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May 7, 2012

The Truth About the Prophecies of Saint Nilus the Myrrhgusher

By John Sanidopoulos

The Story

Saint Nilus (+ 1651) was a bright beacon of sanctity who struggled valiantly in asceticism on the Holy Mountain of Athos, and who upon his repose gushed an abundant amount of myrrh that testified to his holiness and purity.

Between the years 1813 and 1819, a certain monk named Theophanes, also known as the "Prisoner", was troubled by a demon due to his many sins, and he also suffered from a hernia. In despair over his condition he planned to leave the Holy Mountain until one day St. Nilus appeared to him. St. Nilus showed him an abandoned hut and instructed him to settle there, promising to provide for his needs. Theophanes obeyed, although at first he did not know it was St Nilus - only later did the Saint reveal himself.

St. Nilus appeared to him several times, healed him, and taught him about spiritual warfare. Cleansed of his passions and sins through proper ascetic struggle, St. Nilus ordered him to take the Great Schema and bear the name Ekhmalotos (Prisoner) as a sign that now he was a captive of St. Nilus for healing him of demonic possession and vice.

St. Nilus told Monk Ekhmalotos he wanted a path made to his cave so that monks could go there to pray. He also wanted the Liturgy to be served in the cave church he himself had built.

When the Fathers heard this, they wished to build a new church in honor of St. Nilus. As they were digging the foundation, they found the Saint's grave. From his relics an ineffable fragrance came forth. This took place on May 7, 1815.

Then the monks informed the Fathers of the Great Lavra of their discovery. They came and transferred the relics to the Lavra, leaving only a portion of the Saint's jaw at the cave to be venerated by those who came there.

At the request of certain monks from Kavsokalyvia, Monk Ekhmalotos wrote down the appearances of the Saint, and later St. Nilus told him to write down his words in full. Because he was barely literate he dictated the story and prophecies to a Hieromonk Gerasimos from Constantinople, who recorded it word for word.

The Saint counseled that those who sought shelter on the Holy Mountain should never become despondent nor lose hope in the protection of the Mother of God. The monks should not abandon Athos until the day the Iveron icon of the Theotokos departs, but remain there in repentance, silence, humility, obedience, and especially chastity, hoping always in their salvation.

Many holy elders have seen in Monk Ekhmalotos a type of the monasticism of the end times.

The entire chronicle of St. Nilus' teachings and prophecies to the Monk Theophanes between the years 1813 to 1819 fill a six-hundred page book, available in Greek and Russian. On page 611 of this text, we read that it was a monk by the name of Iakovos from Iveron Monastery who copied this entire text and published it in 1906. It includes prophecies of the invasion of the Holy Mountain during the Greek Revolution, the 1821 Revolution itself, the end of monasticism on the Holy Mountain, and the struggles of the monks of the last times.

The Truth

For a few years now there have been an abundant amount of posts throughout the cyber world, as well as in published material in many languages, of the so-called "Prophecy of Saint Nilus", which claims to foretell the various signs of the end-times and the coming of Antichrist beginning in the 20th century (specifically beginning in 1992). This "prophecy" is just one excerpt from the chronicle mentioned above of St. Nilus' teachings and prophecies to Monk Theophanes. Proper discernment compels us to ask, however, just how trustworthy and reliable are these prophecies from an Orthodox perspective?

The simple answer is this: the so-called "prophecies of St. Nilus" are not very trustworthy at all. Monk Theophanes appears to have fallen into delusion, probably following the miracle of the finding of the holy relics of St. Nilus on May 7, 1815.

In 2002 a book was published in Greece under the title Η ΠΤΩΣΗ ΚΑΙ ΤΟ ΤΕΛΟΣ ΤΟΥ ΑΓΙΟΥ ΟΡΟΥΣ ΠΡΟΦΗΤΕΥΘΗΚΕ ΑΠΟ ΤΟΝ ΟΣΙΟ ΝΕΙΛΟ ΤΟΝ ΜΥΡΟΒΛΗΤΗ; (The Fall and End of Mount Athos Was Prophecied By Saint Nilus the Myrrhgusher?). This book was written by Monk Maximos Varvaris and published by the Holy Monastery Paraklitos in Oropos of Attica which is under the Holy Cells of Saint Nilus on Mount Athos. This publication with its provocative title and huge significance for Mount Athos caused a closer examination of these so-called "prophecies". One book, titled ΟΙ ΠΡΟΦΗΤΕΣ ΜΑΣ ΑΠΟΚΑΛΥΠΤΟΥΝ (The Prophets Reveal To Us), was published by Poimenikos Avlos on Mount Athos in 2010 and written by the Athonite monk Abraham from the Kalyva of the Transfiguration of the Savior in Provata. In this book he offers very important information about what are known as the prophecies of Saint Nilus, following an examination of the text which he had published in the first edition. We read (in both English and the original Greek for the benefit of all):

