Sunday, May 22, 2011

Archimandrite Vasileios of Iveron: Dangerous of Spiritual Life

I had the blessed fortune of meeting and dining at the same table with Archimandrite Vasileios of Iveron during the Patriarchal Visitation to Tarpon Springs. He is a man of true humility and affection whose source must be holy and sublime. Archimandrite Vasileios demonstrated a genuine interest in the care of our children. He was most pleasantly surprised to learn that our daughter Theophani was named for the iconographer of the monastery and seemed almost astonished to learn our son Stavronikitas was named for the monastery itself. In all his years he never met anyone with that name and upon his return to the Holy Mountain he sent the most beautiful books for Stavronikitas' edification.

By Archimandrite Vasileios of Iveron

The spiritual life is interesting because it is dangerous. At any moment the last can become first and the first last.

Great are not the noise-makers who raise themselves as spiritual leaders or prophets, to amaze and to asphyxiate the world. Great is the humble and "nonexistent", who have received the supplication of the Spirit and are the consolation of the world. Grace is enough for them. And this they emit perpetually with the radiance that endlessly feeds from the contrition of the heart and the feeling that they have polluted the land with their presence. For they themselves are a blessing for all creation while they live and though they may pass, because the Holy Spirit gives meaning and reason to their presence and absence.

On the other hand, once you believe that you are something in virtue or knowledge, then you lose everything and you become polluted, regardless of whether you - or others - think that you are a model of virtue and the renewal of spiritual life.

That which is possessed by the Saints are not human talents or qualities: wisdom, poetry or rhetoric. But all these they sanctified by offering them to God. And through them is manifested the Grace that comforts and deifies humanity.

From the book Apolytikion. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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