How Saint Porphyrios the Kapsokalyvite received the gift of the Holy Spirit: The visitation of divine grace
It was still dawn, and the main church of Kavsokalyvia was locked. Nikitas, however, was standing in the corner of the church entrance waiting for the bells to ring and the doors to be opened.
He was followed by the old monk Dimas, a former Russian officer, over ninety years old, an ascetic and a secret saint. Fr. Dimas looked around and made sure that nobody was there. He didn’t notice young Nikitas waiting in the entrance. He started making full prostrations and praying before the closed church doors.
Divine grace spilled over from holy Fr. Dimas and cascaded down upon the young monk Nikitas who was then ready to receive it. His feelings were indescribable. On his way back to the hut, after receiving Holy Communion in the Divine Liturgy that morning, his feelings were so intense that he stopped, stretched out his hands and shouted loudly “Glory to You, O God! Glory to You, O God! Glory to You, O God!”
The change wrought by the Holy Spirit.
Following the visitation of the Holy Spirit, a fundamental change took place in the psychosomatic makeup of young Monk Nikitas. It was the change that comes directly from the right hand of God. He acquired supernatural gifts and was vested with power from on high.
The first sign of these gifts was when his elders were returning from a far-away journey, he was able to “see” them at a great distance. He “saw” them there, where they were, even though they were not within human sight. He confessed this to Fr. Panteleimon who advised him to be very cautious about his gift and to tell no-one. Advice which he followed very carefully until he was told to do otherwise.
More followed. His sensitivity to things around him became very acute and his human capacities developed to their fullest. He listened to and recognized bird and animal voices to the extent that he knew not just where they came from, but what they were saying. His sense of smell was developed to such a degree that he could recognize fragrances at a great distance. He knew the different types of aroma and their makeup. After humble prayer he was able to “see” the depths of the earth and the far reaches of space. He could see through water and through rock formations. He could see petroleum deposits, radioactivity, ancient and buried monuments, hidden graves, crevices in the depths of the earth, subterranean springs, lost icons, scenes of events that had taken place centuries before, prayers that had been lifted up in the past, good and evil spirits, the human soul itself, just about everything. He tasted the quality of water in the depths of the earth. He would question the rocks and they would tell him about the spiritual struggles of ascetics who went before him. He looked at people and was able to heal. He touched people and he made them well. He prayed and his prayer became reality. However, he never knowingly tried to use these gifts from God to benefit himself. He never asked for his own ailments to be healed. He never tried to get personal gain from the knowledge extended to him by divine grace.
Every time he used his gift of discernment, (diakrisis) the hidden thoughts of the human mind were revealed to him. He was able, through the grace of God, to see the past, the present and the future all at the same time. He confirmed that God is all-knowing and all-powerful. He was able to observe and touch all creation, from the edges of the Universe to the depth of the human soul and history. St. Paul’s phrase “One and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” (1.Cor.12:11) certainly held true for Elder Porphyrios. Naturally, he was a human being, and received divine grace, which comes from God. This God who for reasons of His own sometimes did not reveal everything. Life lived in grace is an unknown mystery for us. Any more talk on the matter would be a rude invasion into matters we don’t understand. The Elder always pointed this out to all those who attributed his abilities to something other than grace. He underlined this fact, again and again, saying “It’s not something that’s learnt. It’s not a skill. It is GRACE.”
He prepares his return to the Holy Mountain.
Elder Porphyrios had never emotionally left Mt. Athos. There was no other subject that interested him more than the Holy Mountain, and especially Kavsokalyvia. For many years he had a hut there, in the name of a disciple of his who he visited on occasion. When he heard in 1984 that the last resident of St. George’s hut had left for good and taken up residence in another monastery, he hastened to the Holy Great Lavra of St. Athanasios, to whom it belonged and asked that it be given to him. It was at St. George’s that he had first taken his monastic vows. He had always wanted to return, to keep the vow made at his tonsure some sixty years earlier, to remain in his monastery until his last breath. He was now getting ready for his final journey.
The hut was given to him according to the customs of Mt. Athos,with the monastery’s sealed pledge, dated 21st September 1984. Elder Porphyrios settled different disciples of his there in succession. In the summer of 1991 there were five. This is the number, that he had mentioned to a spiritual child of his some three years before as the total that indicated the year of his death.
Apolytikion St. Porphyrios the Kapsokalyvite – Mode 1
“The son of Evia (Euboea), the Elder of All Greeks, *
the initiate of Divine Vision and True friend of Christ. *
Porphyrios, O faithful, let us praise *
who from childhood was filled with divine gifts *
the demonized are redeemed and the sick are healed who cry out
“Glory to Him who gave His might to you! *
Glory to Him who made you Holy! *
Glory to Him, who, through you, effects cures for all.”