Saint Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia
Commemorated on December 2nd
Elder Porphyrios was born in 1906 in Euboea to pious parents. He worked as a shepherd boy when he was eight years old and came across a booklet about Saint John the Hut-Dweller which he read with great difficulty as he was uneducated. Deeply touched by the life of the saint, at twelve years of age, he secretly left for the Holy Mount Athos. Here, he met his spiritual father who guided him until his own repose. After some time, he had to return to Euboea because of illness. Here, at 18 years of age, he met the Archbishop of Sinai, Porphyrios III who beheld the depth of spirituality of the young monk and his already apparent gift of clairvoyance, ordained him a priest at the age of 20. Throughout his life, Saint Porphyrios would spend much time in the world, especially Athens, treating the patients of hospitals through his prayers and wonderworking. He lived to be an exemplary paradigm for asceticism in the world. The saint, however, did not discriminate. He would visit the sick, the healthy, the rich, the poor, the righteous, and the sinners, even preaching Christ at brothels, inviting the prostitutes to venerate the Holy Cross when he went around for house blessings. Sensing the end of his life, he retreated to Mount Athos once again where he stayed in Kafsokalyvia, the same kalyve where he had been tonsured a monk seventy years prior. The Saint reposed in peace, and by his instruction, his body was buried in an unknown location, thus his relics are unavailable for veneration. A pious doctor of the Saint, however, visited Sydney, Australia, and brought with him a vile of a blood sample he had from the elder, and thus our very own country has been sanctified with the presence of the Saint.
Ἦχος α´. Τῆς ἐρήμου πολίτης.
Τῆς Εὐβοίας τὸν γόνον, Οἰκουμένης ἀγλάϊσμα (πρώτη γραφή: πανελλήνων τὸν Γέροντα), τῆς Θεολογίας τὸν μύστην καὶ Χριστοῦ φίλον γνήσιον, Πορφύριον τιμήσωμεν, πιστοί, τὸν πλήρη χαρισμάτων ἐκ παιδός. Δαιμονῶντας γὰρ λυτροῦται, καὶ ἀσθενεῖς ἰᾶται πίστει κράζοντας· δόξα τῷ δεδωκότι σοι ἰσχύν, δόξα τῷ σὲ ἁγιάσαντι, δόξα τῷ ἐνεργοῦντι διὰ σοῦ πᾶσιν ἰάματα.
Ἦχος πλ. δ´. Τῇ ὑπερμάχῳ.
Τοῦ Παρακλήτου τὸν ναὸν τὸν ἁγιώτατον καὶ τῆς πανάγνου Θεοτόκου προσφιλέστατον, ἀνυμνήσωμεν Πορφύριον ἐκ καρδίας. Ἀγαπᾷ γὰρ καὶ ἰᾶται πάντας καὶ φρουρεῖ καὶ πρεσβεύει ὅπως τύχωμεν θεώσεως. Ὅθεν κράζομεν· χαίροις, πάτερ Πορφύριε.
St Porphyrios, a monk, priest and modern-day Saint, was born in Evia, Greece, in 1906 to a poor family. Evangelos (the name he was given at birth) began work as a shepherd as a young boy and had very little formal education. He read the life of St John the Hut-dweller of Kavsokalyvia while minding the flocks. As a result, his life changed.
When he was twelve, Evangelos made his way to Kavsokalyvia on Mount Athos. He began his ascetic life under the guidance of two elders at a hermitage of Kavsokalyvia, and was tonsured a monk. After seven years there, St Porphyrios became very ill and was forced to return to Evia. With the onset of World War II, he moved to Athens to be chaplain and spiritual father to patients at the Athens Polyclinic, the major hospital of the capital. He spent thirty-three years in that role, in the centre of busy Athens, following an ascetic, prayerful life! He was tirelessly devoted to those in suffering, and worked many miracles of healing. There are numerous recorded instances of how he used his gifts of foresight and spiritual discernment to guide people to God (some of these can be read in previous issues of Lychnos).
He died on December 2nd, 1991, and was was canonized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople only recently in 2013. His life was completely defined by his great love for God:
“I have run to the fragrance of your myrrh, O Christ God,
For I have been wounded by your love;