Presentation of the Volume «Γέρων Ιωσήφ Βατοπαιδινός (1.7.1921 – 1.7.2009)» (Elder Iosif Vatopaidinos (1.7.1921-1.7.2009)21 April 2018
On Thursday, 19 April 2018, a volume on the blessed Elder Iosif Vatopaidinos, written by Archimandrite Efraim, the Abbot of the Holy and Great Monastery of Vatopaidi, was presented at the Athens Concert Hall before a gathering which numbered more than 2,700. In his introduction to the work, Abbot Efraim notes, among other things, that: ‘It is essential and of particular spiritual importance, especially today, that we should present the life of virtuous and holy men of our Church. The biography and virtuous life of our Elder, Iosif Vatopaidinos… is an expression of our love towards his person’.
The event was honoured with the notable presence of His Beatitude Ieronymos II, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, who delivered the opening address at the presentation of the work. Among other things, he recalled his acquaintance with the late Elder Iosif, the latter’s ascetic efforts, discipleship among the brotherhood of the blessed Elder Iosif the Hesychast, and also the gifts of the Holy Spirit which distinguished him.
His Beatitude made the pertinent point that: ‘Elder Iosif lived the monastic life for 72 years. He acquired great experience in the spiritual life and, by common consent, is included in the assembly of modern saintly figures on the Holy Mountain, together with Elder Efraim Katounakiotis, Saint Paisios and Saint Porfyrios Kavsokalyvitis’.
The prologue to the edition was written by His All-Holiness Bartholomew II, the Ecumenical Patriarch, and he was represented at the event by the Very Reverend Archimandrite Chrysostomos, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Saint Paraskevi, Mazi. An address was given by Metropolitan Athanasios of Lemesos, a spiritual son of Elder Iosif, and this was followed by further addresses by Elder Nikodimos from Saint Paul’s, Fr. Myron from Simonopetra and Fr. Iosif from Xenofontos, representing the Abbots of these monasteries, while messages were also read from other Abbots of the Holy Monasteries on the Holy Mountain.
The book was presented by the Very Reverend Chrysostomos Papadakis, Archimandrite of the Ecumenical Throne and Preacher of the Holy Metropolis of Veria, Naousa and Kampania, who, in his cogent and refreshing talk, brought to the large audience the content of the work, in which the charismatic states of the spiritual life of blessed Elder Iosif are recorded with simplicity and in an engaging manner, enabling every thirsting soul to share in the sanctifying experiences and events.
A hymn in honour of the late Elder was sung by the Greek Byzantine Choir, conducted by Mr. Georgios Konstantinou.
In the course of the event, the documentary Elder Iosif Vatopaidinos (1.7.1921-1.7.2009) was shown, the subject matter being the person, life and teaching of the Elder. The audience was moved by being able to follow the course of his life, his work and his spiritual dynamics.
Proceedings were brought to a close by Elder Efraim, the Abbot of the Holy and Great Monastery of Vatopaidi, who, visibly moved, referred to his life with Elder Iosif, who, with his virtuous life and humble personality inspired Abbot Efraim himself, as well as a host of other monks and thus revitalized the Monastery of Vatopaidi, both materially and spiritually. Elder Efraim Vatopaidinos described the spiritual grandeur of the blessed Elder, pointing out aptly that ‘we proceed with the blessing of this man. Everything that’s been done and is being done is founded on his blessing’.
The historic Athonite event which took place on the occasion of the publication of the work «Γέρων Ιωσήφ Βατοπαιδινός (1.7.1921 – 1.7.2009)» by Archimandrite Efraim, Abbot of the Holy and Great Monastery of Vatopaidi, was received enthusiastically by the thousands of people who packed the ‘Christos Lambrakis’ Hall at the Athens Concert Hall.
The contribution of Elder Iosif Vatopaidinos is summed up in the wishes expressed in the presented volume by Elder Efraim Vatopaidinos, a spiritual son of the blessed Elder: ‘May we ever have his paternal care and blessing, so that we may abide by the words of his testament, and all of his words, which he taught us with such spiritual power through his own personal experiences. May each one of us respond to the best of his abilities to this blessed and celestial undertaking to which we have been called, or, rather, drawn by the Holy Spirit. He himself always reminded us that ‘no-one comes to me unless the Father who sent me draws them’, in order to pass on to us his heavenly gifts and his own adoption. We pray that this adoption, the entry into the theanthropic family in God’s love, joy, light and bliss, may be granted to all readers, to all those who knew the Elder and to all those who did not know him when he was in this life. Amen’.