The Church Celebrates, the Holy Mountain Rejoices and the Orthodox Commonwealth Glorifies

23 October 2019

Four Athonite Elders are inscribed in the rolls of the saints.

The Church celebrates, the Holy Mountain rejoices and the Orthodox commonwealth glorifies.

Today hesychasts, cave-dwellers, those living in kellia and sketes are permeated with the brightness of sanctity.

The coenobitic monasteries on Athos now have their grounding, their corner-stones and their foundations, with the formal declaration of sanctity.

Monasteries throughout Greece, Cyprus and the whole Orthodox commonwealth all partake in their share of the blessing of ancestral sanctity.

From the left: Saints Daniil Katounakiotis, Ieronymos Simonopetritis, Iosif the Hesychast and Efraim Katounakiotis

Hierarchs, archimandrites, priest-monks, monks, nuns and the laity gaze on as their elders, their spiritual fathers and guides in Christ are elevated to the ranks of the saints.

The announcement of the official acknowledgement of their canonization, which was already recognized by the body of the Church, is rather like an outstanding ‘ratification’ of the truth of their life in Christ.

Life in the Truth. Laden with spiritual exertions and fruit.

They hungered and thirsted entirely for Christ and now eat and drink their fill eternally. Indeed, they themselves have been transformed into the loaves and waters of life for the world.

They hungered and thirsted in the body through fasting- at all times and to a great degree- in order to gain and retain Divine Grace.

They gave themselves over entirely to divine love, most precious and unique.

They also hungered and thirsted so that we, too, could eat and drink our fill, by reading, reflecting on and taking to heart the lessons from their lives and works in Christ. The hardships which brought them to divine rest and sanctity.

Lives which are at once exciting and fruitful, full of sanctity, the confession of Grace and encounters with God.

True and genuine children of Our Most Holy Lady, the Mother of God.

Devout scions of her garden and bower, who were promoted to elders, saints and confessors of the blessings of Divine Grace, which they themselves were granted.

And, indeed, at a time when the Holy Mountain seemed to be crumbling, to be under threat of total disintegration- and we don’t mean its buildings- when even Church and extra-ecclesiastical agencies foresaw its demise and rejected it.

In a shroud of secrecy, however, Athos itself, that is Our Most Holy Lady the Mother of God labored away in silence, poverty, patience and hardships for its glorious renewal.

Not, of course, for its own luster, but so that, in its ultimate and total spiritual despair and wretchedness the world would find a refuge, haven shelter and consolation.

A spring-board of spiritual expectations, that is life abundant and sustainable.

May our new saints, but old acquaintances, Daniil Katounakiotis, Iosif the Hesychast, Ieronymos Simonopetritis and Efraim Katounakiotis, accept once more our supplications to intercede before the throne of God. We also owe them our thanks for the resurgence of the garden of the Mother of God which, along with others who labored there, they transformed into a garden of Divine Grace.

Their canonization as a group demonstrates this. In any case, it’s not many years since Saints Païsios and Porfyrios were also inscribed in the rolls of the saints.