Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries Ecumenism


"The Orthodox spirit is the true one"

(Selected conversations between the Elder Porphyrios and his visitors)

 A publication by the Holy Convent “The Transfiguration of the Saviour”




The blessed Elder Porphyrios (1906-1991) did not deliver public sermons and homilies. However, he did have innumerable conversations and discussions with his spiritual children and his visitors.  In them, he would teach the truths of our faith and the in-Christ way of life, in the manner befitting the needs, the spiritual state and the potentials of each of his interlocutors.  Of course that did not involve any adaptation of the teaching, but merely a modification of the method utilized – in accordance with the words of the Lord: «I have many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them yet.» (John 16:12) and of the Apostle:  «I have fed you with milk, and not with solid sustenance, for you were not able yet, but neither are you yet able. » (1 Cor.3:2)

These personal lessons, the way they were preserved in the memories and sometimes in the notes of his interlocutors, have begun to be collected and printed in books, such as the ones we have already published (Cl.Ioannides “The Elder Porphyrios – Testimonies and Experiences”, 4th ed. 1994 and An.Tzavaras “Remembrances from the Elder Porphyrios” 5th ed. 1994) and other ones that we are preparing for publication, one of which we are hoping will come into circulation in February of 1995 (Con. YannitsiotisNear the Elder Porphyrios a spiritual child remembers.

Apart from his teachings that have been preserved in memories or in notes, there are several which have been preserved as audio recordings.  These recordings were made by his interlocutors or a person who was also present at the time, and many of them have been delivered to us, per the wishes of the blessed Elder Porphyrios, who in his handwritten Will had decided that our Hermitage was to be responsible for everything that pertained to him, and as such, for the overview, the possibility of publishing and the related responsibility for the circulation -or not- of these conversations of his, depending on their content.

Some of those recorded conversations are of a general interest and as such are useful and beneficial, which is why, after being pressured by a large number of Christians, we began to publish them in books accompanied by audio tapes.  When publishing these tapes, we removed the voice of the Elder’s interlocutors as it might possibly reveal the identity of the speaker – something that for various reasons is not adviseable – at least for now.

We have already published the following books:  “Christ is everything” and “Sweetest Jesus” and are now circulating the book “The Orthodox spirit is the true one”, along with the related tapes. The recording that accompanies this book contains two of the Elder’s conversations. The first was with certain youngsters who had been attracted to oriental religions.  The second one was with certain Holy Mountain fathers who had been drawn to our Christ.  In the first conversation, which took place in September 1989, the Elder commenced with the reciting of the Creed, thus categorically and undeniably stating that he is an Orthodox Christian and that he has nothing to do with other religions and teachings, of which several followers respected him as a teacher.  The visitors with whom the conversation took place are the kind that respected and loved the Elder very much, and who continue to love him.  But, to avoid giving them the impression that his receiving them with love (the way he received everyone, for that matter), was also his admission of their convictions or even their quests, he explained very clearly that only “the Orthodox spirit is the correct one” and that “all the other spirits are spirits of deception”.

During that conversation, the Elder expounds several important truths of our faith, which are useful to all of us.


It is our hope that this publication will be greatly beneficial and we ask for your prayers that the Lord will condescend to the continuation of this endeavour, if it is in accordance with His holy Will.




The Orthodox spirit is the true one


First conversation

- Elder: I believe in one God, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages; Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten, not created, of one essence with the Father through Whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried; And He rose on the third day, according to the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father; And He will come again with glory to judge the living and dead. His kingdom shall have no end….

He is the One we believe in. So, in our faith, it says that He is the Founder of the Orthodox faith and that all other religions are not the same as this one.  There is only one religion: The Orthodox Christian faith, and that Orthodox spirit is the true one.  All the other spirits are spirits of deception and their teachings are all jumbled.

