A monk of Mount Athos, threw away his cassock and went into the world to live his life.


He lived prodigally with many sins of the flesh and finally got married. He had 2 boys and one day he went with his family to bathe in the sea.


On the beach, as he was lying under the umbrella, his little boy says to him:


– Dad, what is that cross on your chest? And the red letters on him, what do they say?


The father was shocked by his son's revelation. He asked to go back to their house and there he locked himself in his room and cried all night...


The next day he confessed and his spiritual father told him:


- Christ, even though you have repeatedly and consciously denied Him, still loves you undiminished! As much as he loved you when you were a monk, he loves you even more now!


These words hit him in the philotimos. So he revealed the whole truth to his wife and they agreed to divorce by mutual consent.


He went back to the monastery, while his wife later became a nun, after she settled their children first.


After 17 years, the son of the monk who had seen the letters on his father's chest visits Mount Athos and specifically the monastery where his father was a monk, without knowing it.


He goes to the abbot of the monastery and asks to confess. After the confession, he asks the abbot:


– Father, I'm looking to find my father. He became a monk and for so many years, I don't know where he is. Can you help me?


The abbot understood whose son this child was and tried diligently to hide his tears of emotion and said to him:


- My child, sit here today and I will be informed and I will tell you tomorrow.


The abbot went to the monk - father of the son, to inform him and he says:


– My child, your little son has come to the monastery and is looking for you. Would you like to see him?

He, clearly moved and at the same time troubled, told him:


- Elder I saw my guardian angel and he revealed to me that in 3 days I am leaving for the other world! Tell my child that he will see me in 3 days! And when I sleep, then you will reveal to him, that I was his father!


Because I want to set a rule for myself, for everything I've done in my life...


The act of the monk, is an act of complete repentance and his refusal, not to see his child, is superior love!


The abbot went to the child, convinced him to stay another 3 days in the monastery. At the funeral that took place in 3 days, the son attended and confessed to the abbot:


- Old man, this is the first time I've seen such a funeral! This monk is a holy relic! This is a monk!


And when they buried him, the abbot made the great revelation to the son:


– My child, this monk... was your father!!!


Elder Ephraim of the Skete of Saint Andrew


Why do we light candles in church?


All Christians who go to church upon entering the church take candles and after lighting them place them in the designated places, candelabras, usually in front of the icons of the Saints. Many do not know what this act symbolizes. Some think they do it to financially support their parish church. Indeed, the temple is financially strengthened by the offering of the faithful, but behind the lighting of the candle there is a deeper symbolism.

Why, then, do we light candles?

We will cite the answers of two great saints and great theologians of our Church who explain this symbolism, Saint Symeon of Thessaloniki and Saint Nicodemus of Mount Athos (Agioritis). Each gives 6 reasons.

Saint Simeon tells us that we light the candle and symbolizes:

a. The purity of the soul, because the genuine candle is made from pure beeswax.

b. The malleability of our soul. Just as we easily carve what we want on the wax of the candle, so we carve the bad or the good in our soul.

c. The fragrance of Divine Grace, because the candle comes from fragrant flowers.

d. The purpose of the Christian's life which is likeness to God, i.e. deification. Because the believer is burning with this desire, he remembers it by lighting the candle and seeing its flame.

e. The light of Christ. As the light of the candle illuminates and dispels the darkness, so the light of Christ illuminates the lives of believers.

f. The love and peace that every Christian should have, because the candle comforts the man with his light in the darkness.

Saint Nicodemus the Saint tells us the following symbols.

We light candles:

a. That God may be glorified, who is the true and only light that enlightens every man.

b. To dispel the darkness of the night and comfort us from the fear of the dark.

c. To show that we have joy in our souls.

d. In honor of the saints and martyrs of our faith, thus imitating the first Christians who lit candles at the tombs of the Martyrs.

e. For our good works to be symbolized, according to the word of the Lord: "let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven".

f. For the forgiveness of sins of those who light a candle and those for whom they light it. That is why in many temples of different regions there are separate candelabras where candles are lit for the living and for the dead.

(St. Nicodemus Agioreitou, Eortodromion, p. 433)