Testimonies and Experiences
Elder Porphyrios – Prophet of our time
Theologian, Writer, Ph.D.
* A lay person when the conversation was recorded.
Now Bishop Makarios of Riroutas (Patriarchate of Alexandria) in Kenya.
K.I.: Mr. Andreas Tillyrides, a Cypriot, is the director of the Seminary School "Archbishop Makarios III" in Nairobi, Kenya. During the past fifteen years he had the truly great blessing of seeing Elder Porphyrios many times. He will tell us about some of those priceless experiences in our short conversation that we'll now have.
Mr. Tillyrides, let us start with your first acquaintance
with the great Elder, so that we can then see how your relationship developed.
A.T.: I was near the end of my studies in Athens. Of course, I had heard a lot about Elder Porphyrios. The Elder then lived at Kallissia. I was led there by my dear friend, Mr. Constantine Scouteris, a professor at Athens University. The first, strong, impression that I got from that first meeting was the great love that he showed towards each person who approached him. He had an attitude of fatherly care and concern for all his visitors. From that time on I would visit him at least two times a year without fail.
K.I.: Elder Porphyrios was an entire cosmos, a godly figure with much holiness and many gifts from the Holy Spirit.
AT.: He really was a source of spiritual repose. He
was a wise teacher. Whoever met Elder Porphyrios felt that he was a man of inner
prayer. He was himself captivated by divine love and wanted to pass it on to
whoever visited him. He was the kind of man who loved God with his entire soul.
He himself had established that only this love leads to salvation.
Conversation with the Elder had a distinct meaning for each person who talked with him. My closeness to him demonstrated that he felt our pulses -that's the term. He had a personal prescription for everyone.
The surprising thing was that he knew absolutely everything that concerned the person he was talking with. He knew about things that you had never even told him about. He always gave the most appropriate prescription by which you found the solution yourself.
K.I.: Could you mention any particular occasions?
A.T.: I was about midway in my relationship with him when I decided to ask his opinion about various problems that troubled me regarding some doubts and questions about what I should do with my life.
I planned what I was going to say to him, classifying it in my mind and placing the questions that I would put to him in numerical order.
Well, I went there and sat by him. Before I could tell him anything, he started to enumerate my different questions in the exact order and manner that I had thought them out. Exactly like I had decided to put it to him.
I was dumbfounded, of course. In my amazement I didn't know what to say. He knew about absolutely everything that concerned me, in the finest detail. It is due to Elder Porphyrios that I was able to overcome my difficulties and tc come to the decision to remain at my post in Africa.
K.I.: And to continue your vital missionary work there.
A.T.: The whole time I spoke to him I was inspired by
his hope, joy and optimism. Things that have remained undiminished within me.
From that time on, (life, you know, is very difficult in Africa. It's not just
the other kinds of difficulties, it's also the various diseases there), I felt a
boundless joy within me, a kind of delight, which often seems to be
unexplainable. I am positive that it is his prayer that helps me to stay and
continue my work in Africa.
Elder Porphyrios tried and succeeded in imparting all his enthusiasm to the person talking with him. The prescriptions that he gave, (that's how I took his advice, like a prescription), came from a true physician of both soul and body. They really came from God.
K.I.: All of that demonstrates that Elder Porphyrios had the Holy Spirit present within him.
AT.: Yes. He had the grace of the Holy Spirit. It explains how he was able to help everyone, giving each person their proper direction in life. His words were words of life for each person that sought his advice. There was never a case of someone approaching him and not getting the appropriate medicine.
K.I.: You put it very well, Mr. Tillyrides. You talk about 'a physician', 'prescriptions' and 'medicine'. Elder Porphyrios' advice was the work of Christ, who is, we know, the physician of souls and bodies.
AT.: Something that Elder Porphyrios insisted on, particularly for young people, was work. He could not accept inattentiveness, laziness, or indifference from anyone. He gave the matter a great deal of importance. He wanted people to be hard working and creative.
K.I.: When did you see the Elder for the last time?
AT.: On the ninth of September 1991. He had just returned from the Holy Mountain, where he had gone, as was later seen, to prepare for his earthly end.
He was lying in bed with his cross in his hand. He received me, as always, with great pleasure. We talked for a little while; he blessed me with his cross and gave me his own personal blessing.
K.I.: Which of Elder Porphyrios' beneficial words will you choose to tell us? As long as the world exists, the deposition of testimonies about Elder Porphyrios will be forever endless.
AT.: He always expounded faith and patience. He referred to them again and again for whatever problem the other person brought up. He continually spoke about the patience and faith which we, as Christians, ought to have throughout every moment of our life, however difficult it may be.
K.I.: Besides Elder Porphyrios always insisted that, "Whatever I tell you is written in the Gospel." Consequently, "Your faith has saved you." - "In patience build up your souls" - "He who is patient until the end is saved." and so on.
AT.: Elder Porphyrios' passage through this world was a great gift from God to Mankind in the twentieth century.
K.I.: And further evidence that the way of the Elders, the way, that is, of deep faith, of the existential life in Christ, is the way of redemption from death, of inscription into the book of life.
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Article published in English on: 18-2-2009.
Last Update: 18-2-2009.