Here, the God of the Orthodox faith is indeed God, Whom, even if we call “Love” the way the Scripture says, it is the same thing.  God is calledLove”.  And whoever has love, is of God.  Well, there are many who saySo, God is love, you poor thing? Is that how God is?”  But God IS love. However, He is not ONLY love; He is also righteous.  He is righteous; He  would not elevate a robber, a thief, who lives off others to a higher spiritual state…

You might askbut, if He is love?”  Well, that is our faith. And that is how it should be, if we are to confess God’s attributes, the way they are.

These are the qualities of the Divine.  But we don’t know: God may very well put everyone in Paradise - even all those of the other religions.  But that isn’t written in our papers.  And neither should we believe it - even if God can accept all of them as His children.  Are you listening?

- Visitor:  Yes, Elder, of course.

- Elder: That’s what we believe.  But – you may say – why can’t we all say that we’re His children? No We cant say that Thats how we should preserve it inside us. It’s another thing altogether, what God will do during the Second Coming.  We must not presume it inside us from now, and place everything at the same level. We must keep it that way inside us. But you may sayits only human”… Well, that’s how we understand it and that’s how the Scripture presents it – how we should understand it.  How it will actually be, God doesn’t tell us. No-one can understand how God is.

- Visitor:  Yes, Elder.

- Elder:  Anyway, that’s how I believe that things are (...) If you confuse me, what will become of me?

- Visitor: Elder, is it ever possible for us to confuse you?

- Elder:  There are the faithful. They will ask here and there, and they will ask “what are those youngsters? – There they are – up there; they gave us their phone numbers….. Oh dear, no – they are involved with gurus and yogists and things, and they preach those things! And the Elder said so and so…  Ah, so they are the Elders children!.” Oh my God!!

- Visitor: I know what you mean, Elder.   Of course not!

- Elder:  Yes, of course you know!  How I wish that you do truly know… And it is for that reason, because I am and Elder, that I must be honest.  I have so many people who contact me… You have no idea… everybody, everybody knows my phone number – you should come and see: they ring me from all the kingdoms of the world… South Africa, Capetown, Johannesburg, America, Canada, I don’t know where else…. from all over the world… can you imagine, if there were rumors that I have a “free spirit” and that I acknowledge all religions?  Well, I don’t. Regardless who tells me – even if an angel comes and tells me – that “the way so-and-so believes is the right way”, I will say “No, you are lying. You are not a benevolent spirit. You are an evil spirit for saying so.”  That’s what I will say to the angel… I wont believe it… (…)

Of course I dont want you propagandizing here and there, saying that “all religions are one, there aren’t any differences between them, all of them are God’s, you can go to any one of them, and you can worship any God you want…”  I don’t want such things – I can’t tolerate them. That’s how my spirit is. (…)

I have spent time in the desert, I have struggled, I have fasted, I have endured deprivation, vigils, nakedness with tattered garments, and all of this for the love of Christ.  And I lived among saintly people. But they were Orthodox Christians.  Do you understand I cant do otherwise. I have comprehended Orthodoxy, that’s how things are… And the devil does exist, and everything that is written in the Bible also exists the way it says... the devil and hell and everything… But notice how beautifully it presents everything and how that notion of justice that we refer to is fulfilled.  An attribute of God’s justice: allowing us to see that we are believing in the devil… we say that the devil exists, and he does exist indeed… he is the opponent spirit.  So, what does our faith do It comes along and….. are you listening?

- Visitor: Im listening, Elder.

- Elder: …it comes along (when you read the Bible) and says: «my children, be careful; we need to make sure we cling to Christ and become saints, and enter His Church and all who are in His Church become one body… that is, all the Orthodox Christians.  And when we accomplish that, then, for us who have succeeded in entering the Church, there will be no death, no hell, no devil for us…»  It says so in the Gospel. Have you found it? They cant find it. It’s there, but you have to have the spirit of God to understand it.  Anyway, it comes along and it takes you there…you believe it, exactly the way it is – that there is no death….  Dont you like a religion like this?

- Visitor: I like it, Elder…how can I not like it? But I feel that when we have love, we understand others too.  We don’t believe that Muslims are faithless.

