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July 3, 2024

On the Cenotaph of Saint Porphyrios

By Hieromonk George Alevras

Thirty-three years have passed since the repose of Saint Porphyrios of Kavsokalyva in 1991 and eleven since his canonization in 2013.

It was with joyful-sadness that I was informed a few days ago by my spiritual brother who was a spiritual child of Saint Porphyrios, that eleven years after his repose, there was created in the cemetery of the Sacred Skete of the Holy Trinity in Kavsokalyva the cenotaph (empty tomb) of Saint Porphyrios.

Joy because something happened that should have been done at least the day after the canonization of the Saint, but also sadness because the cenotaph was NOT done in the place where the grave of Saint Porphyrios was, but in another grave in the cemetery under the pretext that they did not know.

At the same time, instead of SAINT PORPHYRIOS, they wrote Holy Elder Porphyrios, apart from the fact that the grave has a photograph of him and perimeter railings, which alone does not refer to Mount Athos.

Apparently, the decision to create the cenotaph in honor of the Saint and the execution of the work was by the Dikaios and the Synaxis of the Dikaios of the Skete.

However, choosing to make the cenotaph of a Saint in another place, from where the grave was really, is an unholy act of desecration of a hallowed space, which unfortunately is not the first time.

It is worth noting that when they were asked why they made the cenotaph in the wrong place, they claimed that they tried to contact Father Ioannikios, who is an elder of the Hut of Saint George, and he did not pick up the phone.

We are talking about a complete lack of seriousness... But why is there such a rush to make something so sloppily? I can't think of anything else but to demean the Saint.

As I mentioned above, this is not the first time that a cemetery has been desecrated.

Saint Porphyrios chose the specific place to be buried and the exact spot with very clear instructions, because as he said, a sanctified monk named Michael, who held him in high esteem and with whom he had a true friendship, had been buried in that spot.

Therefore it was logical for a Saint to be buried in a holy place.

The grave of Saint Porphyrios was the first in front of the shrine of the cemetery, and the day after his remains were transferred, at least the cross should remain, so that everyone would know where it is, including the pilgrims who would like to visit the grave, and thus it would not be possible to make this mistake today.

Saint Porphyrios was so humble, that he is still humbled today three decades after his repose.

In the recent past, a hieromonk of the Skete demanded (!!!) to be buried in the same place as Saint Porphyrios in order to overshadow, apparently because he had this impression, the Saint.

He was the same hieromonk who did not give the cell that Saint Porphyrios requested, when he wished to return to his place of penance in Kavsokalyva, and kept bringing obstacles and stumbling blocks.

In fact, this hieromonk himself had told me how it burdened him, that this made Saint Porphyrios very sad then.

The result was that the hieromonk came out incorrupt when they went to transfer his body, so he was buried again and then in the new exhumation he came out incorrupt again.

Then a letter was sent from the Skete to the Ecumenical Patriarch, to send the so-called "Metrioteta", i.e. a handwritten forgiveness prayer for the reposed, which was read and the hieromonk's burial took place again.

Again, however, God showed that even the forgiveness prayer from the Ecumenical Patriarch had no power against the desecration of the Saint's tomb, and the hieromonk came out incorrupt again.

For above them, there are the laws of the Saints of God. Then macabre things happened!

His body was dismembered, the flesh discarded and the bones thrown into the ossuary, tragically closing this profane act and history.

Unfortunately, as Scripture says " prophet is accepted in his own country" (Luke 4:24) and from the moment of the Saint's repose in 1991, the problems began.

When, after Saint Porphyrios had reposed, my father came to Mount Athos to visit his grave, he was disappointed with the image of the cemetery and the grave drowned in tall grass, which some fathers did not allow to be cleaned, lest Saint Porphyrios be viewed as a Saint, who in the consciousness of thousands of Greeks was not just a Saint, but a very great Saint.

And just as there were problems from the moment of the Saint's repose, the same happened from the first moment of the Saint's canonization, that is, it appeared that some people had a serious problem with him.

When the news was joyfully heard that a great Saint of the Skete was canonized in 2013, they did not even ring the bells, perhaps because for some the fact was unpleasant...

It was decided to create a shrine in the central church and some expressed objections about where it should be placed, and then why they did not want a lamp in front of the icon of the Saint. We are talking about tragic things!

The lamp was removed because some were offended and it was put back when I took over as Dikaios.

The monk Michael, who did not want the lamp at the shrine of Saint Porphyrios, reposed last year on December 2, which is the feast day of the Saint, and was buried next to the new cenotaph...

The Sacred Skete of the Holy Trinity is a place that has produced great Saints and at least the cells of the Saints, the graves and in general the whole monastery must honor the Saints themselves and thus they will help the younger monks to imitate them in everything.

The sketes, the cells, the monasteries, become known for their Saints, not for their architecture.

People sanctify the place with their sanctified lives, just as Kavsokalyva was sanctified by the figures of Saint Maximos, Saint Akakios, Saint Nephon, etc. and recently Saint Porphyrios, but their envy of the Saint and the legacy he left, which they know very well what it is, makes them not just enemies of the Saint but God-fighters.

Saint Sophrony of Essex said that Saint Porphyrios was the most humble man in the world and this is confirmed even in our day as people do their best to humiliate him after death.

Saint Porphyrios, shortly before he left this world, had told me: "Everyone is sabotaging me, no one tells me the truth."

Unfortunately thirty-three years have passed and they are still sabotaging him!

I remember Saint Porphyrios at the beginning of 1989 saying to me in Milesi: "Theodore, here they want to do very bad things to me...they want to put me behind glass and venerate me like Saint Nektarios while I burn. But am I dumb enough to get into trouble with the Saints? I want to come there to Kavsokalyva, will you take care of me?"

He turned to his niece and said to her: "Elenitsa, I'm going to Kavsokalyva, I'll have Theodore to look after me" to receive her ironic: "Mmm, okay...".

Finally, Saint Porphyrios shook and said "you will see".

So since the devil could not fight the humblest man there in Milesi, he is now trying to fight him in his house in Kavsokalyva.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.
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