Greetings from Greece

Unfortunately I do not have my laptop with me, neither do I have wifi at the moment so I am unable to post any pictures yet.  That will likely have to wait until I return to Nepal. Fortunately my dear friend, George Karampatakis allows me to use his computer while I stay in his family’s home, which after so many years of visits here has become “my home” in Greece.

I’ve just returned to Thessaloniki after 2 weeks at Vatopaidi monastery.  What a blessing, not only to be back at that wonderful monastery, but simply to be in an Orthodox temple, worshiping with my fellow Orthodox believers.  It has been far too long.  I was blessed to concelebrate the liturgy with Abbot Ephraim and the hieromonks of the monastery one Sunday.  During the small entrance, each of the priests carries one of the reliquaries of the monastery.  With wonder I stared down at the relic in my hands, the skull of St. John Chrysostomos.  Amazingly the ear into which his disciple beheld St. Paul whispering to St. John as he wrote his commentaries remains incorrupt over 1600 years later.

Let me share what the Vatopaidi Fathers refer to as “a small miracle.”  Every year on the eve of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, which we just celebrated on Mt. Athos, a small bowl of water mixed with flour is placed under the large cross in the entry of the main monastery church.  It remains there overnight and at the conclusion of the Festal liturgy a monk retrieves the bowl.  Several of us gathered to see what always happens by the conclusion of the liturgy.  One clearly sees the yeast which has formed on top of the thick mixture of just flour and water.  The appearance of yeast can only be explained by the grace of God.  This then becomes the starter for all bread that is baked in the monastery kitchen for the following year until the miracle is repeated during the next Feast of the Cross.  So in a way, every time we eat a piece of the monastery bread, we are participating in a small miracle.  Thanks be to God!

Several people with strong interest in mission work in Nepal learned that I was coming to the monastery and so made a point of remaining longer than intended so that we could meet together.  It was a great encouragement to me to meet people, previously unknown to me, who pray for me and for Nepal every day.  One of the monastery fathers whom I know well, Fr. Charalambos, has prayed every day for me since my first visit to Nepal in 2006. He was a treasure trove of contacts, iconographic information, and much else.  May God bless him for all he has done and is doing to help me in my work.

Now I await Fr. Matthew Harrington’s arrival on Thursday.  I will show him around Thessaloniki and then take him out to Mt. Athos to some of the monasteries.  It has been years since his last (and first) visit here when he was a layman and newly converted to Orthodoxy.  After many years in the Church and now a priest, he will see things with new eyes.

I look forward to posting pictures of my stay here once I return to Nepal.  Please pray for me as I travel.  May God bless all of you who are contributing your prayers and finances to this ministry. – Fr. S.

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5 Responses to Greetings from Greece

  1. fr.silouan says:

    Father Seraphim, what a great blessing, to have carried the skull of Saint John. You are a blessed man. I was very happy to see your Presbytera and your sister at church on Sunday. It sounds as though she has been traveling almost non-stop since her return from Nepal. When you do return to the states, please try to schedule a visit with Saint Lawrence and share your story with the us. fr.silouan

  2. elizabeth s. says:

    Fr Bless, What an encouragement to hear there are those who have it in their hearts to follow you there. I will rejoice the day the first feet touch the ground. Thank God for Fr. Charalambos’ faithfulness in prayer these many years. May each of your days in Greece be a blessed refilling of your spiritual lamp.
    elizabeth

  3. Phortini Joyce says:

    Father Bless, Wonderful to hear how you are doing in Greece! And you are worshiping in “the splendor of His holiness” may you capture much of it to take back with you to Nepal. More prayers coming your way. Greet your “Priest Friend” when he arrives–from us. In Christ, Phoetini

  4. fr. radu from cluj says:

    father blass!
    i am vary glad about your travel in grecee and athos. a frind of my who is also a prist from cluj, romania, also he has the oportunity 2 years before to care to great antrance the relikves of St. John Chrisosotom, after he returned home he star a new paroshie in CLuj in the honor of St. John Chrisostom.
    i also i was last week in pelgirnage to a place of Vergin Marry and all the blassings which i recived there from Her, i also sent to u and your mission in Nepal. i realised the world is hungry for God and salvation!

  5. Thomas says:

    Hi Fr. Seraphim,
    I was just telling my wife about how, when I was 5-6 you explained how orthodoxy is the one true faith; how it has remained unchanged since the time of Christ. You gave me an icon of St. Panteliemon and also a hand carved cross from the monks of Mt. Athos. I was hoping to see you in Az, but the monks there told me I missed you by several months. May God bless your mission in Nepal. How is your wonderful family doing?
    -Thomas

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