Thursday, 24 January 2008

An atheist reborn in the Orthodox Church (3) [Un ateu renăscut în Biserica Ortodoxă]

My friend Dionysios insists on correcting several aspects about the story of his rebirth into the true life of the Orthodox Church, as well as to give his personal assessment of the popular stories circulating about St. Dionysios.

And I - the humble writer who definitely bear the responsibility for what I am writing, although I fully heartedly say that none of my mistakes were intended - can only bow to his kind request.

I also thank him, for this yet another proof that he's only interested in telling the truth about an extraordinary experience. He doesn't want to leave any unclear aspects of his story, nor is he keen on adding unecessary spectacularity to it.

Firstly, concerning his personal experience, Dionysios finds relevant to mention that he had actually kissed the Saint's feet, not only laid a hand on his tomb, which is not always kept locked. On the contrary, upon the request of Orthodox believers, the tomb can be opened for them.

Then, although I didn't actually say something else citing from memory, Dionysios wants everyone to know the literal answer of the hegumen to his godfather. The hegumen had said: "Saint Dionysios has already told me to give him one (slipper); it is waiting for him".

Dionysios also praises the Lord's name for what keeps happening to him ever since he began telling his amazing story to various people. Therefore, nothing than his words to me could put it more clearly:

"For some it just brings great joy to see that what they believe is true. For some who don't have faith it maybe plants a seed; if they will allow it, God will nurture that seed to bear fruit. For some it just seems an amazing story; for those people I don't know what is does for them but there is still a reason that God knows. The strange thing is that in a country where many laugh at any form of religion, I have never yet told the story to anyone that laughed at me and said 'oh, you're crazy'. Everybody, whatever their level of faith, listens with great interest. This is all God's work, not mine!"

Secondly, Dionysios insists that the world should know that all sources in Zakynthos confirm the way his patron saint forgave and hid the murderer of his brother, with the sole amendment that the brother was not a monk himself. Then, our Orthodox Briton was himself overwhelmed with stories about the "walking saint," a reputation he can't personally confirm, nor outrightly deny.

My friend only knows that neither he, nor an Archimandrite (who spent 50 years in the monastery that holds the Saint's remains, and whom Dionysios asked about these stories) have ever seen traces of seaweed or something similar at the Sanit's feet. The slippers are changed regularly in honour of the Saint, but not because they are worn thin.

However, although there are no witnesses confirming that the body ever actually disappered from the tomb, there are frequent claims from many people that St. Dionysios appeared to them. I for one will never deem all these people crazy, and I am sure Dionysios would't say it either.

It's just that my friend wanted very much to say only what he experienced on his own or what he has been directly told, so that nobody would imagine that there is anything made-up in his story.

As for the fact that the Orthodox Church really recognizes Dionysios as a son of Hers, here's his story appearing on the Website of the Antiochian Orthodox Deanery of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Even that story is incomplete, since Dionysios would afterwards find out more about the Saint whose name he now bears. On the same page, there's a link to images from Dionysios' Baptism, on May 13th, 2001.

Ultimately, I can only say to those unfamiliar that the Antiochian Orthodox Church is in full communion with the rest of the Orthodox world, and it shouldn't be confused with the Syriac Church. The latter split from the Orthodox Church in 451 A.D., by refusing to accept the decisions of the Holy Fathers reunited at the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon.

[For all the episodes of this series, and all the posts on this blog go to/ Pentru toate episoadele din această serie şi toate postările de pe acest blog mergi la: Contents/Cuprins]


Anonymous said...

da, eu stiam ca cel care "calatoreste" alaturi de oameni este Sf. Spiridon. Este incaltat cu cizme din aur sau asa ceva si pe dedesubt are papuci din catifea brodata. O data pe an, la 12 decembrie sunt schimbati si prin tragere la sorti sunt impartiti la manastiri. Un papuc este, de ex. la Manastirea Nechit, ju. Neamt.
Doamne ajuta!

MunteanUK said...

@ C.L.

If you carefully read the other episodes of this series, you'll see that my friend Dionysios doesn't confirm these miracles in St Dionysios' case.

Indeed, the best known 'walking Saint' is St Spyridon.

Anonymous said...

I saw, of course. I just said what I knew especially the information about the monastery. maybe someone wants to go there.
It is very nice there. It has other holy relics of. St. Nicholas and other st. And a huge amount of orchids.
Maybe some day, I'll tell you how I found that this monastery exist. It was absolutely incredible.
And you can give me "bad marks" to correct my English. Otherwise how can I learn?

MunteanUK said...

@ C.L.

Not such a bad mark for now - a nine plus :-)

Anonymous said...