Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Eldress Galaktia, in the world known as Galatia Kanakakis (+ 2021)

 
By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

On 20 May 2021, a blessed nun reposed, Eldress Galaktia, who lived in the village of Pompia Moires, Heraklion, Crete. Her repose moved me deeply, because I knew her, through Father Antonios Fraggakis, Preacher of the Holy Metropolis of Gortyna, for over a decade and I had constant contact with her.

I consider it a special gift of God that I met her and, mainly, because she considered me as her child and of course I considered her as my mother. Until now I have never spoken publicly about her and the communication I had with her, except to a few people I know, but now I will do it after her repose.

The first time we met was in Heraklion, Crete, when she came to meet me in April of 2013, and the second time I visited her at her house, which was like a monastic cell, and we walked to the Holy Monastery of Koudouma and discussed theological and spiritual matters.

However, we often talked on the phone about various spiritual issues. Most of the time she would see me at various stages of my life with her own "spiritual television of the heart", as she jokingly said.

God gave her the great gift of insight and foresight that was the fruit of empirical situations. She was considered like Saint Porphyrios, which is why someone called her "Eldress Porphyrios". She explained very humbly that God had seen that she was shut in her house and gave her the blessing to see various events in order to be comforted.

She often said to Father Antonios that she saw me working in my office in the Sacred Metropolis, walking in the corridor, praying, sleeping, liturgizing in various churches, but she also saw how I liturgized and what vestments I was wearing. I was very surprised when I was informed of all this, because they corresponded to reality.

I loved and respected her very much, and she considered me her child and felt towards me as my spiritual mother, because we were connected in many ways. On the phone we talked about God and noetic prayer. Usually I would challenge her to study these matters, I would tell her about the prayer of the nous/heart, and she would avoid talking about these matters and especially she would say, "Yes, my child, that's how it is." She expressed her joy from the telephone conversation we had to Father Antonios when he went to her house.

Because she would narrate various spiritual states to Father Antonios, he urged her to write to me, so that I could give her the theological explanations. Thus, she wrote me nine letters between February 22, 2014 and September 11, 2015 and I always answered them. Her letters were heartfelt and revealing. She wrote some of her experiences in order to get my opinion, but in reality she did not need answers.

This is a theological correspondence, which extends to about thirty-five pages, for which I praise God for finding me worthy to have with her. Eldress Galaktia wrote with her own hands with a humble mind and a lot of love, and all her letters came from her pure heart.

At the appropriate time this theological correspondence will get the light of publication to glorify the God of glory and Light.

After her last letter (9/11/2015) she did not have the strength to continue the correspondence, then later she suffered various strokes, and at the end of this period of her illness her mind did not work well, but the noetic energy of her soul was awake, with which she saw everything clearly and revealed to the people who approached her the hidden things within them. In her life she saw clearly the distinction made by the Fathers between intellect and nous. Although her brain did not operate well due to the various strokes, her nous was pure as the eye of her soul, by which she saw everything clearly.

During her illness she also received the Great Angelic Schema, became a nun with the name Galaktia, and became a member of the sisterhood of the Sacred Monastery of Kaliviana.

As a spiritual memorial to her, for the time being, I will first publish some excerpts from a text I wrote after the meeting I had with her in Heraklion, Crete, and, secondly, excerpts from two of her letters, the first and the last.


1. Meeting With Eldress Galaktia

Although I had known her for a long time, the first meeting with her took place on April 14, 2013, at a difficult time in my life, when I was publicly slandered as an opponent of monasticism, and this took place in a church outside of the Heraklion, and she had come from the village of Pompia, which is in the southern parts of Crete. It was difficult for me to go to her house, as I wished, for various reasons independent of my will. Thus, she, despite the pains of her body, made an arduous journey to meet me, as we both desired.

I had seen her photos and we talked many times on the phone. Then I saw an old woman with kindness and noble manners, small and thin, 32 kilos, as she herself said. From the discussion and the general communication I had with her, I noticed that she resembled Saint Porphyrios.

I sensed that she had a spiritual television, seeing whatever she wanted to, but at the same time she emitted a sweetness from her mouth. Many times on the phone she told me that she sees me in my office reading, quickly going through the pages of books, then stopping and holding my head with my hands, which are resting on the arm of the chair, as well she also sees me at night in bed sleeping and murmuring, saying the prayer.

