“It’s been long since I last saw such pure souls!”
In this very beautiful and inspiring testimony, Angeliki Stephou, a spiritual daughter of St. Porphyrios (+December 2, 1991), recalls her trip to Italy together with St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia and her parents. During this journey she witnessed an unexpected meeting of St. Porphyrios with the Catholic nuns of a remote convent.
Watch the entire video on St. Porphyrios’ monastery channel: Gus Tsin, 2019
My parents had travelled by road to Italy with grandpa [Saint Porphyrios].
My father used to travel a lot abroad, he was a civil engineer and he was attending various expos taking place abroad.
So, he told St. Porphyrios: “Father, we are going to Italy, do you want to come?”
St. Porphyrios was happy to go and my dad really loved driving and this is how my father, my mother and the Saint left for Italy.
After they entered Italy, the Saint tells them: “Turn here” while pointing to a mountain.
My father told him: “Grandpa there is no road there, where are we going …?”
“I am telling you, turn here”
And they went on.
They were climbing and climbing on some rough roads. My father was a really good and experienced driver and told him:
“Father, we go on and on but we are travelling in a wilderness …”
“Listen to me, blessed on, go on … I know”
“What do you know, we are going to get lost, it’s not easy …”
Anyway, despite all my father’s grumbling, they moved on and after they had climbed the mountain, on their way down, they came across a big monastery…
“I do not remember the place as I was a child and I cannot recall exactly [the details] …”
But they reached this monastery. My father says: “Is it here that you wanted to come?”
“Yes, it’s here, they are expecting me.”
“Who is expecting you father?” My dad was a clever man and had a sense of humor.”
“Do you have a secret date here?”
“Wait here with Efi, I have a job to do” said the Saint.
“Father, what are you talking about? This is a female monastery, nobody is allowed inside”
“Do as I tell you”.
The Saint gets off the car and moves to the door of the monastery. [The nuns] opened the door.
My father could not believe it.
Saint Porphyrios goes inside, and we lose sight of him.
As they did not allow my father or mother to enter as well …
Hours later, the Saint comes out of the monastery
“What have you been doing all this time, father? We were worried …” my father tells him.
The Saint was really happy and since I can imagine him happy, he was shining!
And tells my father:
“Do you know how [beautiful] souls live here?”
“The abbess … and the nuns … were waiting for me …”
I do not remember their number but they were a lot …
“And we said, we said a lot”
“You’ll see, I will make them orthodox!” the Saint told my father.
My father replied: “What are you talking about father, they are Catholic …”
“My child, they are pure souls, how long since I last saw such pure souls …”
My father and mother did not say anything.
They left, they found their way back or, [more accurately] St. Porphyrios found the way back for them and they continued …
Afterwards, my father would say:
“What could he possibly have said inside there …for so many hours … since he does not speak Italian …?”
“How is it possible that they understood one another?”
So, I suspect that [at some point] my father must have asked the Saint this question and the Saint did not give him an answer.
My father was a rationalist, one of positive sciences.
He was not just some guy; he was one of the best engineers in the country.
He has built so many things … roads, ports, airports …
They would invite him to America to get his opinion and in other places.
He was not just some random guy.
And I am saying this not to brag about my father.
But to make you understand that being really smart does not mean being able to always understand.
Without Grace nothing works!
And I am telling you this because living next to a Saint does not come with understanding things, you can only feel …
No matter how smart you are …
My father was a kidney sufferer.
For 25 years, he was on hemodialysis.
And before he got sick, “big names” of doctors were monitoring because he had problems with his heart, “top-names”.
Once, when we were headed for a monastery, all the children together in Malevi or Kranidi, I cannot recall …
I remember the Saint, all of a sudden, pushed my father on his hands while he was driving three times.
I was the noisy child of the family and was sitting on the back in the middle seat but I was always in front. He told him:
“John, go have your kidneys checked!”
All of a sudden, while he was driving.
My father replies:
“What happened father? Where did that come from out of nowhere?”
and he was laughing …
“Are you hearing what I am saying?”
and pushed him again.
“John, go have your kidneys checked!
“You do not have a problem with your heart, you have a problem with your kidneys”
My father laughs and says:
“Father, what are you talking about? You are out of your depth here!”
“I have the best doctors!”
He pushes him one more and says:
“John, listen to what I am telling you! Go have your kidneys checked before it’s too late!”
I remember this vividly.
Because St. Porphyrios’ voice was always sweet and slow.
Suddenly, he was talking in a clipped way.
That’s why I remember it!
My father laughed and did not take him seriously.
Months passed after this, maybe even a year, when he had found himself in Germany.
While there, he fainted, and they realized that he had no kidneys.
His whole life changed, but had he been obedient, even if he could not understand, …
High intelligence can be an obstacle sometimes for the man to approach God.
The way is not with “the mind” [pure intellect], it’s otherwise …