Feast day of Saint Porphyrios of Kafsokalyvia

St Porphyrios (Bairaktaris) the Kapsokalyvite (1906-1991) was an Athonite hieromonk known for his gifts of spiritual discernment. He was officially recognized as a saint by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in 2013. His feast day is December 2.
He was born February 7 in the little village of St. John Karystia, in the province of Evoia. His parents, Leonidas and Eleni Bairaktaris (daughter of Antonios Lambrou), christened him Evangelos. He was fourth out of five siblings. Only his youngest sister is still alive and is a nun.

His family was quite poor and so Evangelos left school at an early age, having completed only the second class of primary school, to assist his family to make more money. At some stage, he found a job working at a grocer store in Chalkidiki and also in Piraeus. He was taught to pray the Paraklesis by his father and all other religious matters.
St. Porphyrios was born on February 7, 1906, in the village of Agios Ioannis, which translates to St. John Karystia, in the province of Evia in Greece. His parents, Leonidas and Eleni Bairaktaris, baptized him as Evangelos, and he was the fourth out of five siblings. He attended only 2 years of school in his childhood, and instead began work at 8 years old, first tending animals on his family's farm, then in a coal mine, and finally for a grocer in Halkhida and Piraeus.[1] It was during his childhood where it is claimed he wanted to pursue a monastic lifestyle, which he was inspired to do after reading the life of Saint John the Hut-Dweller.[2]

He was tonsured a monk at the age of fourteen with the monastic name Nikitas. He served in the Athonite skete of Kafsokalyvia, in the Cell of St. George, under two spiritual fathers: Fr. Panteleimon and his brother Fr. Ioannikios. Forced by pleurisy to depart the Holy Mountain, he returned to Agios Ioannis, staying at the monastery of Saint Haralambos while back in his birthplace. During this time he was often visited by Bishop Fostimis of Kymi, and through the help of Porphyrios III, Archbishop of Mount Sinai and Raithu, Nikitas was ordained a deacon and then a priest, under the name Porphyrios, at 21 years old.[2] Two years after his ordination, Metropolitan Panteleimon of Karystia appointed him as a father confessor, and later appointed him the office of Archimandrite in 1938.[1]

With the outbreak of World War II, St. Porphyrios became a hospital chaplain in Athens, namely the Polyclinic Hospital, which he served for around 33 years, from 1940 to 1973. During his time there, he was allowed to also serve the Church of Saint Gerasimos by the Professor of Canon Law, Amilkas Alivizatos, and also aided in the renewal of the Church of Saint Nicholas in Kallisia. While working as a chaplain, he had also suffered various afflictions, including a fractured leg, kidney troubles, and a coma.

Following his service as a chaplain, he worked to accomplish his goal of establishing a convent, initially in 1955 with the Holy Monastery of Pendeli, to no success. By 1981, St. Porphyrios had his convent, the Holy Convent of the Transfiguration of the Savior, recognized by Presidential decree, and although construction work began in 1980, the foundations were not laid until February 1990. Between this time, in 1984, he returned to Mt. Athos, and resumed living in the same cell he occupied prior to his leave. His physical health continued to deteriorate, suffering from a hernia which persisted until his death, a heart attack, and blindness in 1987 caused by a botched operation on his left eye. It was on Mt. Athos where he spent the rest of his life, and wished to have a quiet death, preparing a farewell letter for his spiritual children to avoid a crowd. He died on December 2, 1991, at 4:31 AM, surrounded by a few monks of the holy skete of Kavsokalyvia, and had his death announced at the dawn of December 3.
Monastic life
At age 13, he found his way to the skete of the Holy Trinity (Kafsokalyvia). Later tonsured with his monastic name of Nikitas. He became a monk at the age or fourteen of fifteen. He served in the skete of Kafsokalyvia, in the Cell of St. George, under two spiritual fathers: Fr. Panteimon and Fr. Ionnakios for six years. Forced by pleurisy to depart the Holy Mountain, he returned to his birthplace, where he was unexpectedly elevated to the priesthood at the age of 21 by Porphyrios III, Archbishop of Mount Sinai and Raithu, who recognized his spiritual gifts. With the outbreak of World War II he became a hospital chaplain in Athens, serving in the church of Saint Gerasimos, in which post he continued for three decades until his retirement in 1970. He continued to offer his service there until 1973, after which he served in Kallithea and Milesi. His later years were devoted to the construction of the Holy Convent of the Transfiguration of the Savior

In 1984 he sought to return to Mount Athos in order to occupy the same cell which he had earlier in life been forced to abandon. This was in order to fulfil his monastic vows and to avoid any honors by being buried in the world. The request was granted following the repose of the previous occupant of the cell, and so, together with three of his disciples, he returned to Mount Athos.

Having foretold to one of his spiritual children that he would repose when the number of his disciples in the cell had reached five, prepared his tomb. His blessed repose was at 4:31am on December 2, 1991.

According to his request, a vigil was served by his spiritual children and only after his burial were the fathers of the monasteries informed in order to avoid posthumous honors and praise.

Through his role as spiritual father, Elder Porphyrios became known to an ever-wider circle of Orthodox followers. Several compilations of stories and sayings attributed to him have been published.

He has left behind Elder Damaskinos, his disciple from 1969, who reviews much of the published works about the elder.
Through his role as a spiritual father, Elder Porphyrios became known to an ever-wider circle of Orthodox followers, and his sainthood was declared by the synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on November 27, 2013. In 2014, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church decreed that St. Porphyrios' name be added to their church calendar and commemorated on December 2. In 2017, the holy synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church also added him to their calendar on December 2. St. Porphyrios, similar to other canonized saints, has his own Akathist that is sung on December 2, his commemoration and feast day. Several compilations of stories and sayings attributed to him have been published since his commemoration as a saint.

On April 17, 2019, the Chapel of Saint Porphyrios was inaugurated by Metropolitan Panteleimon of Maroneia and Komotini, for the social houses of Agios Stylianos Parish of Komotini. Then, in December 2019, Metropolitan Andrei of Cluj dedicated the chapel of the Rebra-Parva monastery, found in Romania's Bistrița-Năsăud county, to Saint Porphyrios. In January 2021, an Orthodox, English language, multicultural mission parish dedicated to Saint Porphyrios was formed in Lanark County, Ontario, under Fr. Peter (Craig) Bowers, of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

On 27 November 2013 the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate formally glorified Elder Porphyrius as a saint, establishing 2 December as his feast day.

This is the way we should see Christ. He is our friend, our brother; He is whatever is good and beautiful. He is everything. Yet, He is still a friend and He shouts it out, "You're my friends, don't you understand that? We're brothers. I'm not...I don't hold hell in my hands. I am not threatening you. I love you. I want you to enjoy life together with me."
Love Christ and put nothing before His Love. He is joy, He is life, He is light. Christ is Everything. He is the ultimate desire, He is everything. Everything beautiful is in Christ.
Somebody who is Christ's must love Christ, and when he loves Christ he is delivered from the Devil, from hell and from death.
The life of the parents is the only thing that makes good children. Parents should be very patient and ‘saintlike’ to their children. They should truly love their children. And the children will share this love! For the bad attitude of the children, says father Porphyrios, the ones who are usually responsible for it are their parents themselves. The parents don't help their children by lecturing them and repeating to them ‘advices’, or by making them obeying strict rules in order to impose discipline. If the parents do not become ‘saints’ and truly love their children and if they don't struggle for it, then they make a huge mistake. With their wrong and/or negative attitude the parents convey to their children their negative feelings. Then their children become reactive and insecure not only to their home, but to the society as well.

Ἦχος πλ. α´. Τὸν συνάναρχον Λόγον.
Ἰχνηλάτης τῶν πάλαι πατέρων γέγονας, Ἁγιωνύμου τοῦ Ὄρους ἀσκήσας Σκήτῃ σεπτῇ, Τριάδος τῆς Ζωαρχικῆς, τῶν Καυσοκαλυβίων, ἄβυσσος θείων δωρεῶν, λυτήρ δεινῶν ἀσθενειῶν, ἐδείχθης ὦ θεοφόρε. Πορφύριε οἰκουμένης, πάσης, ποιμήν ἡμῶν καί στήριγμα.

Έτερον Ἀπολυτίκιον  (Κατέβασμα)
Ἦχος α´. Τῆς ἐρήμου πολίτης.
Τῆς Εὐβοίας τὸν γόνον, Οἰκουμένης ἀγλάϊσμα (πρώτη γραφή: πανελλήνων τὸν Γέροντα), τῆς Θεολογίας τὸν μύστην καὶ Χριστοῦ φίλον γνήσιον, Πορφύριον τιμήσωμεν, πιστοί, τὸν πλήρη.