ABSTRACT. For the world, the Holy Mountain of Athos represents the homeland of holiness, an academy of deification, and the dwellers of this earthly heaven are the lights who lead us from the darkness and labyrinth of sins, to the harbour of salvation. Such a sublime example of deified life is Saint Porphyrios the Kapsokalyvite (1906-1991), who proved to be an “earthly angel” among men receiving the canonization by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 2013. Those who knew him personally, clergy and laity, disciples or people who inquired him out of plain curiosity, recognized him to be “a man of God”, a “household” and a well-pleasing of the Heavenly Father. Being ascetic from his childhood and adolescence, he was rewarded with wonderful gifts, which he used to serve his Giver and his troubled and tried peers with great humility, as they were thirsty to find their stillness and inner peace, and the purpose and meaning of their lives. When he was eighteen, he received the gift of unceasing prayer and foresight, to which plenitude of charismas were added: the knowledge of the past, present and future; the prophecy; reading of the souls or cardiognosis; and, in connection with them, healing the physical and soul diseases, as manifested by the multitude of miracles he did during his life and also after he moved from this life, wonderful works which continuously increase in number. Saint Porphyrios the Kavsokalivite is a contemporary model of God’s “chosen” man who gained holiness through the path of labours, trials, and sufferings. Those around him knew that his medicine was prayer and patience, even when he suffered the most severe pains. In his youth, he asked God to give him “cancer” so that he could take part of the pain and suffering of the world and to relieve it from sins; he bore seven diseases with a lot of love and hope in the mercy and help of God. He considered diseases to be a path of discovery and closeness to God and of redeeming of life, a sign of His love and His blessed visitation.

Keywords: illness; love; Christ; cancer; Holy Mountain of Athos; St. Porphyrios the Kavsokalivite

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Dumitru Staniloae Faculty of Orthodox Theology,
Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Iasi, Romania

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