December 7, 2021

When Saint Nicholas Appeared to Elder Andrew of Saint Paul's on Mount Athos in 1975

Archimandrite Andrew, former abbot of the Monastery of Saint Paul on Mount Athos, was born in 1904 in Angona, Kefallonia and reposed in 1987, on the feast of the Monastery of Saint Paul, which is the Reception of the Lord on February 2nd. His funeral was attended miraculously by Saint Sophrony of Essex, who through the mediation of Elder Andrew had become the spiritual father of the monks of Saint Paul and the surrounding area.

Elder Andrew left a reputation as a holy man throughout Mount Athos, but also in the entire Orthodox world. The Panagia had appeared to him in Monoxylitis - a Metochion of the Monastery of Saint Paul within Mount Athos - and it is perhaps the most famous of the recent appearances of the Most Holy Theotokos. Saint George had also appeared to him.

There, in Monoxylitis, where the church is that honors Saint Nicholas, he saw Saint Nicholas in human form, in 1975. In other words, he saw an elderly unknown priest, who introduced himself to him and told him that he was called "Fr. Nicholas" and had come from Cyprus. And he asked Fr. Andrew to show him the way to Karyes. Fr. Andrew showed him the way to go. Then, the hitherto unknown old man slowly took the road to Karyes, the capital of Mount Athos.

Papa-Andrew, as soon as he went to his cell, immediately thought that he should have invited the "foreign" hiker to eat something, in order to gain strength for his subsequent journey. So, within less than a minutes time since he greeted him, he immediately went out again to invite him for dinner. But Fr. Nicholas was nowhere to be found. He had disappeared, in a completely unexplained manner!

It should be noted that at that time the road to Karyes was clear and you could look out towards the road for someone who had left the Metochion ten minutes prior and see them in the distance, but the old priest was nowhere to be seen in the horizon. The indifferent Papa-Andrew, although he could not give an explanation, simply said to himself: “Too bad for me that I did not managed to give hospitality to the unknown traveler."

He ate, slept, but when he woke up he was overly and inexplicably changed. He had a divine joy and peace, his mind was clear, and his thoughts, which until then had troubled him, changed unexpectedly after the meeting with the unknown Fr. Nicholas and told him in deep divine peace:

"You are not to seek other new abbacies right now."

This is in reference to the fact that just prior to the appearance of Fr. Nicholas, certain monks from Esphigmenou Monastery had come to visit him. This brotherhood consisted of zealots that had cut themselves off from the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the rest of Mount Athos due to various ecumenist activities at the time. These monks were trying to persuade Elder Andrew to abandon his monastery and join them at Esphigmenou.

The good Elder began to sway in his thoughts by their arguments and therefore considered it necessary to intensify his prayers and supplications to the Lord for such a decision. The dilemma was great: how could he leave the monastery of his repentance and his brothers and cut them off? On the other hand, the zealots projected the Orthodox faith as endangered and as betrayed, and therefore according to them, the other monasteries who remained in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate should be renounced in order to guard the faith.

Immediately after waking up, he went to the church, excited and happy, because his personal drama had been solved, and, seeing the icon of Saint Nicholas, he was surprised to find that the icon of the Saint was exactly the same in appearance as the unknown priest who had passed by and mysteriously/miraculously had immediately disappeared. Then, he himself wondered and said: "If only my mind had not been opened earlier!"

Then, the spiritual father of Elder Andrew, Papa-Dionysios, told him:

"Obviously, blessed one, it was Saint Nicholas. He came and took the heavy burden you had off you."