September 10, 2010

Papa Fotis On Alms and the Priesthood

One day the Elder was liturgizing in the Church of Saint Marina. As was usual, he stayed after the Divine Liturgy in the Holy Altar. The rest of the priests went to their offices to drink some coffee. There they began to discuss almsgiving, on whether or not it should be given without discrimination to everyone who asks or only after putting the matter into consideration. The discussion turned into an argument. One priest upheld the opinion of the Divine Chrysostom how alms should sweat from one's hand until it is given, and the other priest upheld the opposite view of Saint Basil. In the end, both priests decided to wait for Papa Fotis to give his argument. After a little time Papa Foti came and one of the priests tried to ask him about the matter. Papa Foti then stopped him immediately, before he said a word, saying: "Be quiet, I am going to drink coffee now." He drank his coffee, got up, and began talking about almsgiving and specifically about the matter the two priests disagreed over. His advice was to give alms without over-analyzing if there is or isn't a need from our fellow man.

He would say to me that in the olden days the memorable Metropolitan Iakovos II of Mytlini was liturgizing and a scorpian fell in the Holy Cup. Everyone became frightened. The Bishop removed the scorpian from the Holy Cup and was about to give it to his deacon in order to throw it in the melting pot. Astonished, Papa Foti said: "Bring him here". Taking the half-dead/half-living scorpian he ate it. "Since it was baptized in the Blood of Christ", he said. The Metropolitan told him: "I am amazed, Elder, at your faith".

The Elder would say: "The ethos and pure life of a priest is the salt of our life. If the priest, deacon or bishop do not have a pure life, then they are for the garbage".