August 24, 2023

"I Was Angry With Saint Kosmas Aitolos" (Metr. Athanasios of Limassol)

By Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol
When I was on Mount Athos, there we honored Saint Kosmas Aitolos. I did not give honor to this Saint, to confess to you, because I was angry with him for leaving Mount Athos. And I said, "Look, my child, at the desire he had to leave Mount Athos." If only I knew that I would do the same!

He left Mount Athos and went to Greece to visit the villages, to give sermons! Was this necessary?

Didn't he have others to do these things?

He left Mount Athos, which was an ideal place for monks in that blessed monastic state, and he went round all the villages and built schools.

On Mount Athos, he was greatly honored because Saint Kosmas Aitolos was an Hagiorite, he was from Philotheou Monastery. They held a vigil-festival and all the Hagiorites, 200-300-500 monks, went to the festival. I never went because I didn't give him honor, to tell the truth. Of course, I honored him as a Saint, but I did not hold him in great reverence. Always in my mind was this question, why did he leave Mount Athos?! Is what he did an example, so to speak? If the rest of us do the same and we all left, what would happen next?

And then I didn't understand what obsession he had to build schools. I said, "Instead of building churches, he is building schools?" He built, let's say, 250 schools and 50 churches instead of doing the opposite. That's what my math told me. But I realized that Saint Kosmas was right because he said there in one of his teachings - with simple words just like he said it - he says:

"Christians, do you send your children to school?"

They said: "No, Saint of God."

"Well then," he says, "it's not children you've got, it's pigs! They're piglets because if a man doesn't go to school he becomes a pig!"

He told them like that so they would understand, of course; it was the Turkish occupation then.

And he built schools and he says somewhere: "Build schools and send your children because schools bring children to the Church." And why was he saying that? Because it is a fact, the Church, the word of God, the life in Christ in order to be accepted by man, other things are needed first.

A pre-education is needed. An education is needed. You see, in order for Christ, the Gospel, the Apostles to come and for the world to accept these things, it was necessary for Greek philosophy, Roman philosophy, Egyptian wisdom, to cultivate the world first, to leave that inferior state where people were, to acquire intelligence and even education such that they could understand, feel, grasp what God would say.

And the philosophers preceded them in order to cultivate the language to such a point that after the coming of the Gospel and the Fathers they would take philosophy - the philosophical definitions - which were ready to express the greatness of Theology, which is superior to philosophy.

Source: From a discussion here: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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