Tuesday, December 3, 2019

St. Porphyrios: A Gift from God to Humanity

St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia (source)
St. Porphyrios: A Gift from God to Humanity
"St. Porphyrios is a gift from God to humanity, to an age very tired and burdened.
We still have not come to understand what Porphyrios means. He was greatly ahead of his time, ahead of the perceptions and attitudes of many within the Church.
In St. Porphyrios, you do not find "do" and "don't"***, forcing and angst, extremes and exaggerations. You will not find cheap and shallow explanations.
There is not shame nor threats, nor fear and misery. His teaching is full of Christ, light, joy and freedom.
"An Athonite Abbot told me: "My Father, you find one like Porphyrios every 1000 years or so...a great gift from God..."
Another monk, exhausted and crushed by strict and rigid canons, told me: 'With St. Porphyrios, I found rest. I found Christ, freedom, I found myself...Believe me, Father, for two years I do not allow anything within my nous other than the Gospel, the Gerontikon, and the words of St. Porphyrios. And I am happy..."
However, the great Porphyrios was a simple little Elder. A little priest who wouldn't even catch your attention. You would likely pass by him with indifference. You would not see him "selling" holiness.
"Because holiness is simplicity, humility, immediacy, it does not ring bells and does not shine windows, it is not sold in the markets, like another honored Athonite Father says.
Elder Porphyrios did not call anyone to him; he did not burden or force anyone. He let you come to him, to want him and to desire him. He did not have any manic "catechism", no angst to show off something; he was free. He did not preach himself, but his life spoke!!!

"He gave to you when you were ready. He opened your eyes to look on Heaven when you were ready to see, with discernment, simply, beautifully. Together with him was your being, your uniqueness, and thus he helped you to breathe deeply, to become beautiful and magnificent, to become that which you always were but had forgotten."
-Quote of Fr. Livios on St. Porphyrios
***Note: St. Porphyrios did routinely emphasize the need for asceticism (see examples here and here), and did not justify sin. The author however is highlighting how the Saint focused on inspiring the love of Christ within people, and that this would transform the rest, helping to transform their lives.
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

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