Saint Porphyrios of Kafsokalivia & Athens, Greece (+1991) & his wild birds




Saint Porphyrios

of Kafsokalivia & Athens, Greece (+1991)

& his wild birds

Saint Porphyrios was born Evangelos Bairaktaris in the village of Aghios Ioannis in the province of Karystia on the Greek island of Euboea (mod. Evia). The youngest of four, he left school after the first grade and worked in the town of Chalkida at a shop to make money for the family. He was a hard and obedient worker, and stayed there for a few years before moving to Piraeus on the mainland (it is Athens’ port) and working in a general store run by a relative.

Although he hardly knew how to read at the time, Elder Porphyrios had a copy of the Life of St John the Hut-Dweller which he read as a boy. St John inspired him. St John the Hut-Dweller was late fifth-century Constantinopolitan saint who secretly took up the monastic life at the famed monastery of the Acoimetae (Unsleeping Ones). After living for some years according to a very strict rule, St John was granted permission by his abbot to go life near his parents so as to cleanse his heart of earthly love for them. He then dwelled in a hut beside his family, identity unknown, for three years. He revealed himself to his mother on his deathbed.

Young Evangelos was inspired by St John the Hut-Dweller’s story and wanted nothing more than to become a monk. He tried to run away to Mt Athos, the Holy Mountain, to become a monk on a few occasions. When he was 12, he succeeded at his goal and entered the life of obedience to two very strict and severe elders. At the age of 14, he became a monk under the name Niketas, and at 16 he took his full vows.

During these early years of the monastic life, Elder Porphyrios was given no praise but many tasks. He spent much time alone on the mountain with no one but the birds. He learned the Psalms and the prayers by heart. And at age 19, he received a gift from the Holy Spirit of clear sight. When this gift came, he saw his elders approaching his position even though they were far away and around a corner. He knew what they were doing. Later in his life, Elder Porphyrios was able to use this gift of sight to counsel and care for Continue reading “Saint Porphyrios of Kafsokalivia & Athens, Greece (+1991) & his wild birds”

Heilige Gillis (Hl. Egidius) van Frankrijk, uit Athene, Griekenland (+721) ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* Dutch


Heilige Gillis (Hl. Egidius) van Frankrijk,

uit Athene, Griekenland (+721)

Heilige Gillis de Eremiet (ook Egidius) is een van de veertien heilige noodhelpers in de annalen van de Kerk. Het zou een Occitaanse eremiet-monnik zijn geweest die in 640 geboren werd in Athene en de naam Ægidius kreeg. Later een kluizenaarsbestaan in Septimanië, een Visigotische provincie in de buurt van Narbonne. Hij zou een klooster gesticht hebben in Saint-Gilles, een plaats ten westen van Arles en ten zuiden van Nîmes en er rond 720 of 724 gestorven zijn. Zijn graftombe werd een belangrijke bedevaartplaats.

Hij zou in de Provence verbleven hebben, waarna hij Rome bezocht, alvorens zich terug te trekken in een bos in Collias (ten noorden van Nîmes) bij de Gardon-rivier. Na een warm onthaal in de stad Arles zou hij zich teruggetrokken hebben als eremiet in de buurt van Saint-Gilles, ten westen van Arles, en er een klooster gesticht hebben.

Egidius zou tijdens zijn kluizenaarschap in gezelschap hebben verkeerd van een hinde, die hem van melk voorzag. De Wisigotische koning Wamba (of zijn opvolger Flavius) hield eens een jachtpartij, waarop de hinde naar de kluis van haar kameraad vluchtte, waar Wamba Egidius, getroffen door een pijl van één de jagers, ontmoette en ontroerd was door de vriendschap van Egidius en het hertje. Hij bood een plaats aan om een abdij te stichten, waarvan Egidius abt werd.

Zijn naamdag wordt gevierd op 1 september.

Hammi: The Norwegian Forest Cat – Our pets are gifts from God – Abbot Tryphon, WA, USA



Hammi: The Norwegian Forest Cat

Our pets are gifts from God


Hammi: The Norwegian Forest Cat



Every evening I try to spend an hour or so in the library, sitting in front of the fire place. Our beloved Norwegian Forest Cat, Hammi, sleeps in the library/community room every night. Hammi is most happy when the entire monastic brotherhood is gathered together with him. He’s an important member of our community, loved by all of us, and is the only cat I know who has his own facebook fan page, started by a woman who’d met him on a pilgrimage to the monastery (if my memory be correct).

I first met Hammi, a large male cat, as I was walking between our old trailer house (now gone) and my cell, some seventeen years ago. We startled one another, but as I reached down with extended hand, he came to me. When I picked him up he began purring immediately, so I opened a can of salmon, and he never left. A month after his arrival we Continue reading “Hammi: The Norwegian Forest Cat – Our pets are gifts from God – Abbot Tryphon, WA, USA”

Saint Kieran of Saighir, Ireland (+530) – March 5


Saint Kieran of Saighir, Ireland (+530)

March 5



St. Kieran (Ciaran) of Saighir, or St. Kieran the Elder, is also called “the first-born of the Irish saints”. He was born in the fifth century in the Irish kingdom of Ossory and was related to the royal family. His father Luaigne was from Ossory, and his mother Liadan came from Cork. When Liadan was pregnant, she had a dream that a star fell from the sky and rested on her, which was understood as a sign that her infant would have a special role in the history of the Irish Church. Everybody saw brightness and holiness in little Kieran and he was loved by all. He was very kind, humble, inquisitive, loved animals, but first of all wanted to be closer to God. Various traditions connect him with different saints, which is not always chronologically correct, so the connection would have been spiritual, not physical.