- Elder:  Look, that’s what I was trying to say.  We understand them and we can see, but we still say: they are faithless, they don’t believe in the true God.  Do you understand?  Man has manufactured numerous “gods”, so gods are plenty.  Even those prodigals, the atheists, they too believe in a god – of course not in the true God – they believe in the flesh, in passions, in material things, in… well they all believe in something, even though they claim that God doesn’t exist…they all worship something.  “Whatever one worships, that it what he becomes a servant to”. That means if you are – for example – a fornicator, well, you are a servant to the flesh, to matter.  Do you understand?

- Visitor: That is so.

- Elder: It’s an entire system. You need to study it and not frivolously say things that aren’t correct.  We can’t just say what the one or the other says…we simply can’t… We need to see where the truth is, and the truth is in Orthodoxy.  I have lived it and by the grace of God, I have come to know it.  And I have lived among saintly people, who are inside that spirit of truth. There are many lights around that one can see and become impressed, but only one Light is the true one.  We need to ponder over things like these And even if you say: “But you are deluded!” well, all I can say is, it would be a blessing if everyone got caught up in such a delusion, and imagined and thought about God the way that I do.  It’s besides the fact, that I haven’t yet become the way I should….but I do struggle and want to (…).

There is another spirit however, which is called a wicked spirit and it will be sure to say:  “I will humiliate that old man…all those people running to him and becoming sound and learning this and that!”  There is such a thing as a wicked spirit – it does exist.

- Visitor:  I know it does, Elder.

- Elder: Yes. And it can be abolished. But it will be abolished one day, when everything comes to an end and we all go to a new Creation – the way that our faith believes.  If you want to talk about these things little by little, you should study them little by little – think about them, and you will eventually see that it’s worth worshipping the only true God, our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is not for everyone to say: "I have been sent by God and I bring a new truth, which suits today’s world.”  God’s truths – the way He has pronounced them from the very beginning – are the only ones.  There are no other truths – new ones – just because the world has “progressed” and science and man have travelled to the stars!  Do you understand?

- Visitor:Yes, Elder.

- Elder: If one does reach the stars and says: “There are people up there too….” and we actually see them, my thoughts won’t be spoiled, because I will simply say that Christ is up there also; God is there also.  He has been there too.  Haven’t you heard the words “the King of the heavens”?

- Visitor:Yes, Elder.

- Elder:  The King of the heavens is the Holy Spirit, and that’s how we, in our church, begin our rituals and the sacrifices.  We say…let’s see…”O heavenly King, the Paraclete, the Spirit of truth, Who are everywhere and fill all things; the Treasury of blessings, and Giver of life: come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity…”  Go to Orthodoxy, my children. You are good souls, and I love you.  You might ask: Why are you taking us in from there?  Well, it was God’s move that brought you to me.  But the thing is, you spurn me: “Sai Baba, and that guy and the other are good, and Mohammed is good, and this one is good and so is the other.” Understand?  Then you might ask: “Should we fight them?”  Hey, whos fighting Our faith doesn’t fight against anyone Cant you see that we are so that we don’t even go to vote, nor have any political parties, and that we pray for everyone?  Why shouldn’t you approach the Church?   Hey, (..name..), come to your senses, don’t look in that other direction.

A lady had rung me one day and read from the Bible the part that said: “Bring upon them woes, Lord; bring woes upon the illustrious of the earth.”  So she says to me: “What on earth are these words? Could God say things like that?”  So I tell her, “Look here, this Book was written in a different language, and the mentality of those who wrote it was along these lines: “Lord, make them all good; educate them, bring them onto Your path.”

- Visitor: I see, Elder.

- Elder:  Only the Gospel is so clear and beautiful. The other texts are difficult like that.  You need to have a spirit of God to explain them.   That’s why she takes those words (and you too may also take those words) and thinks: “Hell? Devil? All those things? No way! There is no way that I will believe in the Devil!  What are all these things? They are ridiculous!”  And yet, you ask me, and I say: The Devil does exist. But you might say: “Just now you told us that the Devil doesn’t exist.” Well, you see we need to get to that point where – with the grace of God – the Devil will be abolished for us, and so will death and hell.  Then we will be able to live in God’s bliss, and never have to think about death... even when you reach the end of your life, and your one foot is in the grave so to speak… You may plant fig trees, walnut trees, cypress trees…cultivate orchards for your fellow-man; you may even build churches, again with your one foot in the grave.  Why do you do that Out of love Deep down, you believe that death doesn’t exist and you want your fellow-man who will come back here to find something, to become good, to not become thieves and steal from each other.  That’s why you plant those fruit trees and the walnuts and the figs. That’s why you build a church and everything else… Out of love. You don’t go to a Turk and kill him, just because he is a Turk.  All the other things are human – they are necessities.  You might ask why there must be wars… well, if we do those things I just mentioned and have only one faith among us, we won’t fight, we won’t wage wars against each other…these will all be eliminated.

Well, that’s what they say, but it’s not like that… what’s the use of one (religion)?  We here, the Greeks, have one faith. We are Christians.  If there are some foreigners, they are few; however, nowadays you can nevertheless see how we devour each other and have splintered into a thousand pieces.  And even from us Greeks – us Orthodox Christian Greeks – there are those who have become atheists and who knows what else…  Only Christ’s faith unites people, and we should all pray that they come to this faith.  That is how unity can be achieved, and not by believing that “we are all the same” and that “all religions are the same”… They are NOT the same thing…

- Visitor:  But don’t all religions teach love, Elder?

- Elder: Bah!  What kind of love do they teach? Don’t be so gullible!  Hush now!  True love is only Christ’s love.  Don’t imagine that it’s like parents who love their children.

- Visitor:  What about us, who have been born under those vibes?

- Elder: Hey, forget about those Sai Baba vibes!  Stay away from those things – they aren’t what you think they are; they are another thing altogether.  The truth is the way it says in here.  It’s not the way you think it is, my daughter.  Anyway, you should take measures and also talk to the other youngsters.  And find that other lady also (note: the one mentioned earlier, who quoted from the Bible and misinterpreted its words), and tell her that “This is what the Elder said”. (What on earth was she talking about?)

- Visitor:  No, she probably knows it’s so herself…

- Elder:  I don’t know what more to say, except that we need to become Christians. Leave Sai Baba out of it.  Perhaps God may even enlighten him too, to become a Christian.  And then, he will take God’s spirit and go and preach Christianity… you never know… Have you any idea how many this has happened to?  If there is a receptive soul… and you know that God is omnipresent… He is the sublime “nous” (mind) that is aware of everything…. No need to say anything; God knows best and He arranges things, except that we can’t see it.  Because when He does appear and seeks to straighten out each and every one, then they will each leave the path that they have marked out for themselves.  That’s what the “mark” is about:  That man is free to choose the one path or the other – of his own free will.  And that free will is what God respects.  He respects man’s decisions – He can’t say “Hey, where are you heading? Come over here!”  And you may ask here, is a person who commits a murder and tortures another person also a “man of God”?  Well, he might just be a man of God, but the spirit that possesses him and leads him into committing that evil is the devil’s spirit.  It is not the benevolent spirit of God… 

You should come here again, so we can talk about these things….

- Visitor:  Yes, Elder…

- Elder: I am illiterate – don’t imagine otherwise – I have not gone to any schools; I have been raised in the desert and have practiced obedience to two venerable elders.  You might say: “Tell us what you can!” but the other thing is, dear (…) I am not eloquent. I am a 90-year-old man and I tire easily. Sometimes when I am awake – like now that I have just awoken from a brief nap because I kept a night-vigil last night – I have a bit of strength, enough to talk… Just think about that, dear (…).   Anyway, you should sit down and read the Gospel… read it, many, many times. There is no way that you can claim “I’ve read it”.  The Gospel contains treasures and it solves every problem.  It is philosophical, truly philosophical. It is a philosophy – a philosophy through revelation; it is the highest possible philosophy.

