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Testimonies and Experiences


An anthology of Elder Porphyrios' conversations with his spiritual children




An anthology of some of Elder Porphyrios' axiomatic conversations with his spiritual children from Greece and Cyprus.

They are presented just as they themselves recorded them for this book.

We present them in full, bearing in mind St. Isaac the Syrian's saying "Brevity (of the humble) is like the infinite words of the wise"


"You're always talking about my ego, Elder."

"Yes, because not one trace of egotism should remain in us, not a trace, do you hear?"


"Acquire humility, as much as you can, humility."

"It's difficult in the world we live in, Elder. How can I acquire it?"

"By loving Christ more."


"I would like to make my parents believe in God as much as I do, Elder, because they are very lukewarm in their faith. But it is already too late since they are old and at the end of their lives."

"It is not late at all. Not at all, that age is the most suitable."


"I like to go to the movies, the theater, but some of my friends told me that a good Christian has no need for those things and he shouldn't go there. What do you say about it, Elder?"

"You may go, if you like, it is not bad. The important thing is that you should not go to see something which will satisfy certain carnal desires of yours."


"Elder what can we do about our child who is filled with fears and insecurities?"

"You are completely responsible for this. You created these problems from his mother's womb because of the bad relations between you and your wife.  Won't all those emotional wounds affect the child throughout his life?"


"Elder, I'm afraid of getting married in case I chance upon some ill-natured woman."

"An ill-natured wife might be your chance to enter paradise."


"Elder, must I constantly help people in need of financial assistance all the time? I'm telling you this because, as you know, I don't have great financial ease."

"Do that too, when you can. However help those around you much more by speaking to them, by listening when they want to talk about their problems, or express their pain. Keep them company so that they won't feel alone."


The Elder's advice is not directed to everyone but was given to a particular individual under specific circumstances. It is wrong of us to come to the conclusion the Elder Porphyrios gave the same advice to everybody, in any case, he did not allow this particular person to see all plays and films unchecked. If we study the matter carefully we will see that very few films are free from the inclination to satisfy certain carnal desires.


"Elder, my daughter is living a dissolute life, how can I save her?"

"Only with your own holiness. A parent's holiness saves their children."


"How can I stop smoking? I tried many times but I didn't manage it."

"Every time you have the desire to smoke, say 'Lord, have mercy on me.' Prayer to Christ is the solution to each and every one of our problems. Do you see that even this parrot, this beautiful bird that I keep here in my room, has learned to say, 'Lord have mercy on me.'"


"Elder, I trust in dreams a lot. When I've had a dream at night that I think is a bad omen, I'm turned upside down for the whole of the following day, because I'm afraid that something bad will happen to me. For example, last night I saw fish in my sleep."

"Don't attach any importance to dreams. Now go to the fish market. Buy some fish and fry it for breakfast. This is what you should always do with your dreams."


"I confessed a new sin to my spiritual father, Elder, but I want to tell you about it, too."

"If you said it to your spiritual father, there's no need to say it to me as well. Since you confessed and repented, you received absolution."


"Elder, you speak to this friend of mine on the phone much more and for much longer than you speak to me lately."

"Were you afraid that I love her more than I love you?"

"Elder, you read my mind again. Can I tell you something else? I was also a bit jealous. Forgive me."


"Your children should not hear you arguing even once, not even if you just raise the tone of your voices to one another."

"That's not possible, Elder!"

"But of course it's possible. Just as I'm telling you it is, not even once."


"Elder, do you understand what a great sin I committed?

"You are good and you will overcome it."

"But, Elder, my sin is very serious."

"Don't despair. You have a good soul and God, who sees it, will forgive you and help you."


"You haven't spoken to me much lately, Elder, and I worry about bothering you and asking you about my problems."

"You, my child, have known me for many years. You know by now that I can help you more with my prayers rather than with my words."


"My spiritual father is absent and I want your blessing Elder, so that I can take communion tomorrow."

"Do you hate anyone?" "No, Elder."

"Good. Go and receive communion."


" Now I'm at the start of my pregnancy and all my friends tell me to do a pre-natal examination to determine whether or not I will give birth to a retarded child or a child with some other terrible affliction."

"And afterwards what will you do? Have an abortion? If you do such a thing, never again ask for my advice because I will have nothing more to say to you."


"I frequently get depressed, Elder."

"Why do you stay closed up in your house all the time?"

 "Where can I go?"

"Go on trips, go to the mountain. Those things are very good."


"Elder, I tremble at the moment when I will need to face the death of one of my relatives."

"It is your insecurity and nothing else."


"I have studied much, as you know, Elder. Should I also study theology?"

"It's not necessary. It is quite enough to study the Holy Scriptures and the Fathers. You will find everything there."


"Elder, tell me something about the spiritual life."

"Whoever does not repent will be lost."

"That's a hard saying, Elder."

"I'll say it to you once again, whoever does not repent will be lost."




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Article published in English on: 3-4-2009.

Last Update: 3-4-2009.