Kieran may have been a disciple of St. Finian of Clonard under whom he may have studied. In his youth Kieran spent some time in continental Europe where he was ordained a priest. He probably studied in Gaul (at Tours) and Rome. On his return to Ireland, according to tradition, St. Patrick, the enlightener of the emerald isle, consecrated him the first Bishop of Ossory, where he preached the Gospels and has been venerated from time immemorial. Later the saint settled in the forests of the kingdom of Ossory where he lived in a tiny cell as a true anchorite in Saighir near the Slieve Bloom mountains. According to his biographer, St. Patrick gave him a bell saying that this bell would only ring on the spot where by the will of God Kieran would eventually found a great spiritual center—and this spot was Saighir.

By a spring, the ascetic built a cell of wattle and thin branches smeared with mud, and the roof was of grass and leaves. His diet consisted only of herbs and Continue reading “Saint Kieran of Saighir, Ireland (+530) – March 5”

Saint Desle (Deicola / Deicolus), d’Irlande et de France (+625) – 18 janvier ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* French




Saint Deicola / Deicolus




Saint Desle (Deicola / Deicolus),

d’Irlande et de France (+625)

18 janvier

La vie de saint Desle (Deicola / Deicolus) est connue par un écrit anonyme de la fin du ixe siècle, la Vita Deicola.

Né en Irlande à une date inconnue, il serait le frère de saint Gall. Il entra tout jeune à l’abbaye de Bangor et vécut attaché à la spiritualité de saint Colomban. Il suivit ce dernier au monastère de Luxeuil où il passa sa vie de 590 à 610.

Au début de l’année 610, à l’instigation du roi Thierry et de Brunehilde, les moines de Luxeuil durent s’exiler et prirent le chemin de Besançon. Sur la route, saint Desle, épuisé, dut laisser partir ses compagnons.

La “Vita Deicola” raconte qu’arrivé ainsi dans la forêt de Darney, il fit jaillir une source en frappant la terre de son bâton et rencontra ensuite un berger qui le conduisit vers une chapelle dédiée à saint Martin, près de laquelle il construisit une cabane.

Plus tard, ayant recouvré la santé, saint Desle partit fonder un nouveau monastère, près de Lure, encouragé par Clotaire II qui lui offrit un vaste domaine. Là, il reprit la règle de Luxeuil, en y apportant quelques adoucissements, se rapprochant de la règle de saint Benoît qui commençait à s’étendre en Occident. Saint Desle entreprit alors un voyage vers Rome afin d’aller faire approuver sa règle par le pape. Il mourut en 625.

Saint Desle est considéré comme un saint guérisseur des maladies des petits enfants, mais aussi comme un protecteur du bétail.

San Deicolo di Irlanda e la Francia (+625) – 18 gennaio ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* Italian




San Deicolo




San Deicolo di Irlanda e la Francia (+625)

18 gennaio

San Deicolo, in francese Deisle o Desle, in gaelico Dichuil o Dichul (Leinster, 530 circa – Lure, 18 gennaio 625), fu un monaco irlandese, fondatore ed abate di abbazie in Francia.

Discepolo di Colombano di Bobbio, partì con lui nel 576 dall’Irlanda per la Gallia, dove fondarono la grande abbazia di Luxeuil nei Vosgi. Quando nel 610 San Colombano fu esiliato in Italia da Teodorico II, San Deicolo fondò l’abbazia di Lure, arricchita e dotata di ogni genere di beni ad essa necessari dal re merovingio Clotario II, che aveva riconosciuto la qualità spirituali di Deicolo.

A Lure il monaco irlandese trascorse il resto della sua vita sino alla morte, avvenuta verso l’anno 625.

Deicolo era noto per i numerosi miracoli compiuti in vita ed in morte, attribuitigli da una biografia risalente al X secolo, scritta da un monaco di Lure.

Father Cleopa Ilie of Romania (+1998) & the birds in the Divine Liturgy






Father Cleopa Ilie of Romania is a Saint of our days who died in December 2, 1998.

In May of 1948, on the feast of Ss. Constantine and Helen, Father Cleopa delivered a homily in which he said, “May God grant that our own rulers might become as the Holy King and Queen were, that the Church might be able to also commemorate them unto the ages.” The next day the state police took him to prison, leaving him in a bedless cell without bread or water for five days. After being released Father Cleopa, upon good counsel, fled to the mountains of Sihastria, where he lived in a in a hut mostly underground. There the elder prayed night and day seeking the help of God and the Theotokos.

During this time the elder was visited by the grace of God in the following way. Fr. Cleopa told his disciples that when he was building his hut, birds would come and sit on his head. The first time he served Liturgy on a stump in front of his hut, as he was communing the Holy Mysteries, a flock of birds came and gathered, such as he had never seen before. As he gazed upon them in astonishment, he noticed that each one had the sign of the Cross marked on it forehead.

Another time, after the preparation for Liturgy and having read all the prayers, he set the Antimension on the tree stump and began the Liturgy with the exclamation, “Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages!” Again the birds appeared, and as they perched in the branch of the tree they began to sing in beautiful and harmonic voices. Fr. Cleopa asked himself, “What could this be?” And an unseen voice whispered to him, “These are your chanters on the cliros.” These signs and others encouraged the Elder immensely during his time of exile.

Another time, he was serving the Divine Liturgy when he was living as a recluse and he had no choir. As he approached the time for the Cherubic Hymn, he heard a voice behind him tell him that he has his choir. Elder Cleopa looked around and birds with crosses on their heads descended and started singing the Cherubic Hymn, and then vanished when the Liturgy was over.