By Bishop Grigorios of Mesaoria
The Church commemorates today St. Porphyrios of Kafsokalivia, who was canonised on November 27, 2013.
Saint Porphyrios (baptized Evangelos Bairaktaris) was born on February 7, 1906, in the little village of Agios Ioannis Karystia, in the province of Evia. His parents were pious and devoutly religious. His family was large, so his father left for America to work on the construction of the Panama Canal.
Evangelos was the fourth out of five siblings. He was a shepherd and attended only the first grade of elementary school. He was forced to move to Chalkida due to poverty in order to work. He worked for three years in a shop. He then went to Piraeus, where he worked for two years at a relative’s grocery.
When he was twelve, he left for the Mount Athos, with the desire to follow the example of St. Ioannis the Kalyvite, whom he had loved much, when he read about his life. The grace of God led him to the Hut of Saint Georgios of Kafsokalivia. Saint Porphyrios devoted himself with great obedience to the two elderly brothers.
He was tonsured a monk at the age of fourteen and was given the name “Nikitas.” At the age of nineteen, due to illness, he had to leave Mount Athos forever. He returned to Evia, where he stayed at the Monastery of St. Charalambos in Lefkes. In 1926, he was ordained a priest in Kymi by Archbishop Porphyrios III of Mount Sinai and Raithu, who gave him the name “Porphyrios.”
In 1940, on the eve of World War II, Saint Porphyrius settled in Athens. He had settled in Kallissia in 1955, and in the summer of 1979, he moved to Milesi dreaming to establish a monastery. In 1984, he was transferred to a monastery under construction. Although very ill and blind, Saint Porphyrios worked tirelessly for the completion of the monastery.
In June 1991, not wanting to be buried with honors, he went to the Hut of St. Georgios at Kausokalyvia of Mount Athos, where he had been tonsured a monk about 70 years ago. On the morning of December 2, 1991, he fell asleep in the Lord.
Source: Church of Cyprus