(Picture by Raymond Geldermans, July 1960)
In July 1960, when Raymond Geldermans pilgrimated from Iviron to Pantocrator he found a uninhabited house. In its neighbourhood he saw two monks. One of them was Russian. They started talking. The monk didn’t seem to have any knowledge of the end of WW II, 15 years earlier. His outside world was practically non-existent. Like the ignorant Japanese soldiers who were found on a remote island in the Philippines even 60 years after the war, unaware of the peace. While giving his blessings he offered Raymond a cool glass of water, which came as a gift from heaven. The monk used a lobster can from California to hoist the fresh water from the source.
In the picture he seems to make a gesture of a true holy man. His white hair and beard form a union. He made a little knot at the end of his beard. He greets us in a humble and friendly way. He probably was a gyrovague or siromahki, a wandering monk who relies on the hospitality of his guest. They don’t belong to any monastery. They don’t have a home. They go from monastery to monastery.
We hope that this man will not be forgotten. This picture makes us remember this man. There might be people who know more about him. We would like to give him a name, we would like to give him an identity. So we can truly remember him and call his name.
Thanks to Raymond Geldermans for his inspiration; the picture and the story.
According to Alex the man on the photo is starets Tikhon, the spiritual father of Paisios the Agioritis: this means the text above is outdated.
In 1968, Father Paisios went to Stavronikita Monastery, where he assisted in its renovation by offering labor work as well as spiritual advice. In the Holy Cross cell of Stavronikita Monastery, located near by, lived Father Tychon, the ascetic, who was also a spiritual father. (Ft. Tychon was born in 1884 in Novia Mihaloska of Russia. He was a very gifted man and lived a strict ascetic life). Elder Paisios often visited him for spiritual advice and helped him with the service of Divine Liturgy by serving as chanter. Quite frequently, the service was in spiritual contemplation, which sometimes lasted half an hour. He saw, as he himself confessed, the orders of the angels, the Cherubim and the Seraphim glorifying God. Father Tychon tonsured Elder Paisios and gave him the Great and Angelic Schema.
When Father Tychon’s life was coming to an end, (ten days before he passed away), he asked the Elder to stay by his side and take care of him. Paisios served Father Tychon with great self-sacrifice, offering him anything he could to comfort him. Father Tychon used to tell him: “Paisios, our love is precious. My sweet Paisios, our love, my child, will last unto the ages of ages.” He asked him to stay in his cell after his death and promised that he will visit him every year. Father Tychon fell asleep on September 10, 1968, two days after the celebration of the Nativity of the Holy Theotokos, as he himself had predicted, being well equipped and ready for his journey to eternity.
Father Paisios settled down at the cell of the Holy Cross, according to the wish of Father Tychon, where he stayed until 1979.
Text from http://www.pigizois.net
Timothy and Giannis showing us this picture: