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.
(edited by Stelios Koukos)
Archimandrite Avgoustinos Katsambiris had repeatedly asked the Elder (Saint Païsios the Athonite) to pray that the newly-revealed Saint Vlasios, from Sklavaina, would appear to him. The archimandrite wanted to know what Saint Vlasios looked like, so that he could paint an icon of him.
It was 21 January, 1980, the Sunday of the Prodigal Son, going on to Monday. While the Elder was praying in his kelli, with the komboskini, he saw an unknown saint appear before him, bathed in light and wearing a monastic mantle.
Next to him, on the wall of his kelli, above the wood-stove, there were the remains of a monastery. The Elder felt indescribable joy and exultation and wondered who the saint was. Then he heard a voice coming from inside the chapel, saying: ‘It’s Saint Vlasios from Sklavaina’.
Out of gratitude, and in order to thank the saint for the honor he’d paid him, Elder Païsios went to Sklavaina and venerated the grace-filled relics of the saint. In this way, he returned the visit, in a manner of speaking.
Indeed, the Elder was able to point out from a distance the site where the saint’s monastery had formerly been built, since it was night and he didn’t have time go there.
Mr. Apostolos Papachristou relates: ‘On 20 May 1980, the Elder came to my home in Agrinio, with the aim of going on to Sklavaina to venerate the holy relics of Saint Vlasios there, after the saint had appeared to him in his kelli. He stayed the night with us and, although we’d put fresh sheets on the bed, he left them completely untouched. When he arrived in Sklavaina, he made full-length prostrations to the saint and taught everyone about him’.
The Elder then ordered an icon of Saint Vlasios from the Monastery of the Holy Trinity in Koropi, in Attica, after having described the saints features to the nun who was the iconographer. When he received the icon, he was well pleased, because it rendered the saint exactly as he was. ‘It seems the nuns was devout and executed her task with prayer and fasting’, he said.
Every year, he honored the memory of Saint Vlasios with a solitary vigil in his kelli. He celebrated him not on 11 February, which was the accepted date, but on 19 December, the anniversary of his martyrdom.
An excerpt from the book by Hieromonk Isaak, «Βίος Γέροντος Παϊσίου του Αγιορείτου», The Holy Mountain, 2004, pp. 286-287.