In the first edition of this essay we quoted from the above mentioned text as a prophecy of Saint Nilus the Myrrhgusher. But then there came into our hands a book titled Prophecies of Saint Nilus the Myrrhgusher. A reprint of these "prophecies" over time and in many variations has unfortunately been circulated by uncritical zealots to the libraries of certain Monasteries. A study of the text confirms this to be a blasphemy against Saint Nilus, which were handed down by a demonized monk who wrote them. Listen to what he writes, that after one hundred and seventy years following the repose of the Saint, St. Nilus appeared to him "in another form", as if he recognized his true form, since he reposed so many years prior, and since, he says, he was healed of his demonic possession, he dictated the so-called "prophecies". But since he was completely illiterate, he was told to tell them to another hieromonk to write them down. And all these texts, which required a thick book to fit them, he remembered and dictated them to this hieromonk.

In these texts one encounters meaningless teachings, which are derogatory and defamatory against the Athonite fathers, with generalizations and in the last reprint by a well-known monk, who is a zealotist and schismatic, identifies these pseudo-prophecies of the last days with the state of today's fathers of Mount Athos, who are struggling the good struggle of the faith praying for the entire world; and he himself has prophecied that the Antichirst has been born and will reveal himself in 2012!

Unfortunately, he has the same spirit that inspired the writing of the so-called "prophecies", supposedly of St. Nilus.

And to make clearer the deception, we say the following: No saint, in the history of the Church, appeared after his repose to dictate to someone who is still in this world some prophetic texts. Prophecies are only given by God to holy persons who live in the world to give to their contemporaries who are in the Church, revealing also future events to future generations to contribute to the educational awareness and preparedness of the faithful in view of future happenings.

So in our humble opinion there are no prophecies of Saint Nilus the Myrrgusher, but it is a false text of one who was deceived, and for this reason its distribution must cease, because it confuses the faithful and we must restore at the same time Saint Nilus the Myrrhgusher, who is loved and reverenced by all the Athonite fathers. We request of the fathers of the Monasteries who have in their libraries copies of these to remove them from their libraries and destroy them. The same opinion is shared by other Athonite fathers.

This text which we quoted as a prophecy of St. Nilus we did not receive from this book we mentioned above, but it was recorded in Stavrovouniou Monastery in Cyprus, and it could come from someone else and is attributed to St. Nilus.

If someone has a different opinion from what is written above and has some other arguments, if he wants to communicate with me, so there may be some order on this issue, let other fathers also take a stance, and if I have an error I will correct it. Otherwise, as it is well-known here on Mount Athos, when in olden times the Russians asked for these "prophecies of Saint Nilus" to translate them, the Holy Community of Mount Athos did not allow them to be given considering them invalid [this occurred in 1912].

Στην πρώτη έκδοση αυτού του πονήματος παραθέσα­με το παραπάνω κείμενο2 που αναφέρεται ως προφητεία τού Οσίου Νείλου τού Μυροβλύτου. Κατόπιν όμως ήλθε στα χέρια μας ένα βιβλίο με τίτλο ‘Προφητείες τού άγιου Νείλου του Μυροβλήτου’. Μία ανατύπωση που κατά και­ρούς διακινούν κάποιοι άκριτοι ζηλωτές, και που δυστυχώς υπάρχουν σε παραλλαγές, αυτές οι «προφη­τείες», και στις βιβλιοθήκες κάποιων Μονών. Από την μελέτη των κειμένων διαπιστώσαμε ότι πρόκειται για βλασφημία κατά τού Οσίου Νείλου, που του τις απέδω­σε, ένας δαιμονισμένος μοναχός που τις συνέγραψε. Ακούστε τι γράφει, ότι μετά από εκατό εβδομήντα χρό­νια από την κοίμηση τού Οσίου, τού παρουσιάστηκε σε όραμα ο όσιος Νείλος «υπό ετέραν μορφήν» ωσάν να γνώριζε την πραγματική του μορφή, αφού εκοιμήθη τόσα χρόνια πριν, και αφού τον εθεράπευσε λέει από τον δαι­μονισμό, του υπαγόρευσε τις λεγόμενες προφητείες, αλλά επειδή ήταν τελείως αγράμματος τού είπε να τις ειπή σε κάποιον ιερομόναχο για να τις καταγράψη. Και όλα αυτά τα κείμενα που χρειάστηκε ένα χονδρό βιβλίο για να τα χωρέση τα θυμόταν και τα υπαγόρευσε στον ιερομόναχο αυτό.

