In this video, Fr. Athanasios of Simonopetra [Mount Athos] talks about the life and repose of Elder Gelasius, a monk of Mount Athos. “”What do you want from me, Your creature?’ He [God] said, ‘To love Me and to be afraid of Me.’ Again, I did not hesitate and asked, ‘How to love You and How to be afraid of You?’ ‘To love Me as your Father and to be afraid of Me as your Creator.'” This is part of a homily of Fr. Athanasios of Simonopetra [Mount Athos] at the Holy Church of St. Athanasios in Mpara, Trikala, Greece (March 27, 2023).
Video source: ΙΕΡΑ ΜΗΤΡΟΠΟΛΗ ΤΡΙΚΚΗΣ, ΓΑΡΔΙΚΙΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΠΥΛΗΣ
Watch the full interview here: https://youtu.be/FyiGNFdvMV8 (in Greek)
Fr. Athanasios of Simonopetra:
Once I went to see how he [elder Gelasius] was doing, he was living next to our cells [monastery of Simonopetra, Mt. Athos]. I would always visit to give him some antidoron [blessed bread], to see how he was doing and I saw him crying. It was morning, a beautiful day of May.
The birds were singing, you could see [Mount] Athos, the sun has just come out. He was crying.
“What happened to you elder?”
“I was moved. I was watching the nature. The swallows flying, the bees buzzing, the [smell] of the flowers ‘breaking’ my nose and I said, ‘My God, for whom did you create the world?’ A voice came from [Mount] Athos as fifty thunderbolts, ‘For you, my creature.’ I was so afraid, I thought I was going to die, but I didn’t hesitate [to ask again]: ‘What do you want from me, Your creature?’ He [God] said, ‘To love Me and to be afraid of Me.’
Again, I did not hesitate [and asked], ‘How to love You and How to be afraid of You?’
‘To love Me as your Father and to be afraid of Me as your Creator.'”
[elder Gelasius]: “Now that I heard the voice of God, am I not going to die?”
[Father Athanasios, speaker]: “No, you won’t. We still have life.”
As I told you every day, I would pass by [his cell]. At 87 years old, he had problems with his eyes.
[Elder Gelasius]: “Father Athanasios, my eyes are hurting, my eyes are hurting.” I told my elder we should give him some eye drops. He [Elder Gelasius] was laying on his bed and opposite to him [in his room] was a chest. He sees a monk standing next to the chest.
[Elder Gelasius]: “Who are you? I do not know you?”
“I am also a monk.”
“What’s your name?”
“We do not have a Kassianos in the monastery!”
“Do you remember being at the Holy Community [of Mt. Athos] on my feast day, on the 29th of February? And you said, ‘Fathers, this Saint is wronged, his feast is every 4 years. Let me treat you to something [for his feast] and let’s have his [St. Cassian] blessing.’ I have come to pay off that offering. Go down where they keep the lime and put some lime on your eyes.”
[Father Athanasios]: “Did you do it?”
[Elder Gelasius]: “Yes, I did.”
He had put lime on his eyes and instead of getting a burn, he was able to see. No medicines, no nothing. And he said, “You see, the Saints, because of a treat, they gave me my light that the doctors couldn’t.”
When his health reached final stages. He asked for a Holy Unction. We did one. [I forgot to mention]. An angel had appeared to him and started telling him, “85, 86, 87, 87, 87” and disappeared. He was 85 years old at the time. “What is this 87?” he asked me.
“Am I going to die now that I am 85 years old? He said 86 and stopped at 87. Am I going to die at 87? We will be patient.”
Indeed, when he turned 87, on the eve of the 1st of September.
Suddenly, he stood up, although he was not able [he was bedridden]. He came out [of his room] and found me.
He says, “Call the monk to bring me the talanton [percussion instrument, a wooden plank].”
“Why do you need it?” I asked.
He went around the church hitting the talanton while we were holding him.
We asked him, “Why did you do that?”
He said, “You will see in a bit. Go to church [now].”
We went to the church, he went back to his cell. And when we went to bring him his food. We found him seated on the bed under the icon of the elder. He had slept.
Just like the falling asleep of St. Ephraim when the monk hit the talanton and the monks were gathered. Likewise elder Gelasius.