The Monk Philotheos of Athos
Commemorated on October 21
The Monk Philotheos of Athos was a native of Elateia. Fearing the Turks, his parents moved away to Chrysopolis in Macedonia, where soon his father died. The child Philotheos together with his brother, snatched by the Turks and thrown into prison, were delivered in a miraculous manner by the Mother of God Herself. She appeared to the children in the image of their mother and led them to the monastery of the MostHoly Mother of God in the city of Neapolis in Asia Minor. At this monastery the brothers accepted monastic tonsure and progressing through the obediences assigned by the hegumen they attained the position of ecclesiarchs (church key-holders). Meanwhile the mother of Philotheos, Eudocia, through mysterious guidance of Divine Providence, had herself settled into a women's monastery in this selfsame city, and for many years knew absolutely nothing about the fate of her children. During the time of a temple feastday, being together with several other nuns at the men's monastery, Eudocia recognised her sons. To her question as to how they chanced to be there, they answered: "Thou thyself best dost know, for did not thou, in freeing us from the Turks, lead us hither?" And thus Eudocia became convinced of the graced intercession of the Mother of God, in prayers to Whom she alone had found consolation. At this joyous encounter of the mother and children gathered round all the brethren, and having learned about the miraculous event, all glorified the Lord. Upon the repose of his mother, the Monk Philotheos set off to the Holy Mountain, where at first he entered in with the brethren of the Dionysiatikos monastery, and then withdrew into complete solitude. Devoting himself to deeds of prayer, the Monk Philotheos attained high spiritual perfection and was vouchsafed the gift of perspicacity. At the age of eighty-four the monk peacefully expired to the Lord, having bid his students not to bury his body, but rather to cast it dishonourably into the forest for devouring by beasts and birds. His students fulfilled the wish of their monastic elder, but the Lord glorified he relics of the saint with a wondrous radiance, after which his relics were returned to the monastery.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.