This discussion has been videotaped by Father Kallinikos Georgatos, who accompanied me, and here is an excerpt from the recording. The introductory words are absolutely her own words, transcribed.

During the discussion she tried to hide, not to reveal what is happening in her inner world, without succeeding, because at the same time she was revealing her gifts. I understood very clearly that she had a deep sense of self-awareness, she felt that she was the greatest sinner, who is not worthy of drinking water even from the sewers of New York City. "I am the most sinful in the world, because I have committed sins, but at one point I said to myself: 'Aren't you ashamed? Go and seek forgiveness from the icon of the Holy Trinity, to change a little.' Repentance is love and respect for the commandments of God, it is a radical change. I say to God, 'I want nothing more than repentance and forgiveness.'"

At night she prayed for everyone. First she prayed for the priests. Then for couples, her country and all the countries of the world. At the same time she told me that she sees me in Nafpaktos not with the eyes of the body, because she considers such a thing great, but with the eyes of the soul, without understanding that the latter is superior to the former.

She heard me on the radio speaking at the Church of Saint Spyridon in Piraeus on 12/12/2012, but at the same time she saw me with the eyes of her soul, as she also saw what vestments I was wearing: "I saw you there, at the Beautiful Gate." She further said: "The eyes of the soul have great vision, great power." Maybe God gave her this gift to see what she wanted, because she was shut in her house and could not move.

During this meeting she simply expressed the theology of the Church. She talked about the heart. She said that the Light of God comes from the heart and the whole body is covered by the Light. She said: "The heart is the center of man and of the Grace of God (she pointed to heaven). It has no edge, it has no end, it has ... nothing." "Yes, (the heart) has eyes. These eyes (pointing to her bodily eyes) are bitter. Not those of the heart." "The heart is the most important organ of man that draws near to God." "And reason, but first the heart. It thrusts everything." "At night the heart says words, but forgets them in the morning, only joy remains."

This Light has a white color towards the light blue to light purple. "Even the nails of the body are in the Light." "It is without limit, how can I put it, it is not as big as the sky, it is even bigger ... You cannot find a limit. It is light blue and a little towards purple, light purple, but very light purple. I do not see it, I do not see anything, with the mind, but with the heart I see it." The knowledge that God gives to man in such an experience is like a pin, however, when one narrates this experience, he does so in many words.

She saw the demons who smelled, they stunk. As soon as, however, she invoked the Archangel Michael, the icon of whom she had on her bed, they immediately left.

"When demons come a certain disturbance comes over you, and you want to throw up from the stink. They have nothing good about them. They are monsters. I speak to the Archangel, I caress his icon and I say to him: 'What are you standing there for?' And he takes his sword and drives them away." When we asked her what the Archangel Michael was like, she answered that he was "awesome", very tall, that he protected her very much and that she had been in contact with him for many years, since 1960.

She said to me: "I see you as my child and I consider myself as your mother." I told her that I felt the same with her.

She told me that the Archangel Michael has power and protects her. Once she heard a plane flying over her village and their engines were roaring. Then she looked at the icon of the Archangel and said to him: “Why do you sit here and protect me? Go there to the pilot who is in need." She immediately felt a force leave the icon, make a noise and immediately stop the noise of the plane. The next day they read in the newspapers that the plane's engine was corrected during the flight and it did not fall.

In the questions we asked about God, she said, among other things, that one sees Christ in the Light, but one does not see the Father, because there is so much Light. The Father and the Son do not sit on thrones as shown in an icon, because they are in the Light. And the Holy Spirit is Light and moves constantly and makes a roar: “Christ can be seen and has blood, because the world saw Him as a deceiver and a magician. He was no deceiver and no magician, but the Son of God. The Holy Spirit cannot be seen at all, but He goes around the whole world over our heads, with a roar, but no one hears it." "But we must also listen to the Holy Spirit, in order to become right. That's why He travels all over the world. The Great God cannot be seen." "And He is very good. Love. And He loves sinners and is saddened for them. And He leaves them, He leaves them, to fall down in repentance. And when they fall down in repentance, then He loves them more than others. He loves the penitents the most."

She described to me the size of the bodies of the saints, such as Saint Stephen, the Holy Great Martyr Euphemia, Saint Demetrios, Saint George, Saint Marina, etc. She also described the face of the Panagia.

