Elder Haralambos of Dionysiou


The Athonite Elder Haralambos Dionysiatis was another of that luminous generation of eminent elders hailing from the southern region of the Athonite peninsula, the caves of Little Saint Anna.

Elder Haralambos was born in Russia in 1910 to pious Greeks who had emigrated from Pontos. He was popular in the world, capable and sociable, with a bright future available to him. However the call to the angelic habit consumed him in a way no calling of a life in the world could. Even prior to the day of his renunciation, Haralambos lived in the world as an ascetic. He would work through the day and keep prayerful vigil through the night.

In 1950, upon his arrival at New Skete, he was welcomed to the brotherhood with a rule of 3,000 prostrations. The strict asceticism practised by the brotherhood was coupled with a program of nightly vigils and unceasing prayer. The Jesus prayer and prostrations immediately set the novice’s heart aflame with divine zeal. His guide was the ever-memorable Elder Joseph the Hesychast, who recognised and developed Haralambos’ thirst. He received an education in the patristic traditions and excelled in obedience, hesychia and prayer.

After the repose of Elder Joseph in 1959, Elder Haralambos was tricked into becoming spiritual father of the brothers of the Holy Monastery of Dionysiou. He remained there until retreating in 1967, but his reputation as a gifted spiritual guide had spread throughout Athos and beyond. After humbly rejecting calls to become abbott of Dionysiou, he finally yielded in 1979. He implemented change to the Monastery’s typikon introducing, among other things, frequent partaking of Holy Communion. Above all, he taught noetic prayer and the life of hesychasm.

So short an article cannot do justice to a truly angelic life. The reader is strongly encouraged to read Monk Joseph Dionysiatis’ biography of the Elder to explore the teachings and simplicity of a contemporary God-bearer


Source: Lychnos December 2016 / January 2017