Elder Porphyrios

BLESSED ELDER PORPHYRIOS (Bairaktaris) the Kapsokalyvite (1906-1991) was an Athonite hieromonk known for his gifts of spiritual discernment.

His father had been a cantor, who sang for St Nektarios of Aegina. Baptised Evangelos, he was later tonsured with his monastic name of Nikitas when in his mid teens. He served in the skete of Kafsokalyvia, in the Cell of St. George, until ill health forced him home. He was unexpectedly elevated to the priesthood at the age of 21 by Porphyrios III, Archbishop of Mount Sinai and Raithu.

With the outbreak of World War II he became a hospital chaplain in Athens, in which post he continued for three decades (1940-1970). His later years were devoted to the construction of the Holy Convent of the Transfiguration of the Savior. After 1984 he returned to Mount Athos, occupying the same cell which he had earlier in life been forced to abandon.

Adapted from OrthodoxWiki

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There is a video biography of Elder Porphyrios on the website of the Pantocrator Monastery in Thessaloniki.

There are several pages about Elder Porphyrios, including a number of first-hand testimonies of his gift of spiritual discernment, at the OODE website.

The Orthodox Christian Information Centre has an extract from a biography of the Elder called Wounded By Love, on the subject of illness. The Elder, who suffered grievously from a series of health problems, advises us that we should not directly pray to be healed of our illnesses, because this makes us preoccupied with them and they lay hold upon us even tighter. We should take the opportunity to pray to love Christ with absolute fervour and sincerity of heart, for the sake of that love alone. Then, in the moment that the illness ceases to matter to us, we will get better.

YouTube has a brief video of his cell.

There is an account of the Elder’s remarkable powers of healing and discernment in Greek on the Άγιον Όρος blog.

Mystagogy has a nice story about the day when a hippie went to see Elder Porphyrios.

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“If you want, you can even become holy in the middle of a city.”

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“You should ask God to forgive you of your sins. And because you have asked him humbly, and with pain of heart, God will forgive you all your sins, and heal your body too.”

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“Well then, really this is the way we should see Christ. He is our friend, our brother; he is whatever is good and beautiful. He is Everything. Yet, he is still a friend, and he shouts it out, ‘You’re my friends, don’t you understand that? We’re brothers. I’m not….I don’t hold hell in my hand. I’m not threatening you. I love you. I want you to enjoy life together with me.’ Do you understand?”

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Elder Porphyrios celebrating the Divine Liturgy in the Church of St Nicholas in Kallisia in 1977.