Friday, June 25, 2010

Spiritual Elders - Teachers I follow

                                
Fr Zacharias Zacharou Source
   Fr Zacharias is a priest-monk who is a disciple of Elder Sophrony of
Essex. He resides at the Monastery of St John the Baptist, near
Maldon Essex, England, where he has lived with Elder Sophrony
and the brotherhood for many years. A few years ago I had the
blessing of visiting the monastery and met him personally.
I had been writing to him before then and he graciously allowed me
to visit the monastery in Essex and stay there for a few days.
During this time I did confession with Fr.Zacharias and just followed
the cycle of services of the monastery. Fr.Zacharias brought out a
relic of St Silouan so I could venerate it and this was the highlight of
my visit. It was also wonderful to go in the crypt of the monastery
where Elder Sophrony is buried. It is a very inviting and
peaceful place where one can sit down and pray, ever so close to
Elder Sophrony who is, I'm sure, a saint of our Orthodox Church.
Fr Zacharias books are mentioned in this blog. They, along with Fr.
Sophrony's books, are my preferred reading material because these
books are filled with words of life, real Orthodox spiritual experience
and not the cold and vain speculation of philosophers and would be
theologians.
Elder Ephraim of St Anthony's MonasterySource
Elder Ephraim is the founder of several monasteries in the USA. He is
an Athonite priest-monk with decades of experience as an Abbott and
spiritual father. I have done confession with him and have had the
blessing of visiting his monastery in Florence, AZ frequently. It never
ceases to amaze me, how meek, humble and holy he is. When I talked
to him I knew that he knew everything about me, his words to me
assured me of this fact. And yet, I was and am always treated with
great dignity and kindness. It is hard to describe the workings of the
Holy Spirit in one's heart, but I know that when I visit St Anthony and
allow myself to be embraced by the silence and prayers of the
monastery, my heart is enriched.
 
Abbott Paisios of St Anthony's Monastery(next to the bishop)Source
Abbott Paisios is my father confessor when I visit St Anthony.
He is a wise and humble person whose advice I seek at every
opportunity I get. He is a great father and exemplary Athonite
priest-monk and we are blessed to have him here with us in
the U.S.

Archimandrite Sophrony Sakharov Source
I never had the privilege of meeting Fr Sophrony while he was alive.
When I visited St John's Monastery in Essex, I venerated his tomb,
and spent long periods of time praying in the crypt of the monastery.
Fr Nicholas Sakharov was very kind to show me Elder Sophrony's
house, the kitchen, bedroom and the old typewriter which he used
to write his books. I sat on Elder Sophrony's chair and venerated
his icons (painted by him). Fr Simeon of blessed memory showed
me the elder's studio. These are some of my most treasured
memories. I read Orthodox Patristics constantly. I also like to read
modern Orthodox writers and often listen to various Orthodox
speakers. No one can answer my questions like Elder Sophrony
does. He never fails to have the right word to respond to the deepest
longing of my heart. My connection to the spiritual line of Elder
Sophrony is admittedly very humble. I approach the spiritual
table of Fr Sophrony from afar as an observer and the few
crumbs of spiritual food I have been able to receive are
reason enough for me to rejoice and be thankful.  I already
venerate Elder Sophrony as a saint and I ask for his intercession
every day. May we all have his blessing.


Father John S. Romanides Source

Father John Romanides is the theologian of the 20th c. that
is the most faithful to the Theology of the Church Fathers.
I read him with a sense of awe and reverence.

"John Savvas Romanides (1928–2001) was a Greek
Orthodox priest, author and professor who, for a long time,
represented the Greek Church to the World Council of
Churches. He was born in Piraeus, Greece, on 2 March 1928
but his parents emigrated to the United States when he was
only two months old. He grew up in Manhattan. A graduate
of the Hellenic College, Brookline, Massachusetts, and of
the Yale Divinity School, he received his Ph. D. from the
University of Athens.



From 1956 to 1965 he was Professor of Dogmatic Theology
at the Holy Cross Theological School in Brookline,
Massachusetts. In 1968 he was appointed as tenured
Professor of Dogmatic Theology at the University of
Thessaloniki, Greece, a position he held until his retirement
in 1982. His latest position was Professor of Theology at
Balamand Theological School, in Lebanon. Romanides died
in Athens, Greece in 2001."

Fr John's works are available online here

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