Porphyrios (Bairaktaris) the Kapsokalivite
St Porphyrios (Bairaktaris) the Kapsokalyvite (1906-1991) was an Athonite hieromonk known for his gifts of spiritual discernment. He was officially recognized as a saint by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in 2013. His feast day is December 2.
He was born February 7 in the little village of St. John Karystia, in the province of Evoia. His parents, Leonidas and Eleni Bairaktaris (daughter of Antonios Lambrou), christened him Evangelos. He was fourth out of five siblings. Only his youngest sister is still alive and is a nun.
His family was quite poor and so Evangelos left school at an early age, having completed only the second class of primary school, to assist his family to make more money. At some stage, he found a job working at a grocer store in Chalkidiki and also in Piraeus. He was taught to pray the Paraklesis by his father and all other religious matters.
At age 13, he found his way to the skete of the Holy Trinity (Kafsokalyvia). Later tonsured with his monastic name of Nikitas. He became a monk at the age or fourteen of fifteen. He served in the skete of Kafsokalyvia, in the Cell of St. George, under two spiritual fathers: Fr. Panteimon and Fr. Ionnakios for six years. Forced by pleurisy to depart the Holy Mountain, he returned to his birthplace, where he was unexpectedly elevated to the priesthood at the age of 21 by Porphyrios III, Archbishop of Mount Sinai and Raithu, who recognized his spiritual gifts. With the outbreak of World War II he became a hospital chaplain in Athens, serving in the church of Saint Gerasimos, in which post he continued for three decades until his retirement in 1970. He continued to offer his service there until 1973, after which he served in Kallithea and Milesi. His later years were devoted to the construction of the Holy Convent of the Transfiguration of the Savior
In 1984 he sought to return to Mount Athos in order to occupy the same cell which he had earlier in life been forced to abandon. This was in order to fulfil his monastic vows and to avoid any honors by being buried in the world. The request was granted following the repose of the previous occupant of the cell, and so, together with three of his disciples, he returned to Mount Athos.
Having foretold to one of his spiritual children that he would repose when the number of his disciples in the cell had reached five, prepared his tomb. His blessed repose was at 4:31am on December 2, 1991.
According to his request, a vigil was served by his spiritual children and only after his burial were the fathers of the monasteries informed in order to avoid posthumous honors and praise.
Through his role as spiritual father, Elder Porphyrios became known to an ever-wider circle of Orthodox followers. Several compilations of stories and sayings attributed to him have been published.
He has left behind Elder Damaskinos, his disciple from 1969, who reviews much of the published works about the elder.[note 1]
- St. Nektarios of Aegina, Elder Prophyrios's father was the village cantor and St. Nektarios used his services whilst he was in that area.
- Elder Porphyrios. Wounded by Love: The Life and Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios Denise Harvey (Publisher): 2005. 978-96072-01195
- Klitos Joannidis. Elder Porphyrios: Testimonies and Experiences. The Holy Convent of the Transfiguration of the Savior: Athens, 1995. 978-9608538258
- Constantine Yannitsiotis. With Elder Porphyrios: A Spiritual Child Remembers. The Holy Convent of the Transfiguration of the Savior:Athens, 2001.
- This blessed elder has visited Australia, and other countries, on many occasions and has informed christians that much of the published work do not accurately reflect the true sayings and true beliefs of the elder - or have missed the true meaning through translations. He is in the process of writing official commentary to the latest "Wounded by Love", in which it is reported that the Elder had said that some trees where over 15,000 million years old. Elder Damaskinos says this has been a mis-understood comment as Elder Porphyrios did not believe Creation to be more than the official number of years set out by the Orthodox Church.citation needed
- Announcement by the Holy and Sacred Synod. The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Wednesday, November 27, 2013.
- Canonization of Two New Saints by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Ecumenical Patriarchate - Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and South East Asia (OMHKSEA). November 27, 2013.