Saint Porfyrios Kavsokalyvitis: a modern-day Patro-Kosmas Aitolos

Saint Porfyrios Kavsokalyvitis: a modern-day Patro-Kosmas Aitolos


Professor Fr. Vasilios Kalliakmanis of the Theological School of the University of Thessaloniki answers the question ‘Are there any people like Patro-Kosmas today? The talk was given at a conference to mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of Saint Kosmas Aitolos in 1714.

I think lots of things are happening, but there’s so much noise that people can’t hear. If the words of wise and spiritual people are to be heard, there’ll have to less noise in general. And I’m afraid we’ve become part of this social noise. That’s the first thing. 

About a month, a month and a half ago, Elder Porfyrios Kavsokalyvitis was canonized. He’d lived his saintly life near Omonia Square, at the hospital, right next to some very shady places. Nothing stopped him. Let me tell you two incidents from his life, since it’s recent. Listen to how he interacted with the people of his time. He was illiterate. I’m not saying that. He said it himself. He said ‘I was a dunce, as far as education’s concerned’. He says as much in the introduction to his book. Please read it and you’ll see. Just listen and see how he dealt with circumstances as he found them once. He said we should benefit from everything, that we should profit from everything. So, he went into an archaeological museum. He saw an archaeologist there with a group she was showing around. The archaeologist was saying to the group: ‘I can’t stand priests’. He stayed calm. He said nothing and listened to what was going on. Soon after she said, ‘But there’s something different about him’. This encouraged him to say ‘Mind if I join you?’ ‘Certainly’ the archaeologist said. And so the old fellow followed the guided tour of the Archaeological Museum in Athens. In the middle of Athens, next to Omonia Square where he was living his saintly life. The archaeologist was saying her piece, and they stopped in front of a statue of Zeus. He was holding a thunderbolt in his hand, all right? She was still doing her thing. Then she said ‘I’ll needle the priest a bit here. Father, what do you have to say about this, then? Isn’t it a work of art?’ And Elder Porfyrios answered, ‘I don’t know what to say. I don’t know much about things like this, but the way I see it, Zeus’ face is serene and tranquil“.





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OCN has partnered with Pemptousia. A Contemporary post-modern man does not understand what man is.  Through its presence in the internet world, Pemptousia, with its spirit of respect for beauty that characterizes it, wishes to contribute to the presentation of a better meaning of life for man, to the search for the ontological dimension of man, and to the awareness of the unfathomable mystery of man who is always in Christ in the process of becoming, of man who is in the image of divine beauty. And the beauty of man springs from the beauty of the Triune God. In the end, “beauty will save the world”.

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Pemptousia and OCN have entered a strategic partnership to bring Orthodoxy Worldwide. Greek philosophers from Ionia considered held that there were four elements or essences (ousies) in nature: earth, water, fire and air. Aristotle added ether to this foursome, which would make it the fifth (pempto) essence, pemptousia, or quintessence. The incarnation of God the Word found fertile ground in man’s proclivity to beauty, to goodness, to truth and to the eternal. Orthodoxy has not functioned as some religion or sect. It was not the movement of the human spirit towards God but the revelation of the true God, Jesus Christ, to man. A basic precept of Orthodoxy is that of the person ­– the personhood of God and of man. Orthodoxy is not a religious philosophy or way of thinking but revelation and life standing on the foundations of divine experience; it is the transcendence of the created and the intimacy of the Uncreated. Orthodox theology is drawn to genuine beauty; it is the theology of the One “fairer than the sons of men”. So in "Pemptousia", we just want to declare this "fifth essence", the divine beaut in our life. Please note, not all Pemptousia articles have bylines. If the author is known, he or she is listed in the article above.