August 10, 2021

The Humility of the Athonite Monk That Led to the Miracle With the Forest Fire

Panagia Galaktotrophousa at Gregoriou Monastery, Mount Athos

The old Papa-Philotheos of Gregoriou once wanted, with the blessing of his Elder, to burn the branches to clean the olive grove at the "Partheniou" site.

When he lit the fire, perhaps by the concession of God, a strong wind blew and a fire began beyond the branches and the olive trees. The fire then spread to the forest.

Though Papa-Philotheos made every effort, he was unable to stop it. The fire ignited quickly and mightily.

All the fathers of the Monastery ran but were unable to contain it because it had spread too much.

The forest and the olive trees were close to being destroyed.

Along with the fathers the old abbot, Papa-Symeon, also ran with his cane. Full of sacred indignation he lifted his pastoral staff and pointed it towards Papa-Philotheos. 

15th cent. Icon of St. Nicholas at Gregoriou Monastery, Mount Athos

"Your blessing, Elder. Forgive me, I did not want this to be done."

"You burned my forest and you want a blessing?" As he said this, he struck him once with the cane.

"Your blessing, Elder, forgive me. You think I wanted to burn the forest?"

And he humbly added.

"Elder, no human help exists. Let us leave the discussion alone for now and turn to Divine help. Nothing else can save us, except the Grace of God."

They immediately resorted to prayer, and O the miracle!

A cloud suddenly appeared above the fire and it rained a lot while putting out the fire, even though it was July.

The forest was saved by a miracle of Saint Nicholas and the Panagia due to the humility of Papa-Philotheos.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.