"My children, I don't want Paradise without you..."
St. Amphilochios of Patmos lived a life of incredible range. He was a priest-monk given over to mystical prayer, often suffused with the uncreated light. He was an ecologist who reforested his desert-like island and encouraged his spiritual children to love trees and plant trees. St. Amphilochios entered the contest for social and political right, contesting with two different foreign occupiers of his country, each of which longed for the cultural and religious genocide of his people. And yet he defended his cause always with mildness and love for his persecutors.
The saint loved education and taught himself to read the special calligraphy of ancient Byzantine manuscripts. He loved the poor and was always concerned to share with those in need. He was both a solitary ascetic and a builder of the communal monastic life. He was a traditionalist who empowered the women of his and nearby islands with education and organization of their social work.
One of the interviewees for our movie told us a touching story of the time when a very young St. Amphilochios was speaking with his spiritual father, the then-quite old St. Nektarios. “I wish,” said the young saint, “that I could help everyone to become a monk, and that I could fill the whole world with monasteries!” And, the story goes, St. Nektarios laughed gently, “But then, my child, the world would end and there would be no one to continue the human race.” Such was the saint's simple thought, which sprang from his pure heart, full of gratitude for the life he had been called to.
St. Amphilochios of Patmos (1898-1970) was one of the most lovely, interesting, and holy men of our age. I close with one of his great quotes: “Prayer without love is like a bird without wings. It seems good and beautiful, but it can’t fly…”
In order for others to learn about the saint, please consider supporting The Patmos Film about St Amphilochios on Kickstarter. It's all or nothing--if we don't reach our goal by September 6th--we won't receive any of the pledged funds.