The repose of Eugenia Kleidara, the revered abbess of Sts. Raphael, Nicholas and Irene Monastery in Lesvos, on Thursday morning at 4:00AM, 4 July 2013, is a great loss to the Orthodox world.
The "Holy Mother", as she was known to the people of Lesvos, was especially known in Greece and throughout the world for her numerous writings and great charity work, as well as for making her Monastery in Thermi, Lesvos what it is today, having been abbess since 1963 soon after its reestablishment.
She was originally from Chios, and lived a difficult and sacrificial life full of love for her neighbor and for God. Her social, national, charitable, intellectual and spiritual work are extensive and hardly comparable. She lived by the maxim "freely you have received, freely give", inspiring her to aid organizations, institutions, associations, charities, students, intellectuals, schools, municipalities, the army, and of course individuals. In 2009 she gave 30,000 euros to a Girls Orphanage to keep it running, and last year she even gave 300,000 euro towards the release of Elder Ephraim of Vatopaidi from prison. Even locally at Thermi High School she donated the laboratory and computer equipment, and they even named a room in her honor: "Abbess Eugenia Kleidoura Computer Room". To the same high school she gave 25,000 euros to relieve the school of its financial problems. She also gave money towards the erection of the Holy Church of Saint Theodore the General in Mytilene, assisted students to complete their education, and many many other philanthropic works too numerous to list.
Her philanthropy did not only extend locally or to the people of Greece, but throughout the world. In the jungles of Cameroon, for example, she built a school, hospital and a church dedicated to St. Raphael. She has helped those suffering with AIDS, the hungry and the orphans. With her help four thousand children a day were fed, who lived in squalid conditions in the jungle. Her love was boundless.
Patients in every hospital in Greece daily tried to reach her by phone and communicate with her. She knew how to embrace those suffering in agony, and through her boundless love was able to lift the ordeal they suffered. Her prayers were like incense to heaven and her humility was inspired by the countless miracles she witnessed and wrote about at her Monastery through Sts. Raphael, Nicholas and Irene. Her writings about the Saints and other writings were incredibly prolific, numbering 160 books, 72 of which were dedicated to the miracles of her beloved Saints alone. Many of them have been translated, including into English. Her soul touched and helped millions of other souls around the world.
Her funeral is tomorrow following the Divine Liturgy.
May the Lord grant her rest among the saints. Good Paradise! Good Resurrection! Eternal Memory!