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ΤΑΒLE OF CONTENTS
- Faith and feeling
- Faith and logic
- Faith and miracles
- God is Living
- Α brief look at the past
- A grandfather’s perspective
- “By the sweat of your face” (Gen. 3:17)
- A humble heart
- Their attitude towards sin
- “A loaf of bread and a priest”
- Respectful to God’s priest
- Close ties with the Church
- Preparing the prosforon
- Sermoning and St. Kosmas the Aitolos
- Confession \ Holy Communion
- Observance of the rule of fasting
- Saintly admonition and retribution
- “Even Saints need urging”
- “Dear Christ, It’s me, Symeon!”
- Amusing prayer
- Α true moral character is what “counts”
- Νow that was Faith!
- Modern-day people. Modern Faith
Father Andreas K. Papakonstandinou (1875-1960) my grandfather on my mother’s side, lived in a remote mountainous village in central Greece called Stavrohori, in the district of Evritania. Whenever a hailstorm threatened to destroy his fellow villagers’ harvest, he used to put on his priestly vestment, open the window of his home, and pray spontaneously. The hailstorm would change direction and “vanish” into the mountains! (Eye-witnesses have related this event to me). He had the Faith of a child. He was “Simply Faithful” as the holy and renowned (Greek) Elders Porphyrios and Paisios would have said.
In this book there are many interesting examples that show how this simple, unpretentious, and straightforward Faith works, and how much God is pleased by it. May our own Faith be augmented and strenghtened after reading it.
4. Νow that was Faith!
St. John of the Ladder says: “Faithful is not the one who believes that for God everything is possible, but he who believes that whatever he asks from God, he will receive.” Everyone believes the first way. However, do we believe in the second way?
“If you have Faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move,” (Mt. 17:20). Such Faith can also do other things which are equally miraculous. For example:
In the past when certain mothers used to throw their sick children off a cliff (!) into the ravine of the “Panhagia” (Virgin Mary), believing that they would be cured because of the holiness of that particular cliff! This “outrageous” practice occurred up until 1982.
The historical Monastery of “Panhagia the Kremasti” is situated near the city of Pyrgos 42 St. John of the Ladder on Peacefulness, Sermon (in the Peloponnese). Adjacent to the church is a deep ravine (approximately 50m). Into that ravine, mothers used to throw their sick children with the thought that they were throwing them into the lap of the Virgin Mary (!) so that they would be cured of sickness! And they were cured! Truly an unexplainable paradoxical phenomenon!
Reverend Panagiotis, who is a priest at the Holy Monastery, told me during a conversation we had in 1999 the following: “A group of pilgrims visited the Μonastery early in the summer when the supplicatory prayers to the Virgin Mary had just begun. I acted as a guide and showed them the historic cliff. ‘It is here (I told them) where mothers used to throw their sick children, in the past, and they would be cured.’ ‘Father! (a woman from the group exclaimed) I also did the same. My child was gravely ill, I came here, threw it off the cliff, and today (1999) he is forty years of age and in perfect health!’”
The only exception was (according to evidence given by the seniors), a woman who first threw a glass bottle off the cliff with the following thought in her mind: “If the bottle is smashed to pieces, my child will be killed”. The bottle did not break, but when she threw her child off the cliff, it was killed. When you believe in something, you have no doubts, which means that experiments are not necessary. However, when you are in doubt, you do not believe, and you do not expect miracles either.
The most recent of these spectacular occurrences (miracles of the Faith) took place on August 24, 1982: Euphemia, a resident of Athens (born and raised near this Monastery) used to pray to the Panhagia (Virgin Mary) to bless her with a child. She made an avowal that if the Virgin Mary would grant her a child, they would both jump off the cliff. Indeed, the Virgin Mary answered her prayers and she gave birth to a child. Holding her new-born baby in her arms, she left Athens with the intention of jumping into the ravine (!) with her baby! And she did! Afterwards, she was found standing in a corner at the bottom of the ravine, totally unharmed and holding her baby (which was equally unharmed), not even a scratch!
Abbess Nymphodora (who told me about the occurrence) was an eye-witness, along with the nuns and the manual labourers who were working in the monastery at the time. (A point worthy of notice: if this particular woman did not have Faith, and if she did not trust the Virgin Mary, she would have made every possible attempt to avoid her fate…!).
Today, access to the precipitous cliff and the ravine below is denied. The entrance is barred. Not because the Virgin Mary has changed, but because people now have changed…!