Saturday, February 20, 2021

A Car Ride With Elder Agathon of Konstamonitou (+ 2020)

 

A certain pilgrim wrote:
 
This past summer God fulfilled my desire to meet Elder Agathon and receive his blessing!

Elder Agathon had resigned due to health reasons as Abbot of the Sacred Monastery of Konstamonitou on the Holy Mountain in 2018 and over the past year he resided in the Metochion of the Monastery which honors the Holy Protomartyr Stephen located in Perea, Thessaloniki.

The late Elder was a spiritual child of Elder Ephraim of Philotheou and Arizona, the founder of Athonite Monasticism in the United States of America, who in 1979 sent him along with other fathers of Philotheou to staff the Sacred Monastery of Konstamonitou.

The Elder had the blessed habit on the days when he felt well in his health, to go for a ride in the car with his beloved spiritual children and on the way to bless the people and the places where they passed.

On such a day, a dear brother who knew my desire to meet the Elder received a blessing to invite me to accompany him on the car ride. My joy was great! We arrived at the Metochion at Vespers, we venerated the Holy Protomartyr Stephen and we talked with the blessed Eldress Agathi! Everything in the Metochion is peaceful, beautiful and homely. After the cordial nuns offered us coffee, we waited patiently for the Elder to be taken down from his small cell.

At one point the Elder appeared and I hurried to receive his blessing. Then, after the Elder literally took me in his arms, he began to give me blessed attention for several minutes, in front of the surprised eyes of the nuns and the few pious pilgrims. Truly from the welcome of the Elder I felt the happiest man on earth.

We got in the car and started the journey. The Elder, who had a strict rule throughout his life, had a rule even in this car ride, which was in fact a mystagogy! From the Metochion the first stop was at Panagia Michaniotissa, or Manoula ("Mommy") as the Elder called it. Then passing through other places and villages the end of the route was the Holy Forerunner in Halkidiki, and from there back to the Metochion. He took this journey tirelessly despite his health problems, and the Elder could do it not only once, but two or three times in a row, where he blessed the people and the places forever.

The brother began talking to the Elder, asking him questions and concerns to get answers. After finishing this peculiar confession, he turned to me who was sitting in the back seat, persistently asking me if I had anything to ask the Elder! Then the Elder said: "What is there to say, after he has said it all!!!" The brother may not have understood, but I personally sensed the clairvoyant gift of Elder Agathon, who saw that exactly two days before, on the feast of Saint Paraskevi, I had confessed to my spiritual father Constantine!

The grace of this blessed man of God was pervasive throughout the journey. It is an intoxicating feeling to feel the blessings of God and to feel the desire to give constant glorification. After about two hours we returned to the Sacred Metochion, where another spiritual child of the Elder was already waiting to receive him to embark on a new journey full of blessings!

We had to say goodbye to him. I hurried to his arms to receive his blessing and asked him what had been bothering me for years. "Elder, will my father confess and commune before he leaves this vain world?" The Elder assured me that everything will be done properly and that filled me with gladness and rejoicing!

Elder Agathon asked in November to enter Mount Athos to go to his Monastery. After visiting the monks of Konstamonitou, but also other monks, as well as Elder Gabriel Koutloumousianou, he said goodbye to them with love.

On December 7, 2020, he reposed on the same day, exactly one year after the repose of his spiritual father Elder Ephraim of Arizona (Former Abbot of the Sacred Monastery of Philotheou) who reposed on December 7, 2019. Holy Elder Ephraim took his beloved spiritual child Elder Agathon with him since, as the Fathers say, the people of God are welcomed in Paradise by the Saints who celebrate that day!

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.
 
 
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