By Monk Moses the Athonite
I consider myself especially fortunate that I met not too many years ago men of the rason who have reposed. These fathers were Epiphanios Theodoropoulos, Paisios the Athonite, Porphyrios the Kafsokalivite, Ephraim the Katounakioti, Nicholas Bekatoros, and Aimilianos the Simonopetritis who gave me the Great Schema of monks. They helped me much in my life, especially the last one.
They helped me understand why I am alive, the beauty of God, the mystery of human freedom and respect for every individual, to not lie to myself, to defend the truth with love. With their way of life and discernment they separated me from a lifestyle without deep meaning and sacred purpose. This is a way of life lived by many, such as those hypnotized in front of the television how they see and live life similarly to their lives. They have closed the eyes of their soul to see and enjoy the true light.
Sometimes there are created myths and exaggerations by some for certain elders. This is a serious mistake against these precious people. They believe that by enlarging their elders they raise also their own spiritual value rates. Nor is it permissible for these elders to sometimes mislead in personal, emotional and unhealthy relationships and situations. Elders are to link their people always with Christ and not their person. In the spiritual life there is needed excess, bravery and sacrifice.
An elder and thus a spiritual-confessor should not bind tightly to people, but to inspire them by the example of their life, with discerning admonition, with modesty, humility and prayer, as those mentioned above. They are recognized for their discernment, their charismatic lives, their prayer and love. They loved Christ very much and suffered with their fellow man. All elders are not saints. It is not wise to rush with persistence to want to put the halo of sanctity on them. To thus glorify ourselves.
Father Epiphanios Theodoropoulos from Messinia excelled in his studies of theology. He was an important spiritual father of many believers who deeply appreciated him. His teachings were accurate, reliable, serious, responsible, clear and faithful.
The well-known elder Paisios the Athonite was born in Farsala of Asia Minor, raised in Konitsa of Epirus, and lived for many years as a monk on Mount Athos. His long asceticism gave him experiences and gifts with which he helped many people a lot.
The same with the blessed Elder Porphyrios, who came from Evia as a youngster to the Skete of Kafsokalivia, from where he received his nickname, and due to the severity of his health he went to Athens, where he lived for forty years as a hermit, distributing divine gifts to many who were afflicted and in pain.
Elder Ephraim struggled for decades in unwelcoming Katounakia, obeying his elderly elders, working hard and praying incessantly. His word was his life - persuasive, devout and heart-filled.
Father Nicholas Bekatoros was born of Greek parents in Russia and suffered much as a young priest from the godless rulers and their institutions. He went to Athens and then in America, where he became a loving spiritual father of the Greeks, Russians, Americans and others, and charmed with his genuine sincerity, meekness and humility.
Elder Aimilianos Simonopetritis, who lives with severe illness in Ormylia Monastery, which he founded by himself and now has 120 nuns, was distinguished for his wisdom, his experience, his knowledge of sacred institutions and the depth of the human soul, and his thematic analysis of high and important matters. This is a rare form of a truly great man of God.
Debunked, unmasked and genuine elders have to give a heavy account for the major difficulties of the times and the people.
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos