Thursday, November 13, 2008

Talking with Abbot Ephraim

After finally leaving the small Romanian cell, we continued down the road to our original destination, the Romanian skete of Kolitsou. When we arrived, a Romanian monk (who spoke very good Greek) led us into the small church to venerate the icons, and then treated us to the traditional water, Turkish delight, and raki. The elder of the skete, Fr. Dionysios, then sat down to talk with us for a few minutes. He was the disciple of the recently reposed Fr. Dionysios, whom many regard as a saint. His grave is in the background of the top photo.

Fr. Dionysios told us that they have 8 monks currently living at the skete. He gave us some books about the skete that had been translated into Greek and then, as it turned out, a couple Romanian visitors were heading out toward Vatopaidi with the skete's vehicle, and we were offered a ride. As the time was now getting quite close to time for Vespers, we gratefully accepted.

Above is another photo of Vatopaidi, as we returned.

Above is a photo of Michael and Paris walking into the entrance of the monastery. The red building you see to the left of the photo, covered with scaffolding, was where we stayed. The window to our room was the second from the left.

Anyway, after Vespers and the meal, we had a chance to speak for a few minutes with the abbot, Elder Ephraim, as he came out of the refectory. As soon as he saw Paris, you could tell that something clicked. He started speaking with him in a low voice, and then after a minute, pulled him off to the side by himself. Afterward, Paris was clearly moved by the experience. Although he didn't tell us what was said, he was clearly very impressed and says only that he believes the abbot is clairovoyant.

After Small Compline, we spoke with a young American from St. Louis who was staying at the monastery for a couple months. We then slowly headed to bed. Photographs inside the monastery are generally prohibited, so when I spoke to the elder, I asked and received his blessing to take some photos inside the monastery. The one above is one I took the next day, Monday morning.

But more on that tomorrow...

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