The fragrance of Paradise
Some time ago, when I was visiting Mount Athos, I found myself, a younger priest at the time, in the steep cliffs of the remote site of Katounakia. There was a monk there who had reached a high level of holiness. He looked more like an angel than a human. His face shone with the grace of God. On this trip to Katounakia I had with me two Theology professors and a student from the school of Engineering. We found the Elder after a long ascent on the rocky site. He welcomed us with immense love and joy. “I have great joy,” he said. “A priest is visiting my cell!” We sat down and one of the professors asked: “Elder, can you tell us something about the scent of the Holy Spirit?”
The Elder became more thoughtful and asked: “What do you mean?”.
The professor said: “I am taking about the fragrance emitted by the Holy Relics and the sacred icons, can you please tell us about that?”
“Ah, ah,” said the Elder, and as he wondered how to answer, he bent his head, and silence spread everywhere. Then … oh, a scent flooded the whole place. I raised my eyes and saw that the eyes of the other three visitors were full of tears looking at me. The Elder kept his head bent. A sweetness flooded our hearts, a situation that reminded me what the great Apostle Paul wrote: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). The Elder lifted his head like a shy child and said, “Forgive me, I did not know how to explain it to you, so I asked God to show it to you.”
From the homily: “A Few Flowers from The garden of Saint John of Sinai” by Archimandrite Chrysostom, Abbot of the Holy Monastery Saint Nikodimos the Hagiorite located in Pentalofos Peonias at Kilkis Greece.
Translated by Margarita Pipinos