October 20, 2015

A 103 Year Old Woman Who Was Baptized by St. Arsenios and is Related to St. Paisios

Thanos Chercheletzis
October 16, 2015

Her face is bright and cheerful, her eyes shine, she is flooded by the light of her Orthodox faith. Zoe Korsinidou, 103 years old, has had by the grace of God the blessing of two enlightened saints in her life, that the Orthodox Church has officially listed among its saints. She was baptized a Christian by St. Arsenios the Cappadocian and has family ties with St. Paisios the Athonite.

Metropolitan Barnabas of Neapolis and Stavroupolis visited the home of this elderly woman in Ambelokipi, Thessaloniki. He sat beside her and tightly held her hands. Her calloused hands, which when she was a baby, were anointed with chrism in the form of the Cross by St. Arsenios, and which carried St. Paisios when he was just a baby.

Zoe Korsinidou was born in Farasa of Cappadocia, the daughter of Varasi and Chrysi Eleftheriadou. Her father was the chanter in the sacred church where St. Arsenios served as the parish priest, and was a relative of St. Paisios, who also was baptized by the Cappadocian Saint.

When the place where she was born - and her ancestors had lived for centuries - was invaded by Turks who began to wreak terror, killing and destroying, little Zoe was forced to follow the path of exile. Together with her family, St. Paisios who was still an infant, and many other Greeks, she followed St. Arsenios, where they resettled in Greece.

Zoe arrived in Kerkyra along with St. Arsenios. When the Saint reposed in 1924, she went to Athens, then to Platy Imathia, and then Thessaloniki. Her "odyssey" did not end there. In the years that followed she traveled with her family to many places, to enable them to find work and live.

In 1941 she arrived in the village of Gazoro in Serres. There she worked at the local police station as a cook and maid. She remained in this position until 1967, when she moved to Thessaloniki, specifically to Ambelokipi, where she lives with her daughter.

During her meeting with Metropolitan Barnabas she continuously held in her hands a silver crucifix, which she wore on her chest from infancy.

Translated by John Sanidopoulos.