We chanted "O Gladsome Light" and the exaposteilarion "Light is the Father, Light is the Word, Light also is the Holy Spirit."

Speaking of the work of Bishops, she said:

"You are the shepherds who lead the flock, you set the example to the flock, they listen to you and repent. I do not want gossip at all, nor condemn. Repentance is for me and prayer for others to be given by God repentance, not condemnation." "Shepherds are heads that have been handed over to God. They cannot leave God and look elsewhere."

But also for those who belong to other religions, she said: "Those who belong to other religions will not be saved by their faith, but by their deeds."

On the phone after twelve days, that is, on 4/25/2013, she told me: “Even if I had you from birth, you could not enter my heart more. May all the heavenly powers protect you. At first I was afraid where I would meet you, because you are a Bishop. But then I realized that you are simpler than me ... I kiss both of your hands kneeling."

It should be noted that I met two other Holy Elders that day, who are no longer with us now, namely the hermit Father Theodoros (Neilos) and Father Anastasios of Koudouma, and as soon as I returned to Nafpaktos I wrote a text titled "A Significant Encounter With Three Blessed People in Crete", which is still not published.


2. Excerpts From Her Letters

As I mentioned earlier, Eldress Galaktia sent me nine letters, which are handwritten, and of course I sent her corresponding replies. This is a theological correspondence with her, which extends to 35 large pages, which will one day be published, because it shows her entire inner state and that she lived intensely both the hesychast life and the revelatory experiences she had.

Below some excerpts from her letters will be published, namely the first and the last ones.

Her first handwritten letter was sent on the Saturday of Souls on 22 February 2014, and says the following:

"Saturday of Souls February 22, 2014

In the name of the FATHER and of the SON and of the Holy SPIRIT.

My Holy Master, my Respected and Much-Beloved, Father HIEROTHEOS.

I ask for your blessing, my child. On my knees I fall in veneration of your holiness, kissing your little hands. I'm sorry I call you "my child". You are a Metropolitan full of the Holy Spirit, while I am an old woman full of sins that God allowed me until old age to repent. However, I feel immense motherly love for you and I leave my heart free to express myself. Thank you very much for your visits, for your blessing and your teaching.

...

For me, my child, may you pray that God grant me humility and repentance. This is why God still has me here. Truly what God do we have? I should be given water to drink from the sewers of New York because the sewers in my village are clean. And yet He takes care of me and every day I see His protection and His love. It's as if He were a small child and I send Him out to get my things that I ordered. As soon as I ask Him for something, He immediately sends it to me. Sometimes He is late but I am not worried, because I know He will come. Pray that I acquire holy repentance and much gratitude to God.

Sometimes at night I sit and think, is it possible for God to sit on thrones and chairs? When, however, I am in pain because of my sins, I say: Heavenly Father forgive me, my Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me, my Holy Spirit illuminate me. And then the answer comes from another place, not from the head where there is madness and fantasies but from the heart which is led by God which is full of Divine messages. The whole universe is not even a small ball in His holy hands. The mind cannot contain and tongue cannot express this. There is neither beginning nor end. The blueish-white light of His glory is boundless. We can only say one thing: THE TRUE GOD is the TRINITY. And He fills people with the light of His love from the top of their head to their nails and you do not know where you see from. I feel like a worm afterwards and I cry for my sins. I love the whole world and I hate myself. Only the Bodily eyes of the Saints see. To sinners like me from the machine of the heart to sweeten us and to repent. I confess this to you so that you do not have another impression of me. How good it is for God that even His most insignificant creatures like me He flatters towards repentance.

I pray, Your Eminence, that this light is always present in you to guide the distant people and me to the Bright Kingdom of GOD.

I kiss both of your hands and ask for your blessing.

With infinite respect and love,

Eldress Galatia."

It would take many pages to analyze this wonderful letter, in which she shows her repentance and the revelation of God to her, through the machine of the heart, since at that point all the senses become one sense and the Grace of God is carried throughout the body and then man becomes a true member of the Body of the Risen Christ.

She would end other letters with the phrase: "With infinite respect and motherly love."

Her last letter, which is also handwritten, was sent to me on September 11, 2015, and among other things she writes:

“In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

9/11/2015

Father Hierorotheos, Holy Master of the Church.

I ask for your blessing.

