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January 14, 2016

Elder Symeon of Xenophontos († 1893–1984): His Visions of Christ and the Theotokos

Elder Symeon of Xenophontos († 1893–1984)

I remember when I was 55 to 60 years old, and I wondered about a great matter. I wanted to know how is Christ. I prayed constantly, but I never saw Him with my eyes how He is.

Is He perhaps a man like me? This is what I would often ask Christ in my thoughts: "How are you Christ? Do you have a mouth, hands, eyes, feet? Do you walk like us? Where are you now and from where do you come from when I call on you in my prayers? How are you here and at the same time in the Heavens?"

So one night, before the bell struck for the Midnight Service, Matins and Divine Liturgy, I heard two or three knocks on the door of my Cell. I got up, opened it, and what did I see?

It was a Bishop, young in age, black-bearded, dressed in the vestments of a Bishop inlaid with gold. His face was bathed in an otherworldly and supernatural light. When I saw Him (at that time I had not yet lost my vision), I was dazzled by His brilliance. I took two or three steps back out of fear, and whispered the "Lord have mercy". Desperately I did my cross and I asked Him hesitantly:

"Who are you, my man? Why have you come at this hour to my Cell? You do not appear to be an ordinary person. You must be a Holy Bishop. What is your name?"

"I am He whom you long to see. I will visit you for a second and last time before the end of your life to take you near Me."

After these words He disappeared from me. I understood that He was the Master Christ, whose human form I wanted to meet as of late. After His departure, my heart was filled with an indescribable joy and sweetness. I glorified Him and thanked Him for His great visit to me, the miserable one and prodigal.

† † †

Another time, the door of my Cell opened. I had not heard from outside the "Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers..." so I could respond with "Amen", in order for the visitor to enter. I wondered therefore who the visitor was that entered, without knocking on the door. I opened my eyes, and I saw the Lady Theotokos enter, whose face shone like the sun. She stood above my bed. It surprised me that she stood on air. Without standing on anything, she looked into my eyes. I trembled out of fear and said nothing to her. She crossed the place where I was in pain, blessed me, and disappeared into the ceiling. Yes, I tell you the truth my child, I saw my ceiling open and she left.

Source: From the book ΣΥΓΧΡΟΝΟΙ ΓΕΡΟΝΤΑΔΕΣ ΤΟΥ ΑΘΩΝΟΣ (Contemporary Elders of Athos), Μοναχοῦ Δαμασκηνοῦ Γρηγοριάτου (ΙΕΡΑ ΜΟΝΗ ΟΣΙΟΥ ΓΡΗΓΟΡΙΟΥ, ΑΓΙΟΝ ΟΡΟΣ ΑΘΩ, 2005) Translated by John Sanidopoulos.