Orthodox America


  In Everlasting Remembrance - Metropolitan Kallistos of Corinth


+ September 12/25, 1986

    After a brief illness, the retired President of the Holy Synod of Greece, of the True Orthodox Christians, Metropolitan Kallistos of Corinth, fell asleep in the Lord on September 12/25,1986. His passing is a great loss to the Orthodox Church as a whole, and particularly to his spiritual children, for whom he is irreplaceable. 

 

    Metropolitan Kallistos was born in 1906, in Ayios Flores, Kalamata, Greece. At baptism he was given the name Constantine. He was the oldest of four children and the first to join the monastic order. It was not long before the others followed his example.

    He was tonsured a monk by the miracle working Elder Moses, a disciple of Father Pachomios of Chios who was the spiritual teacher of the wonderworking Saint of our twentieth century, St. Nectarlos of Aegina. Following the example of his Elder, Metropolitan Kallistos became a great struggler and ascetic, like the ancient fathers whose lives are so edifying to read, spiritual guides whom everyone seeks to find without knowing where to look. He was a confessor and defender of the Faith, often persecuted and once imprisoned by the new calendar State Church for his tenacity in adhering to traditional Orthodoxy. He loved Christ and Christ's Church above all else, and he dedicated his life to serving His flock.

      The Metropolitan was a pneumattkos, a true spiritual father endowed with gifts of the Holy Spirit--prophecy, clairvoyance, miracle working--which he used liberally for the spiritual benefit of the faithful whom God had entrusted to his care. People came to him from all over Greece and abroad for confession and to seek his help for their spiritual problems which he always managed to solve. He was a true shepherd, who often laid down his soul for his flock. He often said that he would willingly go anywhere in the world to save one soul.

     Metropolitan Kallistos came to the United States several times. Whenever he was in Boston he served at Agia Skepi Greek Church in Roslindale, Mass. Many times he concelebrated with hierarchs and clergy of the Russian Synod in both the Russian and Greek churches within its jurisdiction, both in the U. S. and Canada. He felt part of the Russian Synod of Bishops, having received from them in 1971 his "hirothesia" which he always cherished.

      The Metropolitan was co-founder of the Annunciation and Holy Archangels monasteries in Athikia, Corinth, where he resided until his retirement from the Synod of Greece. In 1948 he was elevated to the episcopate and received the title of Metropolitan of the Apostolic See of Corinth, making him a successor of St. Paul who established the Church there. After his retirement he lived at St. Macrina's monastery in Sofiko, Corinth, and there he was buried. An entourage of clergy and faithful accompanied his body from the hospital to the Monastery for the funeral services. He will truly be missed by all of us who were fortunate to have known him. The True Old Calendar Church is headed now by Archbishop Chrysostom II with a Synod comprised of seventeen bishops.

 

Elder Moses (Tripitinian)

+June 14, 1946

(As told by his disciple, Metropolitan Kallistos)

    It was the desire of the holy Elder Moses that he repose at the men's monastery which  was in a secluded area, far away from the  tumult of the world. Death came to him in the  midst of the German occupation of Greece, during World War II. Four or five days before his repose, he told me and all the fathers that it was time for him to leave this world. "My soul will leave on Friday towards Saturday at dawn. When I leave, don't inform the  sisters right away, but let a few hours pass."

 At dawn on Saturday he asked to receive the Precious Gifts, the Body and Blood of Our Saviour. He then crossed his arms and gave up his soul. Overcome with sorrow and anxiety, I said to one of the brothers: "Hurry and notify the others so they can say a prayer  rope for the Elder, for he has reposed ." The brother ran and notified the sisters. But no sooner did the mourning begin than the Elder came back to life, I was standing over him, ready to prepare his body for burial, when  I heard him say, "Oh, lost man! Elder?!" "Elder?" he said. "How can you call me Elder? Didn't I tell you not to say anything for a few hours, and now look what you've done. You've brought me back. What do I owe you that I have to wait another week and endure all these trials and sorrows? Let me go, let me leave, why did you call me back?"

     Another week passed and again it was Saturday morning. Once more the Elder received the Holy Mysteries--and reposed. This time I let a little more time pass, but again, in my sorrow I forgot the Elder's injunction. Or perhaps I was being a bit deceptive. Thinking that what had occurred might happen again, I told the brother to quickly notify everyone of the Elder's passing. I started to prepare him again when I heard his voice. I almost fainted. All the monks gathered and exclaimed in disbelief: "Elder! Elder!" A bigger sigh was heard this time from the Elder as he came back to life. "Why don't you let me go? Let me leave quietly, at least this coming Saturday, definitely, for it is God's will that I leave then. You will then be witness to the departure of my soul, for God will permit us a soul-profiting lesson."