I wanted to communicate with you, to open my heart to you. I feel that you understand me and you will not be offended. To all the others I am silent so as not to create false impressions about me. Despite my old age, God still has me alive. A thousand glories be to His name. He is waiting for my repentance. I do not want to say that I am the greatest sinner, because many say so and hide the greatest egoism. I feel it, my child. Within the grandeur of God, which the mind cannot contain and the tongue cannot speak, I feel worse than dung. I feel like I have done all the sins and I identify with the whole sinful world. I cry and ask for mercy, but the All-Good God feels sorry for me and sends me heartfelt consolations that no mind can contain. Our God is so good. I have terrible pains but He gives me strength and I can endure it.

Now lately I feel like calamities are coming. I do not speak of them, however. I speak only of repentance and return to God. It seems to me, my child, how the animals will judge us for our filth. There are also abortions and blasphemies. There is not much talk about repentance from the clergy, but I do not want to judge. After the upheaval comes peace. Great glory of Orthodoxy

...

Pray that I may have a good end and a good defense. My memory is ill but may my heart never be ill. Such as that which is deep like the well that has no bottom and knows God. I kiss you in a motherly manner like your mother and grandmother.

I kiss your little hands and ask for your blessing.

With respect and love,

Eldress Galatia."

In this letter also she shows her great self-condemnation, and where there is self-condemnation there cannot be tolerated any delusion and demonic energy. Eldress Galaktia makes a very clear distinction between cerebral memory and cardiac memory, which we see diffused throughout the philokalic tradition of the Church.

Eldress Galaktia had an orthodox heart and loved everyone, as she also received many messages from both God and man. As much as she longed to be hidden, God made her manifest.

A discourse of hers on noetic prayer is amazing, which she spoke to one of her visitors who asked her about it: “Grandmother, we sometimes hear our spiritual father talk about noetic prayer. What is this?"

Eldress Galaktia: "It is a flame, my child. A flame inside the heart. It never sleeps. It goes round and round (circularly) and murmurs the name of Christ ... It does not allow anything bad to fall inside, because it burns it ... The lantern shows you how sweet Paradise is and how sinful one is who feels it .. . It shows that God is everything and we are nothing! That's why you have joy and sorrow. Joy for the victory of Christ and sorrow for the unbearable pain for your sins. You have hope however, because you see who Christ is ... Whoever experiences this and boasts, is nothing ... They are like a small ball at the feet of evil ones (demons) ... I tell Father Antonios to not speak of these things to you. He is to speak only about sins, he is to speak only about repentance and to say quietly, quietly about His name, that of Christ (Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me). Here, my child, people live in a gutter ... not even above ground ... not even pigs approach them. How can they understand such suns?"

This is an empirical definition of noetic prayer, as she experienced it herself.

In Eldress Galaktia I did not pay much attention to what she said about various events that would happen, but I was very excited by her deepest repentance, her self-condemnation, her humility, the noetic prayer in her heart, and her distinction between nous and reason. I was also impressed by the distinction she made between the uncreated and the created, that is, she knew how to distinguish from what is uncreated and what is created, what is divine and what is demonic and this is the essence of Orthodox theology.

In one of her letters she wrote to me:

"Pray, my child. I have fallen a lot. I feel that I have little time left to live here. But the Triune God who calls us near Him is eternal. I forget things a little bit, but the head of the heart does not forget. Nor do I forget you, Holy Hierarch of Christ, do not therefore forget me, my child, both now and when I will go to heaven.

With much respect and motherly love, Eldress Galatia."

Her talk about the "head of the heart" is astonishing, which shows a person who knows how this "machine of the heart" works, through which the nous attains divine vision.

And in another letter she wrote:

"Give me also your blessing that I have a good ending, insatiable love for Christ, to loves all His creatures and to hate only myself the sinner. And to find a very small ball in His Kingdom, and to see the light of His face and to rejoice. To repent, my child. I kiss your little hands again and ask for your blessing.

With respect and motherly love, Eldress Galatia."

Eldress Galaktia, as I met her, had "insatiable love for Christ", combined with great self-condemnation, which shows a genuine Orthodox mindset, which is why God would give her what she wanted, "to see the light of His face and to rejoice."

When I was informed of her repose, I wrote to Father Antonios: “Eldress Galaktia opened her eyes to eternity and will never close them. Blessed is the entrance of the Saints into the Holy of Holies, now and ever and unto the ages of ages, amen." May we have her holy blessing. 

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.


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