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A message of consolation and hope
in difficult times
Message by the Eldress Thekla, Abbess of the Holy
Monastery of Panagia the Comforter of
Canada. It is the first Greek Orthodox
monastery founded by the blessed Elder
Ephraim Philotheitis and Arizonite in
Quebec, Canada. (Holy Monastery of
Virgin Mary the Consolatory).
April 14, 2020
The church of the Holy Monastery of Panagia
Being in the fourth week of quarantine and in view of
the Holy Days of Easter, pressured by the stress and fear they are
trying to impose on us, the pressure created by the administration
of the monastery under these conditions and the deep sorrow which it
imposes, my heart aches and sorrows for the people around us for the
deprivation of certain basic needs and especially the deprivation of
the greatest consolation and source of strength which is the church
and the strongest medicine that is Holy Communion, I resorted to
withdrawal in 'alone' prayer and I begged and constantly asked God
to spread His infinite mercy on His world, to heal the sick, to
strengthen them and to console and comfort the elderly, and those
who are plagued by loneliness and suffer all kinds of difficulties.
I felt guilty because we here have this consolation of
the sacramental life, while our brothers are deprived of it and I
was trying to find a way to comfort them. Then I heard a voice say
to me, 'Remember what you experienced in the past?' Then, as if my
mind was opened, I saw it inside me and believe me, I lived
'consciously' those unique moments again.
When I went to the monastery in 1975 (45 years ago) it
was the time when the retinue of the monastery of Philotheos was
still small in the number of monks and the priests were few. Thus,
there were no priests available to serve the related chapels.
Because our monastery was part of the monastery of Philotheos, for
years we did not have a priest. Whenever they could (it was rarely)
they came, but they could never be absent from the monastery for the
days of great feasts. For Christmas, Easter, Annunciation,
Dormition, Pentecost, etc. we were always without a priest.
Of course, if this had happened in a parish, people would protest,
shout, say indecent words, maybe even curse, and the only one who
would be enjoying it would be the devil with his angels.
The opposite was true for us. We fasted, we prepared
for Holy Communion, we gathered in our small chapel, which was the
extension of a corridor, (from our church here in the Monastery), we
read our prayers and in the end our holy Eldress Makrina, gave us
"Communion" - our great blessing and reward - and she always told us
that, if we are "the way we should be", then it is possible for the
Holy Angels to invisibly serve Holy Communion, as we often read in
the lives of Saints.
Believe me, during that time, we experienced many
heavenly situations that we never experienced again, after we had
acquired a permanent priest, 40-day supplications, etc.
Now I understand, that because of the deprivation but
also for our sincere desire and patience, God graciously gave us a
The church was scented as if it had been anointed with
myrrh. Our eyes were in tears incessantly. Our hearts skipped a beat
with God's grace.
On the days when we "Communed", without even thinking
about it, we instinctively spoke in soft whispers, because we felt
that we were living in a mystagogy. In our mouth when saying
the Prayer we felt the taste of an aromatic sweet. We could feel
Holy Communion, even though we had not received the actual
Communion, and all day we were very careful not to spit or chew gum
and then throw it away. So intense was the sense of having received
Regardless of what I write, it is not possible to
describe the sensation of the grace of Christ that we experienced in
those days of deprivation, because it cannot be described in words.
After a few years the priests in the monastery of
Filotheou increased and we no longer had a problem. Everything had
entered into a regular rhythm.
Nineteen years later, when our obedience along with
Sister Ephraim brought us here to Canada, we faced the same problem
again. Lack of priests! Our monastery did not have a priest for
seven years. But now things were not so hard because our priests, on
the orders of the Metropolitan, came every day and served for
Communion. But again on weekends and holidays we did not have a
priest. Priests had to serve in their own parishes. We performed the
services alone, we decorated the icons, we decorated the Cross on
the day of the Ascension and the Crucifixion, we made the procession
of the Cross on Holy Thursday, etc. And we tried to preserve the
morale and mood of the young people who were completely
These, along with many others, are now a wealth of
experiences that exist within us and whenever it is necessary, we
open the treasury of experience and choose what we need, depending
on the circumstances.
Suddenly, as if my mind was opened, I re-lived all this
spiritual state very intensely, as if it was an answer to my prayer,
and the message was that, if we prepare ourselves with humility,
without complaining and objections, with a lot of praying and faith
in God’s providence, and then receive the holy water and the
Antidoron bread instead of Holy Communion, and keep in mind that God
did not allow us to receive Communion because we are unworthy and
unprepared, then we will receive God’s Grace with the grace of
martyrdom, for which Saint Luke the Physician had said: “I loved
very much the grace of martyrdom, which so miraculously cleanses the
The wicked one wanted us to shut down our churches.
Well, let us make our homes churches.
He shut down eleven churches, let us open eleven thousand.
incense spread its fragrance throughout every neighborhood.
Let the lamp and the candle burn constantly. Let us
watch the Services on the Media, praying, and not lying in bed or
eating or smoking etc.. If we do thus, then instead of churches
closing, they will increase, they will be spread everywhere and
entire cities will become churches.
Then God will give His blessing.
Seeing our repentance He will chastise the sickness and will
grant us freedom along with the churches, and extra years to labour
I wish you a blessed Holy Week, spiritual ascension,
health to both spirit and soul, patience with infinite confidence in
God's providence and the light of the Resurrection to shine in our
hearts and fill them with all the gifts of the Holy Spirit. AMEN.
WISHES FOR A GREAT AND LIGHT-BRINGING RESURRECTION!'
With infinite love in Christ
The least in Christ,
Eldress Thekla and sisters
Article published in English on: 15-04-2020.
Last update: 15-04-2020.