December 6, 2022

Saint George Karslides and the Oil Lamp of Saint Nicholas

"My father," said a woman from Sipsa, "who loved very much and ministered to the Elder and reverently reposed, at first he did not believe, he was an unbeliever. It went from bad to worse. His first children didn't live, they died.

It was during this time that the holy Elder who was also my godfather first came here to the village. He was almost paralyzed and lived in a house of Mr. Spyridopoulos. The whole village went to him, to get his blessing.

My father also went, holding a lamp and some oil, to light it where he lived. But when he went back, he saw the extinguished extinguished and asked the Elder why he did not light it. Then he told him the dream he had seen:

'I was on a horse, I passed many difficult places and on a hill I saw you in front of a church. You had a table and you were eating and the lamp was there lit. Then I asked you, why is it here, while you brought it to me? Immediately a white-bearded old man came out of the church and said to me: "Don't touch it, they didn't bring it, I took it, you have it, I'm very poor." It was Saint Nicholas in Dendrakia, a neighboring village. That's why your lamp doesn't light here for me. So you will take it and bring it there.'

My poor parents, being refugees, didn't even know the road, how to go there. They took the animal, and after much hardship, they eventually arrived. My mother used to say that despite all the suffering, she didn't feel tired at all, she was light. They left it there in Saint Nicholas and since then the other five children born to us have all lived. The first child was named Nicholas.

Every year on Saint Nicholas Day they went there, attended liturgy and made bread for the artoklasia. The Elder asked to baptize the first of my siblings. At first grandfather raised his objections and did not let him baptize any of the boys. I was born last and was very lucky to be baptized by the Elder.

My father, after his return to God, was very strict. He did all his duties and above all he did not leave his prayers and that is what he asked of us. When he returned late at night from the field, he would always ask us if we had prayed. 'Whoever didn't, immediately to the icon and to prayer,' he shouted. When he asked me if I prayed too, I said yes, but that was not the truth.

When I got sick, my mother sent me to my godfather to read a prayer over me. He read me a prayer in front of the Beautiful Gate and then from the small pitcher, which had water from the Jordan River, he poured a little on my back. Then looking me in the face, he said: "You don't pray at night. Why? My child, prayer is a weapon against the devil, never let it go."

Source: From the book Ο Όσιος Γεώργιος της Δράμας by Monk Moses the Athonite. Translation by John Sanidopoulos.