December 27, 2023

How an Intervention of the Holy Protomartyr Stephen Was Captured in a Photograph

Elder Philaretos was the abbot of the Athonite Monastery of Konstamonitou from 1949 to 1963. This Monastery is dedicated to the Holy Protomartyr Stephen, and contains a very old icon of the Saint as well as a portion of his relics.

In the biography of this Holy Elder, we read how he had a brother named Thomas who would frequently visit him. On one occasion, however, Thomas came with a bad intention: he wanted to trick the Elder into coming back home with him to Fyteia of Imathia so he could help take care of their elderly mother, but with the ultimate goal of forcing him to serve as the parish priest of their native village.

The night before he was going to carry out his plan, he fell asleep in the Monastery. In his sleep, the Holy Protomartyr Stephen appeared to him and reprimanded him severely for his deceit. The next day, terrified, Thomas confessed to his brother his plan.

The Holy Elder Philaretos forgave his brother, and though he refused to leave the Monastery to return to his village, for the sake of his mother he allowed a photograph to be taken with his brother to show their mother.

This photograph was taken in the photography studio in Karyes, the capital of Mount Athos. It came into the possession of the fathers of Konstamonitou after Thomas's daughter, Katherine (who is now reposed), offered it to them.

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