Testimonies and Experiences
Accounts about Elder Porphyrios
Fr. Arsenios, a monk at St. Catherine's Monastery on Mt. Sinai, told us the following about Fr. Porphyrios during our visit there in July of 1989:
B. was a novice at the Monastery. He was very young and could not get used to the monastery's tough routine that allowed very little time for sleep. So, during the mornings, after the Divine Liturgy, he would go to the area where the burning bush was located and fall asleep.
The Abbot of the Monastery, as well as the other members of the brotherhood, ignored what was happening. They did not want to be too strict or to discourage him in his monastic endeavors. So B. continued to sleep away the morning hours in the same place.
B. loved Elder Porphyrios very much and telephoned him frequently. One day he called the Elder.
"Good morning, Elder."
"Good morning, my son. How are you?"
"I'm fine, Elder. How are you?"
"I'm also fine. In fact, I am thinking about how nice it would be for me to be there at the burning bush that God revealed to Moses. Those who can be found there are sleeping."
B. read about this in the second edition of this book and asked us to clarify that he was not at all surprised by the fact that Elder Porphyrios 'saw' him in Sinai, while still in Athens, with his discernment, because he already knew about his gift. He was moved by his love and his concern.
A friend of ours from Greece, Th.S., was married to a Cypriot doctor. She went to receive Elder Porphyrios' blessing, as she was going to take a trip to Cyprus in the summer of 1983. When she told blessed Porphyrios that she was going to Cyprus, the Elder said to her, "Go and find this Cypriot lady. Tell her I sent you and get to know one another."
Th.S. obeyed and because of Elder Porphyrios from that moment on, found in the person of this young lady and her husband, two close, honest and worthy friends. During the ensuing years they frequently visited and conversed with Elder Porphyrios.
Th.S. knew Elder Porphyrios for more than twenty years. She first met him when she was sixteen years old. Here we briefly relate a few of her many experiences just as she told them to us:
Once, she faced a very serious problem which she had been talking to Elder Porphyrios about for some time. He always calmed her fears by assuring her that the problem would turn out well. Everything would turnout just as she hoped it would, despite evidence to the contrary.
Th.S., however saw that as time went on things became worse instead of better. One evening she was told that in the days that followed, the very thing that she was afraid of was going to happen. Nevertheless Elder Porphyrios never stopped assuring her that it would not happen. She felt such despair and turmoil, she spent the whole night pleading,
"Pappouli, pappouli, why pappouli? Didn't you tell me that everything would turn out all right? Now, what will I do pappouli? She cried all night.
As soon as dawn broke, the telephone rang. She was surprised to hear Elder Porphyrios' voice. "Come on, my child why are you acting like that? You shouted for me all night and you didn't allow me to rest. Why are you acting like that? I told you that everything would turn out all right."
Th.S. was speechless. How did the Elder Porphyrios know that she was calling for him all night ? and how could he still insist that everything would be all right?
God, naturally, had helped him to foresee things correctly in this situation, as well. Th.S.'s problem, was resolved within a few days and everything turned out just as the Elder Porphyrios said it would.
Another account by the same.
She already had two daughters and was not thinking about having another child. Not then at least.
One day she went to Elder Porphyrios with her husband. While they were talking, she suddenly saw him making the sign of the cross over her abdomen and saying,
"Lord, Jesus Christ, give her a child."
Her first reaction was protest, "Why pappouli?. You know what a terrible financial state we are in. My husband is still establishing his practice and we already have two small children who have not yet gone to elementary school."
"Come now," Elder Porphyrios told her, "isn't it a pity for your husband not to have a son? He doesn't tell about it, but deep down he very much wants to have a son, too. You'll see, this child will bring you wealth and happiness."
A month and a half later, Th.S. was pregnant and soon brought a beautiful little boy into the world. Today he is six years old. He, as foreseen by the Elder, brought the family happiness and great financial security.
A third account by Th.S.
A close relative of Th.S. wanted to unburden herself to Elder Porphyrios with something troubling her soul. However, something always happened, and she never managed to go and see him.
One night, she saw Elder Porphyrios in a dream and spoke to him about that problem of hers. Waking up in the morning, she telephoned him to ask when she could go and see him. Amazed, she heard him say,
"But you told me about it yesterday. You want to tell me the same thing again?"
Testimonies of the Cypriot doctor, D.S., as they were related to us, by him.
He was studying medicine at the University of Athens.
One morning, the doorbell rang in his apartment. He opened the door and saw an unknown priest who said, "May I enter?" D.S. was greatly impressed by the fact that from the very first moment he felt that the priest, in his own words, "was completely different from all the other priests I had met up to that time."
D.S. explained, "We talked for four whole hours. We talked about all my personal and family matters and problems. He captivated me so much that only when he left did I realize that I had not even offered him a cup of coffee. He had astonished me from the very first moment that we met. Just imagine, that as soon as I opened the door, he addressed me with my name without ever having met me before."
D.S. continues, "This priest, I later learnt, was Elder Porphyrios. I changed all the decisions I had made about my future, considering the conversation we had that day. This happened at a very opportune and decisive time with regard to the rest of my life."
During the years that followed, doctor D.S. met Elder Porphyrios many times. Of the many times he told us about, we relate only two.
The first is that the Elder Porphyrios placed great importance to the endocrinological system of the human body and he frequently spoke to D.S. about this subject.
Secondly, as D.S. told to us, "It was a time when I became greatly concerned about the question of death. It reached a point where I thought about it constantly. So, one day I went to the Elder and I asked him to explain what death was to me. He laughed and said,
"Death doesn't exist."
The two following stories were told to us by E.S., a spiritual child of Elder Porphyrios in Athens:
A girl entered Theological School on Elder Porphyrios' advice. In the beginning she did not apply herself to her full ability. She studied a lot less than she should have.
