He loves them with holiness, respect and refinement, as images of God.
      -When a person lacks inner warmth, he will be frozen and cold, even in summer.
      -When your heart does not have Christ, it will contain either money, property or people instead.
      -Please put this commandment into practice:  Cultivate love towards the Person of Christ to such an extent that, when you pronounce His name, tears fall from your eyes. Your heart must really be aflame. Then He will become your teacher. He will be your Guide, your Brother, your Father, and your Geron (Elder).
      -Love your Bridegroom Christ with all your heart and then everyone will love you and take care of you.
  
Elder Amphilochios of Patmos, with signs of thanksgiving from many of the faithful who have been helped through his prayers (source)
  
      -I desire the rebirth of Monasticism, because in my opinion, monasticism is the “evzone” [=Greek, elite military unit] battalion of the Church.
      -God's protection diminishes temptation.
      -Because of widespread corruption, people cannot understand that spiritual love exists.
      -Worldly people tire you, because whatever is stored up inside them comes at you like waves of electricity. We must be people of grace so much so that whoever comes to us may find rest.
      -Let us look upon everyone as our superiors, however weak they may appear. Let us not be harsh, but always bear in mind that the other person also has the same destination as us.
      -We must have Love, even if they do us the greatest harm, we must love them. We will be able to enter Paradise only with love.
      -Cultivate the Jesus Prayer and a time will come when your heart will leap with joy, just as it does when you are about to see a person who you love very much.
      -Do not neglect evening prayer. Pray with eagerness like those who are going to a feast. They are awake and feel joy alone. Thus, since you are going to speak with your Bridegroom, do not listen when the Tempter tells you various things in order to hinder you, because you know there is someone who cares for you.
      -Question: "Elder, how must we picture Christ?" Answer: "We must always bring to Christ to mind with love. We could be holding the photograph of someone in our hands, but since we do not know them, we do not love him, we are not moved. Whereas, when we pick up a photograph of our mother, our soul immediately leaps and cries out with love.”
-A person can be raised up above the earth by two wings, one is simplicity and the other is purity of heart. You must be simple in your actions and pure in your thoughts and feelings. With a pure heart you'll seek God and with simplicity you'll find Him and be glad.
      -A pure heart passes through Heavens gate with ease.
  
Elder Amphilochios of Patmos (source)
  
      -Self-denial must be cultivated with discernment; otherwise we may reach the point of suicide.
      -We are on the high seas of life, sometimes there are storms and at other times calm. God's grace does not leave us. Otherwise, we would have sunk, if he had not held us up.
      -The saints always look to the other life. It is the grace of the remembrance of death.
      -God guards us from temptation. He does not allow us to be tempted beyond our strength; He allows everything, for our own good.
      -When spirituality increases, even sleep will have been fought off.
      -Prayer is grace. God gives it when zeal and humility exist.
      -Fight the Hater of Good, who envies you, bravely suffer whatever befalls you with fortitude, patience and faith.
      -Do not allow your soul's enemy to wage war against you. He appears in sheep's clothing, supposedly wanting your soul's benefit.
      -Trust in the Lord always and he will nourish you in time of hunger.
      -With a good word for your neighbour, supporting him, you buy paradise.
      -Repentance must occur, not from fear of punishment but because we have sinned before God.
      -Sweeten your thoughts with words of consolation and hope. Warm your words with the warmth of your love towards your Bridegroom and remember His Passion, which he underwent for you, so that you would remain firm, devoted and humble.
      -Give your whole self completely over to the protecting veil of the Panagia.
      -Love giving hospitality, my child, for it opens the gates of Paradise. In this you also offer hospitality to angels. "Entertain strangers so that you won't be a stranger to God."
      -The saints submitted to whatever God sent them, with childlike simplicity, "That's the way You want it. Let Your will be done."
      -Hospitality... the greatest of virtues. It draws the grace of the Holy Spirit towards us. In every stranger's face, my child, I see Christ himself.
      -Sorrow is pleasing to God, in as much as it doesn't take away our courage to fight. 
      -It is necessary and beneficial for a general self-examination to take place from time to time, remembering all former sins.
      -Leave all your concerns to the hands of God. Ask for whatever you want, like a child asking from its father.
      -Prayer is a gift from God. Always ask with hope.
      -Our deeds, dear sister, will not save us; God's infinite mercy will.
      -Spiritual bonds become unbreakable when they come across a child-like spirit, innocence and sanctity.
      -Everything seems dark and difficult to a person without Christ.
      -Every day I pray that I may see you amongst the ranks of women saints.
      -I don't want to be in Paradise without you, my children.
  
