November 29, 2010

The Monastery of Saint Gerasimos of the Jordan

The documentary below features life inside the Monastery of Saint Gerasimos of the Jordan which is in the desert near the Jordan River where Christ was baptized by John the Forerunner. It features the elder of the monastery, Chrysostomos, who has made this deserted area into an oasis. Near the Monastery one can also see, according to tradition, either the cave of St. Mary of Egypt or the more recent ascetic who imitated her life of repentance, St. Photini. The relics of St. Gerasimos have not been found, but Fr. Chrysostomos has uncovered many graves of monks outside the Monastery among which he believes will be found his relics.

The Chapel of the Flight Into Egypt inside the Monastery is the traditional location where the Theotokos, St. Joseph and the infant Jesus stopped on their way to Egypt. According to tradition, while the Holy Family stayed overnight in this cave, a thief warned other thieves to not bother them. This is because after the Theotokos bathed the infant Jesus, the wife of the thief washed her sick child with the same water, and immediately the child became well. It is said that the child who was healed grew up to be the thief crucified next to Jesus who was first to enter Paradise.

Outside the Monastery is also buried a nun by the name of Christodouli who lived in a room inside the Monastery and died at the age of 104. She loved animals very much, especialy cats, dogs and goats. Her holiness was revealed at her burial, when she was taken from the church inside the Monastery to where she is buried. The few people in attendance testify that at her burial her grave was surrounded by cats and dogs and on the walls were many birds. These were the animals she fed from her own meager food.

The Monastery has three places where pilgrims can stay to be refreshed for many days. Because of the Arab-Israeli conflict, in recent years few people visit. Fr. Chrysostomos does whatever he can to help the Orthodox and Muslims who live nearby in Jericho financially.

Related posts:

St. Gerasimos of Jordan Monastery (Documentary)

Recent Miracles of St. Gerasimos of Jordan