VALUABLE LIFE LESSONS from Blessed Elder Athanasius of Grigoriou
The Saints were men and women who exemplify the perfection of the Christian life through holiness and virtue we should strive to emulate. In what follows from the life of the Blessed and clairvoyant Geronda Athansius of Gregoriou Monastery (Mt. Athos), we find three valuable life lessons we need to hear and implement during these days in which many Orthodox Christians - clergy and laymen alike - have fallen prey to demonically-influenced fear and secular rationalism to the extent of casting doubt on the power of the Holy Things and replacing sacred traditions with blasphemous innovations. As we see in the life of the clairvoyant Blessed Elder Athanasius of Gregoriou Monastery (Mt. Athos), we learn three valuable life lessons:
1) Whenever we are faced with danger, we must run to God and His Saints first with unwavering faith and trust for help, strength, and protection; 2) Whenever we are sick, we should first and foremost ardently seek the healing Christ offers us in the Hospital of His Holy Temple through the medicine of the Holy Mysteries and Holy Things such as the Relics and Icons since they are conduits of healing and nourishment we need; 3) Whenever people seek to undermine, attack, and persecute our Faith or attempt to introduce anti-Christian innovations, especially when they are blasphemous and cast doubt on the power of the Holy Things, we must be ready to defend the Faith and be willing to sacrifice anything for the Truth and ultimately our own salvation, even if this means suffering imprisonment, fines, loss of jobs etc.. Our obedience to Christ often comes at a heavy price in this vain life, though we should take comfort in knowing that our allegiance to Christ not only lifts us into the heavenly abodes the Saints reached, but any earthly suffering does not even compare to the glorious blessings of eternal life, so long as we remain faithful until the very end.
1) The Locust Swarm vs The Saints
“In the village of Voultisa, which is in the coastal area of Pieria east of Veria, Grigoriou Monastery had a metochion which it had bought in 18557 from a certain Turkish bey. One time the steward, very upset, sought for help from the Monastery. He requested that they send him a devout priest and holy relics. A terrible evil had struck that flat region of the country. Countless armies of locusts were spreading destruction and threatening to devastate everything in sight. The Monastery council decided to send help immediately. The holy relics were prepared, among which were those of the Holy Martyr Anastasia the Roman. The Monastery had no hieromonk to send more pious than Fr. Athanasius. And he, accustomed to obedience, made a prostration to the Abbot, prayed, received the blessings of the fathers, and set off to do battle against the natural disaster in the village.