May 9, 2011

Patriarch Bartholomew On Contemporary Holy Elders

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, in a speech at the opening ceremony of the Church of St. Nicholas in Havana, Cuba (25 January 2004), stressed that the Orthodox Church has always highlighted their Saints. Having said several names who were declared saints recently, he went on to say:

"There are even those who through the unanimity of the Church are recognized as saints, even though the work of official recognition of their holiness has not yet been issued, such as Elders Paisios, Porphyrios and Ephraim, the compatriot of St. Nicholas the elder Iakovos of Evia, Philotheos Zervakos and so on. Around such personalities as these thousands of souls found peace, sweetness, joy and life. The elements of nature obeyed them. The animals reverenced them. Everyone and everything felt the love and the grace of the Holy Spirit residing in them. To gaze at them was to gaze at Christ. Their hands were hands of philanthropy. Their hearts were full of sacrificial love. Their nous was peaceful. Their phronema was holy. Their daily life was 'love, joy, peace, longsuffering, uprightness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance'. Many have much benefited from these genuine people of God. They are our greatest benefactors. Their prayers dispelled the wills of Nations, brought the mercy and the help of God to the world, expelled unclean spirits, restored to health the sick, and solved insolvable problems of humanity."

Translated by John Sanidopoulos