Elder Porphyrios, wanted to encourage her and often urged her to study. He even discussed the content of the lessons with her sometimes.
On the eve of the examination period the late Elder saw that the girl was not well prepared, and told her to bring her books to him so that he could test her on a few pages like a teacher would. The student did not know the material well, and he said to her,
"Tonight, you'll study those pages that I tested you on that you didn't know very well."
The girl was obedient and learned those pages very well. She only understood the meaning of the Elder's actions the following day when she discovered that the examination questions were taken from those pages exactly. She was amazed. She glorified God and from then on she became a diligent student.
A lady went to visit Elder Porphyrios for the first time about a serious family problem she had. Since she wanted her husband and children to hear the Elder's answers she put a small cassette recorder in her handbag in order to record the conversation with him.
When she arrived, she saw that there were many others who had gone there before her. She sat down to wait her turn. At one point, even though so many people were before her, she heard them saying,
"The Elder said that the lady with the cassette recorder should come in."
She was literally at a loss. Only she and God knew that she had a cassette recorder in her handbag. She found out for herself that you cannot hide anything from Elder Porphyrios.
The four following accounts were told to us by Mr. Ignatios Gregoriou, a resident of Neas Politias, Oropos, Attica. They were recorded in Oropos, and we present them in full.
I have a brother who has been missing since 1981. Once, I decided to ask Elder Porphyrios how I should remember him in prayer [for the living or for the dead]
"Pray for his health," was the answer. I was confused because I wasn't sure if I heard correctly. He picked up my thoughts and said to me: "Aren't you asking me about Anastasios?"
How did he know, I ask you, that my brother is called Anastasios? He didn't even know my own name. I was concerned not to trouble the Elder, and I would go only to receive his blessing. I had never stopped to talk to him about any problem or affair of mine. The only time that I spoke to him was the time I've already mentioned, concerning my brother.
I want you to understand that from the moment Elder Porphyrios told me to pray for my brother's health every single doubt that my brother might not be alive was cleared from my mind. Even if I never meet him again, even if I never hear any news from him, I have the unshakable belief that my brother lives. I was not told it by just anybody, but by a saint through whom God spoke
Mr. Ignatios Gregoriou's second account.
When Elder Porphyrios was about to have a cataract operation, a spiritual daughter of his went and took some girls from here, went into the forest and cried, begging God to make the Elder well.
One day the Elder called her to him,
"You, come here. Why did you take the others and go and cry in the forest?"
"Because," she answered, "we want you to get well, Elder." Do you know what he then said to her? She herself told me. He told her word for word:
"Pray for me to become good, not well."
The third account by the same.
Fr. Andreas, who has now died, was a dermatologist before becoming a monk on Mt. Athos. Later, he came here to St. George's Nea Palatia, Oropos, as the priest. One day he asked Elder Porphyrios' permission to see his hand since he was a dermatologist. This was because Elder Porphyrios had amongst other things a skin condition there. His right hand was wrapped up in gauze because of it. This account was told to me by Fr. Andreas himself.
He did, in fact, allow him to examine his hand. Fr. Andreas then went and bought some ointment and took it to the Elder.
"Apply this cream, Elder," he said, "and in a few days your hand will be healed completely."
Elder Porphyrios then said,
"Fr. Andreas, this thing on my hand was given to me by God to correct me. And now you've come to take it away from me?" He refused to take the ointment.
Mr. Ignatios Gregoriou's fourth account.
"The account that I am now telling you was told to me by my neighbor, Th, who lived very close to Elder Porphyrios. He had lived there for many years, from the time when the late Elder still lived in Penteli.
One day, a man from a village in Thrace went to the Convent to see the Elder. His wife was paralyzed. The Elder was not there. He was on Mt. Athos. This man had such great love in God that when they told him that Elder Porphyrios was not there he said,
"That's all right. It was enough just to come here to the place where he, a saint, lives and breathes. That's plenty for me."
When he returned home, he found his wife standing up in the kitchen. She was no longer paralyzed. When he asked her what happened, his wife told him that on a particular day she got up and started to do the housework. It was exactly the same day that her husband had gone to find Elder Porphyrios. This man's faith in God was so great that God honored him with the experience of such a great miracle.
The following account happened a little after the Elder Porphyrios' departure, and was told to us by D.M.M., a Cypriot now resident in Athens.
She was pregnant with her first child and from this was filled with anxiety, uneasiness and fear; something that often happens to women who are about to give birth for the first time. She often reached the point where she would wake up at night and would not be able to get back to sleep again.
About one month after Elder Porphyrios' departure she had a dream. She saw that she was sitting in the back seat of her father's car. The car was being driven by the Abbot of the Monastery of the Paraclete, Fr. Cherubim. Next to him sat an unknown venerable and aged priest. The two of them were taking her to maternity hospital for the birth. Upon waking, she felt boundless calm and a release from her anxiety and fear.
Her parents were very close to the Elder but she had never met him herself. The rest is presented here in her own words, exactly as they were written down.
"Well, imagine, what happened to me..., how I felt..., what I did... when I went to my parent's home, two months after having that dream. I saw a picture of that unknown pappouli hanging on the wall, the same person I saw in my dream. I was literally shocked. "Who is that pappouli?" I asked them. "Where did you find that picture?" "It's Elder Porphyrios," they replied, "someone we know brought it, and gave it to us this morning."
Today, when we are talking about it I feel the same astonishment that I felt on that day. I had never met Elder Porphyrios. I had never seen his face while he was alive, while he was here in the world. Yet, I came to know him, to see him after his passing, when he went to heaven."
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Article published in English on: 3-4-2009.
Last Update: 3-4-2009.