August 19, 2016

Saint Porphyrios of Kavsokalyva on the Panagia

Our Church highly honors ours Panagia. I very much love our Panagia. When I was young on the Holy Mountain I very much adored her. I had a small icon of the Panagia under my pillow. Morning and night I embraced her. I lived with her night and day. Whatever happened to me, I resorted to her. What can I tell you? She is better than a mother. There was nothing else I wanted more. She had everything.

Our Church highly honors ours Panagia. She honors her and sings her praises more than any of our saints. One hymn says: "Rejoice, god after God, having you as second to the Trinity." Who is second to the Holy Trinity? Who is this that is a god? It is our Panagia, the Most Holy Theotokos. The Holy Trinity is first, and our Panagia is second. She has this place who is "more honorable than the Cherubim and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim," our Mother, the Most Holy Theotokos.

The sacred icon of the Vrefokratousa, the "Axion Estin," is the patron of the Holy Mountain, "the ephestios of the ephestion." What does "ephestios" mean? It means "epi tin estian" ("at the hearth"). The ancient Greeks believed in ephestious gods. In the center of the house was a hearth, beneath which there were statues of the gods, where no one could harm them. Above all the ephestious is our Panagia.

Once we gave importance to the ancient temples. We can do this now as well, but, of course, in order to see how the ancients worshiped God. This is what the Apostle Paul did, when he spoke at Areopagos. He didn't begin speaking from the first moment about God, about the Panagia etc, but from their own arsenal he took arrows and cast them at the Athenians, beginning with the unknown God.

"Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagos and said: 'People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship — and this is what I am going to proclaim to you" (Acts. 17:22-23).

We must learn these things by heart. "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth" (Jn. 4:24). He is our being, our breath.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.