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February 26, 2021

Saint Photini and the Spirit of the Triodion

By Fr. Panteleimon Krouskos

Today Saint Photini the Samaritan Woman celebrates, whose memory "ties" harmoniously with the spirit and atmosphere of the Triodion. Regarding her meeting with Christ at the well of Jacob and her biography, there is a plethora of spiritual texts. There is a huge amount of theology hidden in this encounter. It is as inexhaustible as "the water that gushes forth eternal life".

Some points:

1. Saint Photini is like the Publican. She went secretly and at an inappropriate time to draw water to avoid an encounter and seeing anyone because she was "embarrassed". She was aware that something was wrong with her life. There was humility.

2. She was like the Prodigal Son. Externally, she was restless for life and love and passion and thirst for experiences, which in "essence" she had enough of and did not know how to use it. She was not dry and "virtuous" out of necessity like the eldest son or the Pharisee. She had substance, possessions! And as soon as she saw Christ, she took out all this deep wealth. Her high spiritual interests, and unexpected questions for a simple woman and even a despised woman were revealed. Likewise was the Prodigal Son and in his fornications and in his despair there kept burning the candle of nostalgia, the fire for the different, the true, the spiritual - his Father's house. This was the yeast of repentance. Through living remembrance is the beginning and the return.

3. She is an image of Eve. Like her she is lost in the afternoon in the garden, and she was hiding from the face of God. But now, as one who has been ready for a long time for the salvation of humanity, Eve's daughter appears in the afternoon before the face of God and is restored, saved.

4. She expresses all the meaning and spirit of Great Lent. She is fasting. That is, she has true hunger and thirst. She is not full, she is not complete, she is not satisfied with herself and she does not confidently believe that she does not need something else. More specifically she has hunger and thirst for God. Fasting therefore means not to feel self-sufficient but to always remain hungry, thirsty for God and not to count on the non-existent goods of which we quickly "fill our storerooms".

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.