Elder Amphilochios Makris (source)
  
      -Question: How do you manage to have such patience and perseverance in everything? Answer: The grace of God helps. I always believe in the power of God, my child, Who alters and adjusts everything for the benefit of our soul.
      -The person who gets agitated doesn't think straight, logically.
      -When I see a person who is irritated, I don't listen to what he is saying, but pray for God to pacify him. That's why I don't get distressed. When they calm down, when the time is right, I talk to them because they are then in a position to comprehend their foolishness.
      -The Grace of God and spiritual union with Him transform a person Fears and suspicions go away, he doesn't fear death, and views this life, however good it may be, as slavery.
      -God is visiting you when tears come during prayer.
      -When a person is simplified, he is deified. He becomes innocent, humble, gentle, free.
      -Never ever give importance to anything earthly and fleeting. Take care of your spiritual union with God instead.
      -When you hear your name being criticized act as if you didn't hear. This is Paradise, this is perfection.
      -Our religion slays the passions, not the body.
  
The grave of the Blessed Amphilochios of Patmos, it reads: "We are translated from death to life when we love the brethren" (I John 3:14), "Amphilochios the Hieromonk Makris, Brother of the Holy Monastery of St. John the Theologian, Founder of the Holy Montastery of the "Annunciation, Mother of the Beloved", who reposed on April 16th of the year of salvation 1970." "Love towards God and your neighbor is the foundation of the Law and the Prophets, fulfilling the cornerstone.", from the service to St. Savvas the Sanctified." (souce)
  
      -Where there is fear of God, wisdom is given.
      -I want you to be calm so that we can meet. When you're tired the wireless doesn't work.
      -The Christian is a true human being He is courteous and polite. He doesn't want to sadden anybody.
      -Innocence is greater than genius.
      -A person who suffers from egotism attracts no-one. And if he does attract someone he will soon go away. When one comes across a childlike spirit, innocence and holiness the bond becomes unbreakable.
      -The spiritual life has great pleasures. You fly, you leave the world, you don't consider anything. You become children and God dwells in your heart.
      -The Grace of the All-Holy Spirit makes a person send out rays. However, other people must have a good receiver in order to realise this.
      -We must have our gaze fixed on heaven. Then nothing will shake us.
      -Take communion regularly, pray warmly, be patient and you will see a strong hand holding you.
      -Christ is near us even if we don't see Him. Sometimes, from his great love, He gives us a slap too. You should be glad. Jesus holds an artists’ chisel in His hands. He wants to make a statue of you, for the Heavenly Palace.
      -The person who shouts has no strength.
(source)
  
Elder Amphilochios of Patmos (source)
  
Apolytikion in the First Tone. The citizen of the desert.
The pillar of piety and example for Priests, the friend of the Beloved, and new righteous one of Christ, O faithful, let us honor the divine Amphilochios with sacred hymns, crying out: O offspring of Patmos, intercede on behalf of us to Him Whom you stand before. Glory to Him Who granted you strength, glory to Him Who sanctified you, glory to Him Who grants to us through you, all greater things.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone. Though You descended into the grave.
You abandoned worldly things, O Father, in order to struggle and gain Christ, and you rose above the things of the earth, and headed as a victor towards the heavens, having trampled upon the devices and wiles of satan. Therefore, do not cease to entreat on behalf of us who honor you, O wise Amphilochios, to the Compassionate One.

Oikos.
The Prophet David prophesied in the book of the Psalms: "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His venerable one." Therefore, we find this fulfilled in you, O divine Father Amphilochios. For you pleased your Master with divine words and good deeds, giving glory to Him instead. Therefore, we who have gathered today, honor you harmoniously, as the founder of Churches, Monasteries and Hermitages, as a precious vessel of sacredness and a soul-nourishing benefactor of Christians by your teachings and instructions. But, as the boast of the famed island of Patmos, as the follower of the Venerable Christodoulos, and the close friend of the missionary Evangelist and Virgin Disciple and man equal-to-the-angel [John the Theologian], you ceaselessly entreat on behalf of us to the Compassionate One.

Synaxarion.
On the 16th of this month [April], the memory of the Venerable Amphilochios of Patmos

Verses
He shined with the radiant light of the priesthood,
Being righteous to God by word and deed.
On the sixteenth, Amphilochios departed upwards in the spirit.

Megalynarion
Rejoice, the sacred offspring of the island of Patmos, O Father and Priest Amphilochios, who spoke of God, you showed forth the desert places to be full of the fruit through your divine virtues and your struggles.
   
The icon and holy relics of the Blessed Amphilochios, treasured by the Monastery he founded of the Annunciation, "The Mother of the Beloved", on Patmos, awaiting his official canonization as a saint by the Ecumenical Patriarchate at some point in the future, and as hinted at recently by Patriarch Bartholomew. (source)
   
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

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