May 26, 2010

The Championship Wrestler Who Became An Athonite Ascetic

The video above is about Fr. Vasilios, a monk on Mount Athos who was once a championship wrestler. He wrestled for five years and won about a dozen medals before he abandoned all at the age of 24 in 1992 to become an ascetic on Mount Athos. When asked why he became an ascetic, he responds by saying: "First for the love of God, and after for the love of the Panagia." When asked if he found what he was looking for, he responds: "I found it and much more. I didn't realize I would find such things at such a high level. I had lower expectations."

He goes on to say that his father had passed away in 1987 and his mother accepted his decision. After a year and a half he was joined by his brother, Fr. Dorotheos. They reside in the Hesychastic Cell of the Birth of Christ in Katounakia.

When Fr. Vasilios' godmother gave him as a gift an engagement ring for him to one day give his bride, he decided to give it to the Panagia when he became a monastic. "It was better to give it to my Bridegroom Christ, and my mother the Panagia rather than a woman of the flesh", he said.

The commentary on the video is typical Greek secular sarcasm when confronted with these issues. For a video without the commentary, see below: