Tuesday, December 9, 2014



     The Latin papists went to the Athonite peninsula and systematically terrorized the Great  Lavra, Iveron and Vatopedi leaving behind some forced or frightened converts. But also a company of Orthodox martyrs and confessors in the ruins.  The Papists then went north of Konstamonitou. In the interior of the Athos peninsula, to the Monastery of the Holy Great Martyr George known as Zographou. The monastery lies on top of a rise, tucked into a woody fold hidden from the sea.  From the 13th C. onward, the monastery was under the control of Bulgarian monks.

     At that time the hegumen of Zographou was Abbot Thomas. He became aware of the papal marauders seeking Orthodox souls. As told in the following moving account. There was a certain virtuous and aged monk who lived in Zographou’s vineyard, being about one-half hours walk to the south west.  His rule of prayer was to recite the Akathist Hymn to our most holy Lady, the Theotokos/ He pronounced the Akathist daily before her icon, where she is depicted holding the Christ Child in a Directress-type icon. 

      One day as he was reciting his customary rule, and was at that part where the Archangel Gabriel greets the Virgin Mary, saying, “Rejoice,”, the elder suddenly heard from the sacred icon the following words. “You rejoice also, O elder of God!”  The old monk began to tremble.  He then heard the Mother of God’s voice coming from the icon, saying to him, “Do not fear, but go quickly to the monastery, and announce to the brothers and to the abbot that enemies both of my Son and I are approaching.  Whoever, therefore, is weak in spirit, in patience let him hide until temptation passes.  All those who desire martyric crowns, let them stay and lock themselves within the monastery. Go, therefore, quickly.” The old monk fell before the icon, asking, “How, Lady, shall I leave you my protectress in this place?” She replied, “Concern not yourself for me, but hasten to the monastery.”   (Note that the Theotokos identifies the papists as her and her Son’s enemies!)

     The elder obeyed the voice and the will of our all-undefiled Lady.  He left his cell, hastening as much as possible to the monastery, that each one might be granted time to consider which way he might choose.