Attending the presentation of a book about the renowned athonite monk Joseph of Vatopedi (d. 2009) was Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens who said that ‘Elder Joseph is a member of the choir of contemporary venerable fathers together with Saints Paisios and Porphyrios’.
Vatopedi Monastery organized Thursday, April 19, the launch of the volume signed by abbot Ephraim entitled ‘Geron Joseph of Vatopedi (1.9.1921-1.7.2009),’ reports the Archdiocese of Athens on its official website.
The event took place at Christos Lambrakis Hall of the Athens Concert Hall in the presence of the Head of the Greek Orthodox Church and numerous hierarchs, state officials, artists, clergymen and laypersons.
He acquired the charismata of the Holy Spirit
In his opening address, Archbishop Ieronymos recalled the life of Elder Joseph of Vatopedi, stressing his spiritual feats.
‘Elder Joseph the Younger was a worthy spiritual son of the Blessed Elder Joseph the Hesychast. He imitated his ascetic feats of obedience, fast, the love of spiritual struggle, prayer, humility, and with his blessing he acquired the charismata of the Holy Spirit, especially that of theology,’ the Archbishop said.
‘Although he did not benefit from a secular education, he wrote 16 books worthy of the honour of the writings of the Early Fathers from the Philokalia,’ Archbishop Ieronymos said about Elder Joseph.
A member of the choir of contemporary venerable fathers
‘The Elder lived for 72 years in monastic life, he acquired a great spiritual life experience, and according to the public opinion he was numbered with the contemporary venerable personalities of the Holy Mount together with Elder Ephraim of Katounakia, Saint Paisios and Saint Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia.’
Ending his speech, the Archbishop of Athens stressed that ‘the Elder received the Vatopedi Monastery in ruins and turned it into a model of coenobium and a praise for the entire Orthodoxy in a time of spiritual drought.’
Joseph of Vatopedi – a model for all
In a declaration given the same day for Greek journalists, His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos said that ‘we not only honour a virtuous monk, but we bring honour to the hesychastic life itself.’
‘Especially in our times we need this type of life.’
‘He was a holy man, an example for us all,’ the head of the Greek Church referring to Fr Joseph of Vatopedi.
‘I knew him and we worked together. I have kept from this man everything I have within me, because it is from a spiritual director that you receive everything,’ the Archbishop reported.
The smile from eternity
Fr Joseph of Vatopedi was one of the most faithful disciples of Geron Joseph the Hesychast, a great contemporary Athonite monk.
Father Joseph spent the last part of his life at Vatopedi Monastery on Holy Mount Athos, in the courtyard of which he is buried.
Elder Joseph fell asleep on July 1, 1990, at the age of 88, on the feast day of his patron saints, Cosmas and Damian the Unmercenaries.
Elder Joseph was smiling with his full face for about an hour after his passing away.
The smile from eternity was reported by the monks and believers attending the Elder’s funeral.
Photography courtesy of ecclesia.gr