     Friday night after Vespers I went to see the Elder and asked if there was anything that we could bring him. "Are you fathers well?" he asked. "What is Philoret (a monk who did carpentry work) doing outside my door, banging and making all that racket? Doesn't he know the state I'm in? Can't you leave me in peace in my last hoists? Please, go and find out what is going on, and ask him to please stop all that noise, for I cannot bear it.” I went outside but there was no one there.  "Oh, I understand now. It's the enemy, the demons, coming to make this attack before my soul's departure. Please, give me the Holy Mysteries so that I might be fortified with God's grace. Also. please bring me the picture of my holy Elder Pachomius, for he will come to receive me and take me before the Bridegroom of our souls, our Lord Jesus Christ, so that I can worship the Holy Trinity. Why are you standing there! Don't you see what is going on? Prepare the censer, light the candles and read the Gospel, so that we may receive the approaching saints and saved friends and acquaintances.''

    Suddenly my spiritual eyes were opened, and I realized that this was truly an awesome moment; the Elder was seeing the spiritual and bright heavenly world. His face changed and became bright like the sun, with a joy unspeakable and unending, and I heard him say: "Thank you, thank you, Elder!" His deceased elder Pachomius had come and he was thanking him for the angelic schema which he had given him, for the riassa, the polistavri, belt, monastic headcover, prayer rope, etc.

     When he finished his conversation with Elder Pachomius, his face again changed, and with a staunchly defensive spirit he spoke out in a firm voice: "You wretched, horny, black and incompetent demon: No!" This is how he answered the demonic leaders who examined him at the toll houses. All their false and slanderous accusations he answered with a firm "No!" He passed through the twelve toll houses and then, in the loudest possible voice, the Elder said to the demon parading in front of him: "You short one, what do you want? Who are you? Identify yourself so that I can see who you are." It was finally revealed that this was the demon of heresy. "Who are you calling a heretic, you lying, evil demon?" Making the sign of the cross, the Elder began reciting the Confession of the Orthodox Faith, whereupon the demon became like smoke and disappeared. The Elder then explained that all the demonic leaders of the different toll houses had a sign which identified them as being responsible for a mortal sin. All the demons paraded in front of him and then, as howling wild beast s, they disappeared like smoke. He said how terrible it would be for any Christian to be held captive by these deceitful and horny creatures, particularly the monastics who will replace the angelic order.

    The Elder received the Holy Mysteries once more, and within a short time his blessed soul departed from his body and ascended to the heavenly mansions where he could rejoice eternally in the Kingdom of Heaven. His face shone brightly as the sun, exactly as when I first met him. We couldn't take our eyes off such a sight and we regretted having to put on the monastic headcover (koukoulion) as is the custom. But we couldn't do otherwise, and began preparing his holy body for burial. Prayers for the repose of his soul were read and all other necessary arrangements required by the Church were completed. After a few hours had passed we notified tile sisters of the Elder's repose. They were grief stricken like the rest of us. It was Friday night, a few minutes before midnight, June 14,1946. We buried him the following day.

    So great was my sorrow that I could not bear to leave his grave site. I stayed there for three days praying and weeping, for I felt totally alone without his guidance and protection. Sleep usually overtook me for a few hours before dawn. On the third day, feeling exhausted from the vigil and my sorrow, I lay down to rest a little. Whether I slept or not, whether my eyes were open... I saw growing from the middle of his grave a large, magnificent tree with many branches and marvelous leaves: it was heavy with beautiful fruit, large and juicy, which resembled apples sweet to the taste and wondrous to the sight, with an indescribable fragrance which permeated the surrounding area. In the middle of the trunk I saw a bright gold sign unfolding, bearing the following inscription: "THE TREE OFOBEDIENCE. remain in your holy obedience and you will taste of these fruits, and in its shade you will rest eternally." On seeing this, my soul was comforted and, filled with spiritual joy, I was able to go to the Monastery of the Archangels in Athikia, where we began serving the forty Liturgies for the repose of the Elder's soul.

(Compiled and translated from the Greek by Mrs. John Rigas)

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