Στα κείμενα αυτά περισσότερο συναντά κανείς διδασκαλίες ανούσιες, απαξιωτικές και συκοφαντικές για τους αγιορείτες πατέρες, με γενικότητες και μάλιστα στην τελευταία επανέκδοση υπό γνωστού μοναχού, ο οποίος είναι ζηλωτής και εξαγωνίτης και ταυτίζει τα φοβερά που αναφέρονται στις ψευδοπροφητείες για τους έσχατους καιρούς με την κατάσταση των σημερινών πατέρων τού Αγίου Όρους3, οι οποίοι αγωνίζονται τον καλόν αγώνα της πίστεως προσευχόμενοι για όλο τον κόσμο· αφού ο ίδιος έχει προφητεύσει ότι ο Αντίχριστος έχει γεννηθεί και θα παρουσιασθή το 2012!!4

Δυστυχώς, από το ίδιο πνεύμα εμπνέεται με αυτόν που συνέγραψε τις λεγόμενες προφητείες, δήθεν τού Οσίου Νείλου.

Και για να γίνει πιο ξεκάθαρη η πλάνη λέμε τα εξής: Κανένας άγιος, στην ιστορία της Εκκλησίας, δεν παρου­σιάζεται μετά την κοίμησή του, να υπαγορεύη σε κάποι­ον που βρίσκεται ακόμα σ' αυτό τον κόσμο, κάποια προ­φητικά κείμενα. Οι προφητείες δίνονται μόνο από τον Θεό σε έναν άγιο άνθρωπο που ζει σ' αυτόν τον κόσμο να τις μεταδώση στους συγχρόνους του και να υπάρχουν στην Εκκλησία, αποκαλύπτοντας μελλοντικά γεγονότα και στις επόμενες γενεές ώστε να συντελέσουν για μία παιδαγωγική εγρήγορση και ετοιμότητα των πιστών εν όψη των μελλόντων να συμβούν.

Επομένως κατά την ταπεινή μας γνώμη δεν υπάρχουν προφητείες του Οσίου Νείλου τού Μυροβλήτου, αλλά πρόκειται για ψευδή κεί­μενα ενός πλανεμένου και γι' αυτό πρέπει να σταματήση η διακίνησή τους· διότι συγχύζουν τους πιστούς και ταυ­τόχρονα να αποκαταστήσουμε τον Όσιο Νείλο τον Μυροβλήτη, που αγαπούν και ευλαβούνται όλοι οι αγιο­ρείτες πατέρες. Παρακαλούμε δε και τους πατέρες των Κοινοβίων Μονών που έχουν στις βιβλιοθήκες τους τέτοια αντίτυπα να τα βγάλουν από τις βιβλιοθήκες τους και να τα καταστρέψουν, την ίδια γνώμη έχουν και άλλοι αγιορείτες πατέρες.

Αυτό το κείμενο που παραθέσαμε ως προφητεία τού Οσίου Νείλου5 δεν το ελάβαμε από το βιβλίο αυτό που αναφέρομε πιο πάνω, αλλά κάπου ήταν καταγραμμένο στην Μονή Σταυροβουνίου της Κύπρου, όμως μπορεί να προέρχεται από κάποιον άλλο, και την απέδωσαν στον Όσιο Νείλο.

Εάν κάποιος σχετικά με τα παραπάνω έχει διαφορε­τική γνώμη που την κατοχυρώνει με κάποια επιχειρήμα­τα, αν θέλει ας επικοινωνήση μαζί μου, για να μπη μια τάξη και σε αυτό το θέμα, ας πάρουν θέση και άλλοι πατέρες και αν έχω λάθος εγώ να το διορθώσω. Άλλωστε, όπως είναι γνωστό εδώ στο Άγιο Όρος, όταν παλαιότερα εζήτησαν οι Ρώσοι αυτές τις «προφητείες τού οσίου Νείλου», η Ιερά Κοινότης δεν επέτρεψε να δοθούν ως μη έγκυρες.

The decision of the Holy Community of Mount Athos in 1912 to not allow the translation of these "prophecies", and their opinion that these are illegitimate and deluded teachings, is the response to all those who overemphasize them to promote their ideologies.