Α labor of love that was spawned by a mere coincidence. An unknown ambassador of the Orthodox Truth in the years of Sergianism and Stalin. His miracles while alive are in galore. Posthumously like a geyser they are jetted with such bursting force that jolts us into action to live a life of purity and sanctity. A humble effort to trace the life of the Elder of Hebron through testimonies. Now in English in ebook format by Sofia Kioroglou and Easywriter.gr
Ένας καρπός αγάπης που γεννήθηκε από μια συγκυρία. Ένας άγνωστος πρεσβευτής της Ορθόδοξης αλήθειας στα χρόνια του Σεργιανισμού και του Στάλιν. Τα θαύματα του εν ζωή και μετά την κοίμηση του πάμπολλα. Μια ταπεινή προσπάθεια να ξεδιπλωθεί η πολυσχιδής προσωπικότητα του Γέροντος της Χεβρώνας. Κυκλοφορεί στα αγγλικά.
The Miracle of the Panagia Seydnaya to my friends, Stella and Sotiris
The following is the intellectual property of Sofia Kioroglou and constitutes an excerpt from the book ” IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF JESUS” published by Greek Orthodox Pilgrimages.
Elder Joseph the Hesychast said that everyone should have a “favorite” icon of the Mother of God and we should look at it and pray for her intercessions everyday.
The Holy Monastery of Seydnaya in Jerusalem
is also known as the monastery of the Theotokos’s
grandmother from the Arab name Der-elsaida,
meaning Grandmother’s Monastery. The
miraculous icon, which according to tradition
arrived by itself from Damascus of Syria, is found
in this monastery. The miracles happening in
this Monastery are so many and various that
whole volumes could be written about them. The
miracle that happened to my best friend Stella
is worth mentioning to give strength and faith
to all those who have trouble conceiving. Stella
Xefteri knew about my passion for the Holy Land
and my special fondness for this monastery. So,
when I told her that the icon of the Theotokos
Seydnaya gives children, she asked me to bring
her the holy wick from the oil lamp of the Holy
Icon. One can find millions of letters and pictures
in the binders which attest to the difficulty the
couples had in conceiving and to the miracle
that ensued after swallowing that wick following
a special fast and devotional. Stella and her
husband from Greece had struggled to conceive
for as long as 15 years. Stella Xefteri, asked me
to get the miraculous wick that the Monastery of
Seydnaya in Jerusalem gives to childless couples
in hopes of getting pregnant. And, by golly, she
sure did!!! When I visited Jerusalem, in 2010, I
passed on Stella’s request for a baby to the Abess
of the Monastery, Nun Seraphema, who assured
me that Stella would get pregnant really soon.
Within 2 months, my friend Stella had conceived
twins. Her joy was ineffable and in 2012, I was
asked to deliver the photos of the newborns to the
Abbess to put them in the binder with all the other
baby pictures. You can imagine the immense joy
of the Abbess upon hearing the good tidings.
Σημαντική μορφή του Πατριαρχείου Ιεροσολύμων ήταν ο αρχιμανδρίτης Θεοδόσιος Μάκος,γέροντας της Μονής Μάρθας και Μαρίας από το 1945 μέχρι την κοίμηση του το 1991. Είχε γεννηθεί το 1913 στο Μπουρνόβα της Σμύρνης. Μετά την μικρασιατική καταστροφή ήλθε με την οικογένεια του στον Βύρωνα. Συνδεόταν με τον βασιλικό οίκο της Ιορδανίας και έσωσε την ζωή του μετέπειτα βασιλιά Χουσείν από τρομοκρατική ενέργεια . Ο π. Θεοδόσιος έζησε οσιακή ζωή με αγάπη προς την Εκκλησία και τους ανθρώπους.
I didn’t know about Ivan. I had never thought about delving into the past of Russian Monasticism nor had I ever visited any Russian monasteries in the Holy Land except the imposing Monastery of Saint Mary the Magdalene the Myrrh-bearer, on the slope of the Mount of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane which is one of the most easily recognizable landmarks of Jerusalem. This striking example of Russian architecture was built in the Muscovite style with golden onion domes or cupolas. But Hebron was always a no-go area despite having been to the Holy Land 30 times before. So, how did I learn about Ivan? What prompted me to write a book on his life and try to trace his life? Of all people a Greek like me would be the least expected person to grapple with this onerous task as I don’t know Russian, never have been to Hebron and knew nothing about how to embark on this quest. However, a photo of him on facebook by a complete unknown to me triggered the urge to find out more about him. I contacted the lady who posted the photo and took her an interview. What I discovered was the tailgate to a more thorough quest that would lead me to my sources. A spate of miraculous happenings started unfolding, prompting me to forge ahead and continue undaunted. The most astonishing of them was the tangible presence of the Hegoumen as I made a dent into this project. My first book on the Miracles in the Holy Land, entitled “Mystical Experiences in the Holy Land” by Promachos of Orthodoxy was like a crampon, a foothold that would enable a more serious engagement with my research. All of a sudden, testimonies started pouring in, people, having read my book, started calling me to give me information about the unknown saint of Hebron who fought with demons, conversed with the Holy Trinity and so many other staggering incidents that really spearheaded me to take a bit between my teeth. The icon that Mrs Sophia Kouna has in her iconostasis keeps falling and as she has admitted a light breeze caressed her cheeks upon entering her house with the book and the photo of Father Ignaty hasn’t stopped falling ever since. I tried to contact the only relative alive, his niece, Irina Raksha. An 80-something-year old author who has been trying to trace her lineage. I sent her an email in English but she requested that I wrote in Russian. Google translate did the trick and now the language barrier was lifted. She told me how happy she was that somebody had decided to write about her uncle. The email exchanges are contained at the back of the book as well as her interviews to various literary journals where she recounts her lineage and the fortuitous encounter with her uncle posthumously. I have a feeling the readers of this book will get some valuable insights into the life of this Russian ascetic figure who loved The Most Holy Theotokos so very much and venerated the Holy Trinity there in Palestine, near the Mamre oak. If this is anything to go by, splinters of that Oak have come into my hands quite unexpectedly only recently. Who knows, maybe Father Ignaty wanted me to continue my search and publish a book on his life despite the missing pieces of this jigsaw puzzle which I have been endevoring to complete. I hope you will find his athletic struggles intriguing and inspirational as much as I have. May he bless us all from above. Amen!