December 1, 2016

Michael, the 12-year-old Boy from Mount Athos

By George Crasnean

"Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, 
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" (Matt. 19:14).

Michael (Perlea) is 12 years old. He was born in Crete and lived in Rome until this year. His mother Corina comes from Pascani in Romania, while his father Demetrios is from Braila in Romania. In Rome he has a sister Raphaela and two other brothers, Ephraim-Nicholas and Gabriel. All are younger than him.

Michael would help out Bishop Silouan of Italy in the sanctuary since he was 5 years old. As soon as he first saw Athonite monks (from the Skete of the Honorable Forerunner) - Daniel and Gerasimos - a desire for God ignited within him and he decided to "move" to Mount Athos.

The most difficult part was to separate from his brothers and sister. As he says in his own words:

"Do you miss your mother?" I asked him.

"Over here the Panagia comforts me and my nostalgia for her goes away," he answered, as we walked around the Skete of the Forerunner.

"How are you doing with school?"

"Currently I'm learning Greek. Seven hours a day. Then I will follow the lessons for Middle School."

"Isn't it excessive?"

"I must learn Greek anyway."

"Who made your clothes?"

"Fr. Athanasios."

By this he meant Fr. Athanasios Prodromitis, meaning that the fathers of the Skete of the Forerunner are his parents here and take care of him.

"Whose idea was it for you to come to school at Mount Athos? Your parents?"

"No, it was mine."

"You decided it on your own?"

"Yes, Fr. Gerasimos told me about Athoniada and I decided to come to Mount Athos."

"Do not be angry with me for asking so many things, but I simply want to write about you. Not necessarily about you, but about your choice. You see that we all love you. I will immediately tell you why. Everyone discovers God at some point and returns to Him. The quicker this happens, the less sins we have. Therefore when we see how you chose at twelve years of age, our hearts are filled with joy that someone understood so soon how things are in life. Look, I will write and later you will read it to remember it."

"Good. Will you go to Daphni tomorrow? Can you take me to Karyes?"

"Yes. Are you going to Sarai (Skete of Saint Andrew) to school?"


But the next day he did not come with us. We had to leave at seven in the morning and the Divine Liturgy had not ended yet.

One child is a blessing from God, but a faithful child is a miracle... so I thought as I looked back over my lost years.

Source: From Lumea Credintei. Translated from the Greek by John Sanidopoulos.