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March 21, 2013

Elder Timothy of Kapsala (+ 1989)


Elder Timothy the Kapsaliotis came as a refuge from Prousa. He lived 67 years on Mount Athos without ever going out into the world, but rather circulated around the entire Holy Mountain.

He lived like a bird with perfect detachment. "In this world," he would say, "I have no one, neither friend nor relative nor acquaintance." He was alone until he passed from this corrupt and vain world. He was meek, peaceful, joyful, and always cheerful. Although he lived his entire life in solitude, he was balanced. He was completely illiterate, frugal and sober.

He avoided condemnation and did not occupy himself in the affairs of others. More importantly, he had a lot of self-reproach, great humility and great simplicity. His judgments were purposeful. To many he revealed their thoughts. To a novice, he said: "Winter will pass and you will leave." To another, without being told anything, he said what was bothering him and advised him accordingly.

He presented himself as a glutton.

He would say of himself: "I am not good for anything - for food alone I am the first. I'm an oaf, completely dumb and illiterate."

He ate grass without oil, and when he was asked what he ate, he would say a steak. He went to a Cell and said: "I don't see gardens. Make one so that you have everything to eat. Food is life, fasting is death," he would say smiling while hiding his own asceticism.

When he lived in a cave near Saint Paul, the devil appeared to him one night and told him furiously: "If Christ wasn't crucified and if you didn't wear that cross, you should see what I would have done to you."

Elder Timothy would say: "Make your neck thin through fasting, until it passes for a packing needle. If you don't have love, all is lost."

He reposed on 13 November 1989. His end was good and peaceful. That morning he had communed. He would continuously say: "My Panagia, My Panagia", and would respond to himself saying: "The hour has not yet come." After laying down for a bit, his attendant asked him for his blessing. He got up and gave him his hand, something that he was not in the habit of doing.

After falling asleep for about ten minutes he took a deep breath and passed on. He reposed at around 90 years of age. In the end he was just flesh and bones.

From The Ascetic and Hesychastic Athonite Tradition [Greek], by an Anonymous yet well-known elder of Mount Athos, 2011. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.