Regardless of the fact that the world is nowadays trying to dedicate itself to material things…to disregarding the spirit, disregarding values… All these values have gradually been shaped by man; they were shaped by man, with the grace of God: the family and all those other nice, beautiful things… If we turn our backs on them, life here on earth becomes chaos. It will turn into hell, with narcotics and all those things... Man begins to focus on pleasures; that’s how he wants to achieve satisfaction. Just take a look – can’t you see all those youngsters who commit suicide, who go crazy?  Just go to psychiatric wards, and you will see youngsters, 15-16-20 years old… 25-30 years old… living in torment!

You will probably say: “Why doesn’t God see that?”  Well, God DOES see them. But God cannot intervene. However, it is possible, through God’s plan, for things to turn out so that people can attain a realization, see the chaos right before their eyes and say:  “Whoa!! We are diving into chaos, we are losing our way!!  Get back! Get back, all of you! We have been deluded!”  And then they will return to the path of God and the Orthodox faith will shine forth.

That is what we strive for, and that’s the way we want things to happen, little by little, with the grace of God.  God works secretly; He doesn’t want to influence man’s freedom.  He allows things to develop in such a manner that man will slowly get to where he should be….

There… these things I’m telling you are on the spur of the moment…

- Visitor: I know, Elder

- Elder:  Yes, but.God must give me strength so I can say these things to you sometimes… Whereas nothing can come from those other things… they resort to tricks and things like that… but in our faith, we have everything.  Do you understand

- Visitor: Yes, Elder.

- Elder:  Everything Even materializing etc among the saints.  But there are two kinds of materializations:  The bad kind and the good kind.  Understand?

- Visitor: I do.

- Elder: For sure, it is possible for one to say a prayer for those who don’t have (edible) oil and are suffering because of the shortage – he opens his hands and the other person’s jars suddenly fill with oil.  Well, a guru can also do something like that - another materialization - but it won’t be the same. It won’t be through a benevolent spirit, because as we said, the evil spirit does exist, and evil has the power to bestow the person (who believes in evil and who lives evil) the power to do evil.  That is the reason for the existence of so many sorcerers, gurus, fakirs and who knows what else…..

- Visitor: That’s true, Elder

- Elder:  They are of the evil spirit.

- Visitor:  And how are we people supposed to perceive that?

- Elder: Ah, well, you simply study the Gospel. Take it, study it, whenever you say that “everything is at the same level, everything is the same”… just study the Gospel, learn it well, and should you have any queries, come here and I – the illiterate and humble one - will give you the help you need.  I don’t boast that I am a Christian, I don’t proclaim I’m an Orthodox – I desire it, I want it, I struggle to be, I try my very best, but I haven’t yet become a Christian Orthodox… That’s how I feel, and it is a truthful feeling.  Are you misinterpreting what I’m saying here?

- Visitor: Elder, all the things you say are truths.

- Elder:  Yes, but that makes me so happy… I personally believe these truths… I really believe them, like that….  Even if an angel came to me and said: “What are you talking about, old man? Things aren’t like that – all religions belong to God, and all the gurus and yogis and fakirs and sorcerers and minstrels are God’s people”, I would reply “Yes, they as people are God’s, but their works are the devil’s”.

- Visitor:  I see, Elder

- Elder: Forgive me for speaking like that to you.  You are young people; you are good youngsters and quiet ones.  But, so what if you are?  Does that mean that everyone who is good and quiet is also living the truth?  Quite often, we often see people who seem quiet but really aren’t…. anyway, you should come again, so that we can discuss this… I can’t right now….. What can I say We need to interrupt now…. Do you know how much that pains me Very, very much you have no idea how much I love you very, very much You’ll probably say “Why don’t you pray to God to enlighten us?”  Well, I do pray, but I’m not that strong.  You may perhaps persist (on your views) and yet, I may not know what God has in store for you…

Nevertheless, the truth is here.  You must learn it.  You must study it well, and if the spirit tells you “this is a false religion”, then leave it, and go with Sai Baba.  What does Sai proclaim – God’s “new envoy”, who brings the new truth which currently suits the world?  To have complete freedom; that God is love; that fear is nowhere to be found; get yourself girls and have a good time…..

