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  1. Monastic Wisdom (SC): The Letters of Elder Joseph the Hesychast – Orthodox Mission Bookstore
  2. Monastic Wisdom: The Letters of Elder Joseph the Hesychast
  3. Monastic Wisdom (SC): The Letters of Elder Joseph the Hesychast
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Convert currency. Add to Basket. Condition: New. Seller Inventory M More information about this seller Contact this seller. Perfect Paperback. Paper Back. Athos has seen, in the last hundred years, a period of prosperity, up to the early part of this century, then a painful decline, followed by a new flourishing of both vocations and influence in the wider Orthodox world, including America. The details of this struggle and this pursuit may be found in this newly-translated collection of eighty-two letters to numerous spiritual children.

From it may be gleaned the essentials of a truly Orthodox understanding of the stages of the spiritual life, and the ''therapy'' provided by the Fathers and Saints of the Church, that can heal us from our diseases and set us on the path of purification, illumination, and perfection. It comes down to hard work, friends; and the grace necessary to help us persevere in it. It's all here -- passed on to us by one who was ''unlettered as far as his secular schooling was concerned. The University of the Wilderness taught him what we basically need: the divine'' Elder Ephraim.

This is a book not to be simply read, as a certain holy bishop said, but ''eaten.

Monastic Wisdom (SC): The Letters of Elder Joseph the Hesychast – Orthodox Mission Bookstore

Seller Inventory Never used!. Seller Inventory P Ships with Tracking Number! Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Athos, according to the last will of Elder Joseph, after his death, was to visit his hometown of Volos, and take upon himself the spiritual direction of the sisterhood which at that time lived in one house in the village of Stagiares in the Pelion region. In , with the blessing of Elder Ephraim, the sisterhood from Volos bought a small plot in the village of Portaria on the mountain in Upper Volos to build a monastery there. There was no monastery there before that.

The miraculous icon of the Mother of God which had been in the house in Stagiares before that was immediately transferred here. After transferring the icon to the new place they began to work on building repairs, and the beautification of the territory, and in the sisterhood relocated to Portaria.

Elder Raphail (subtitled)

Soon Elder Ephraim celebrated the first tonsure in the newly-constructed monastery—over his own mother Victoria, who was named in tonsure Theophano, and her friend who was named Matrona. After her tonsure, Gerontissa Theophano did not stay in Portaria, but returned home for some time.

Gerontissa lived at home with her youngest son until he got married, and then finally relocated to Portaria, to the monastery. Soon after the tonsure of his mother, Elder Ephraim tonsured Maria who he named Macrina—she became the abbess of the monastery in Portaria. Gerontissa Theophano was her sponsor in the tonsure, and therefore Matushka Macrina considered her her gerontissa and spiritual mother. They were great women of prayer. The locals bear witness: they saw how two pillars of fire would rise from the monastery at night to Heaven—the prayers of Gerontissas Theophano and Macrina.

Thus Gerontissa Theophano became the first and best novice of her own son. As the nuns say, she had true obedience and unceasing prayer, and therefore she had a lot of temptations. Gerontissa Theophano lived in Portaria until By that time her health had worsened, and the climate in Portaria did not suit her.

Monastic Wisdom: The Letters of Elder Joseph the Hesychast

Then, because of her sickness, Elder Ephraim decided to transfer her to the newly-opened Monastery of the Archangel Michael on the island of Thassos. She always stood during the services, never sitting anywhere. In Greek churches, in addition to stasidi along the wall, usually there are rows of chairs, usually in the back but sometimes in the front of the church, and the faithful periodically sit down to rest, because services in monasteries are very long.

Gerontissa Theophano always prayed standing with her prayer rope, never letting go of her prayer rope. She told the sisters that only had she just entered her cell to rest before the night services, and lied down upon her bed, when demons came to her, not allowing her to sleep. Once they pestered her so much that she absolutely could not fall asleep in the evening. They finally left her not long before the beginning of the service, and matushka dozed off. Then came the pounding on the semantron [2] , gathering the sisters for the service.

When gerontissa turned 92 Decemebr 20, she had a stroke and became paralyzed. Until the very last day before her illness she independently took care of herself and helped in the kitchen, making food for the sisters and teaching them how to make prosphora and various other household things. She was a great homemaker, and whatever she undertook turned out well. Moreover, she was very hard-working, never stopping for rest, all the time either praying or working.

The first Lent after her stroke everyone thought she would die. He saw a great number of demons all around her, who gave her soul no rest.

Monastic Wisdom (SC): The Letters of Elder Joseph the Hesychast

He began to fervently pray and beseech the Lord to deliver his mama from the demonic powers. By his prayers, Gerontissa received relief from her illness, came to and remained lucid until her blessed repose which occurred two years later. She gradually drew near to the end of her life. Two years before her death, at the age of 92, she was paralyzed.

This is what happened with my mother: during her illness she was surrounded by caring daughters—the sisters of the monastery who took care of her with great zeal.


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And where in the world will you find such love now?! Her nurse, one of the sisters of the monastery, so loved my mother that there are no words! She was so nice, so kind, and even slept together with her, head to head…. It happened one night. She was dehydrated, with closed eyes—how dying people usually look…. When she was in such a state I was there with her, together with the nun-nurses and Gerontissa.

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It was dark, lampadas were burning. The night before, at about the same time, her eyes opened at some point. She opened her eyes and looked around, as if she was expecting something to happen or that already happened, with some kind of uneasiness, as if listening to something, or seeing something or someone. This was the first time after being unconscious for so many days that she showed some attention to the world around her. Lying, because she was unable to move, with open eyes, she looked all around, to the right, left, up, and down.


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  4. And as the moments flowed by, her face more strongly revealed a state of terrible agony and terrible fear—a whole river of fear. I saw such fear reflected on her face as when some killer is drawing near with a knife, ready to cut you.


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    I began to cover her with the sign of the Cross, repeating aloud the Jesus Prayer to calm her. I understood that what was happening was a demonic temptation. After a while the danger passed, and the invisible powers departed. Mama calmed down, and she was still conscious. O Mother of God, save me! From that point her mouth never stopped. Day and night she besought salvation from the Mother of God. It is striking that she had no thoughts, only prayer—sick people usually easily succumb to thoughts. By her way of life—constant podvigs and labors—mama acquired exceptional patience, and this patience helped her maintain prayer this whole time.

    After some time, when the torment was over, she completely calmed down and shut her eyes.

    get link The next day at the exact same time her eyes again opened. The same fear and agony was again displayed on her face. The exact same scenario happened again.