- Visitor:  No, Elder, he is very strict; he is very, very strict….

- Elder: He may well be.  But we need to verify that… Oh never mind, dear (….), you don’t understand my words now… let it go…

- Visitor:  I understand, Elder, I do understand….

- Elder:  Yes, I know you do (understand)….

- Visitor:  I am not defending anyone.

- Elder: But I do know, with the grace of God – now - what Sai or the others are what they are… Understand Anyway, dear (….)…. Look, there are Masons, there are all sorts of things and people believe them all, and they go along with Satan and they have all sorts of satanic events and mysterious things, because they exist, and Satan exists, and mysterious things exist… evil things. I must leave you now my dear (….) and I pray that God will enlighten you.  These things need to be discussed at any rate, but I must leave you now and I pray that God enlightens all of us, so that we get to know Him and love Him.  That’s what I pray for…  Have a good day…

- Visitor:  Thank you, my Elder.

- Elder: Forgive me if I have sorrowed you. That’s how it came to me; don’t think that….

- Visitor: How can you say such a thing, Elder? Even when you scold, it is balsam to the soul.

- Elder:  Everything becomes sanctified when there is Grace.  Get along now good day, good day to you… may God be with us….

- Visitor: Thank you, my Elder.

- Elder: My humble prayers with you…

- Visitor: Bless us…



Second conversation

A few days later there was another conversation with the Elder Porphyrios, with one of the people of that same group of visitors.  In this conversation, the following exchange was also recorded – among other things that were not of general interest:

- Elder: And what can I do with you now?  I held back I held back but now the time has come and I will tell you straightforwardly.  I don’t say things in an eloquent manner, but how else can I speak? How gently can I say what I want?

- Visitor:  Thank you, my Elder, thank you.

- Elder:  Im telling you, that... I personally love you very much…. And that my love has not diminished on account of these things.  I may of course complain a little, worrying why such good youngsters are involved in such fallacies and aren’t Orthodox Christians… I feel truly sorry… but I do pray that God will enlighten you so that you realize our faith – Orthodoxy - has nothing to do with other religions.

But nowadays, everyone has all sorts of mentalities… different people, even older ones, who don’t even believe that God exists… they are of the opinion that there shouldn’t be many religions because they cause divisions among people and generate hostility among them.  So, everyone – young and old and nations and entire … are striving to ensure the creation of one religion.  And it will be accomplished in such a way – by claiming that “all religions are the same”; that “we shall form a new religion”… This is being done by something they call Zionism. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the term, eh?

- Visitor:  No, I haven’t heard of it.

- Elder:  Yes and they are working hard towards that purpose. That people ought to leave them (the old religions)… and replace them with a good, new religion.  And put aside things like “hell exists” and that “there is a Satan” etc… unlike Orthodoxy, which has reported Satan dogmatically. Aren’t you aware of all these things, you poor souls?  If you don’t acknowledge the existence of Satan, you aren’t Orthodox.  Do you believe that Satan exists?

- Visitor: I do believe that Satan exists… the term itself I believe was coined by the Church, and it implies something negative – what we generally call “evil”...

- Elder:  Yes, evil.  But a spirit of evil really does exist.

- Visitor: Yes, yes. Evil spirits do exist.

- Elder: Just as angels and saints exist, so do devils.

- Visitor: Of course. What have we also been saying, Elder?

- Elder: Yes, but I remember the young lady saying “Oh no, no, no…. I don’t want Satan, I don’t believe in him….I don’t…”

- Visitor: It’s the word “Satan”, Elder. Theres a difference.

- Elder:  See?  Thats the kind of thing that spoils us….

- Visitor:  It’s the “evil spirit”, so to speak.

- Elder:  Well, it’s the same evil spirit that I’m referring to.  Satan is the evil spirit.  Whether you call it “evil spirit” or “Satan”, it’s one and the same.

- Visitor: Oh, OK Elder. You have clarified it now.



Translation: K.N.

Article published in English on: 6-3-2011

Last update: 6-3-2011