Christ is Everything – Elder Porphyrios

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A teaching from Elder Porphyrios, as originally recorded on tape

During the last years of his earthly life, Elder Porphyrios  frequently left the Convent where he was convalescing and went to a remote area in Evia, near the Aegean Sea. He was escorted by one or two people who took care of him for he was feeble and blind. Every time he went there he stayed for two or three days but seldom more than that. Since there was no lodging there, he would spend the night in an isolated country chapel or in an automobile. He often spoke to the people who were with him about the spiritual life in Christ. These people recorded his words on tape, out of love for him. The beginning and end of these taped messages are often missing because the tape recorder was not always handy. One of the best pieces that was saved was produced by the Convent on cassette with the Elder’s voice. The transcription of the tape is published here.

The conversation that follows took place in July, 1988, at three in the morning in a remote country chapel.

The Elder: He is everywhere. Now you explain that. I can’t explain it. I’m just telling you, wherever you’re thinking about St. Anthony and we could now be thinking about him here, others could think about him in Thebais, others in Egypt, others in Jerusalem, others on Sinai. At this hour he is here, and there, and there, and there! What do you say?

Somebody: He’s everywhere because he’s in divine grace.

The Elder:
Yes, he is in the spiritual world. And although we are Christians, we know nothing, children, nothing we don’t know anything about Christ!

Somebody: That’s true.

The Elder:
….And we live, poor old things, and we read the merest word and it’s beautiful. We say, “this Father spoke well and that Father spoke well. What’s his name? So-and- so. Beautiful! Beautiful!” It’s all Beautiful! But, in spite of this, we remain in our indolence and foolishness and we live without Christ.

Christ is something else. When Christ comes to Man, when he comes to our soul, when Christ goes to Man, when he enters into the soul, the soul becomes different. He lives everywhere, he lives in the stars, he lives in the spiritual world, he lives in the emptiness of space, in the universe, he lives… They speak to him by “telephone” from South Africa, from the Indian Ocean and he speaks to them and talks about their houses, their daughters, their family even though he is here. Do you understand?

Now, you’ll think that by telling you these things I’m something special. I’m nothing. But I try. And from what I’m telling you it’s a bit like experiencing it, just a little bit. I make an effort…I want to be…I love to be in love with Christ. I don’t want to get there by rushing myself. But I often live through it with God’s grace, without saying anything. I’m not allowed to say it. Well, whatever I am allowed to say, I say, but I can’t speak about all these things. Well then, life without Christ isn’t life. That’s that. If you don’t see Christ in all the things you do and think, then you are without Christ.  How did we say it? Do you understand? There’s a song that goes:  “With Christ everywhere, fear is nowhere.”  Have you ever heard it? Eh? It’s sung by children, I don’t remember it all.
Well then, really this is the way we should see Christ. He is our friend, our brother; he is whatever is good and beautiful. He is Everything. Yet, he is still a friend, and he shouts it out, “You’re my friends, don’t you understand that. We’re brothers. I’m not….I don’t hold hell in my hand. I’m not threatening you. I love you. I want you to enjoy life together with me.” Do you understand?

With Christ it’s like that. One is not downcast, has no sadness, no internalizing of problems, which Man thinks about or is tormented by the different idle thoughts and afflictions, that have wounded him from time to time, in his life.

Christ is new life. How can I say it? Christ is everything. He is joy, he is life, he is light. He is the true light who makes Man joyful, makes him soar with happiness; makes him see everything, everybody; makes him feel for everyone, to want everyone with him, everyone with Christ.

When we find some treasure or whatever else, we don’t want to tell anybody. The Christian, on the other hand, when he finds Christ, when he knows Christ, when Christ dwells within his own little soul and he feels Him, he wants to shout and tell it everywhere; he wants to talk about Christ, to say what Christ is, he wants to say- love Christ and put nothing before His Love. Christ is Everything, He is the source of life, the ultimate desire, he is everything. Everything beautiful is in Christ.

And afar from Christ: sadness, sorrow, worry, nervous tension, recollections of life’s wounds, its pressures, its anxieties, such times. When we are far away from Christ, we live through all these things. We wander around, going from here to there, for nothing, we stand still nowhere. Wherever we find Christ, even if it is in a cave, we stay there and are afraid to leave, afraid of losing Christ. Read about it and see. Ascetics, who knew Christ, didn’t want to leave their caves, not even for a little fresh air. They wanted to be there, where they felt Christ was with them. Christ is Everything. Christ is the fountain of life, of joy. He is Everything. How do you see it, Nick?

Someone: Those things that you said, Elder, are golden words. That’s the way things are, just like you put it.

The Elder: Yes, but that is the way we’re called to live, when we say we’re Christians, when we say we are Christ’s. Do you understand? Whatever it is, in our moments of weakness too, as soon as we see Christ, our attitude changes and we want to be with Christ. Because Christ is our friend, he is our brother. He shouts it out, “You are my friends; I don’t want you to look at me differently. I don’t want you to look at me in that way, that I am God, I am the Word of God, I am a Hypostasis (Person) of the Holy Trinity. I want you to see me as one of your own, as your friend. I want you to embrace me. I want you to feel me in your souls. ME, your friend, who, in truth, is the fountain of life.

That, however, is the truth of the matter. Now, we’ve said that Satan exists, hell exists, and death exists. All of these things exist, they really do. It’s the other part, it’s evil, it’s darkness, it all belongs to darkness.

Somebody who is Christ’s must love Christ, and when he loves Christ he is delivered from the Devil, from hell and from death. You’ll say to me, have you reached that point yet? I haven’t reached it, it’s what 1 want, what I’m looking for. In my silence and always, I try to live like that. I don’t live like that. But, eh…I try. That is to say…how can I tell you about it? I haven’t gone to a certain place, that is…or rather I went there once, I saw it, now I’m not there, but I remember it, I long for it, I want it. There, even now, this moment, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, every moment it comes to me, and I want it, I seek it. I want to go there. I am not there now though. I can’t explain it to you. Do you understand?  Yes, but I live within this effort. Tell me I’m silly. Tell me that these things aren’t spoken about, Elder, whoever tries, doesn’t speak, but calls upon divine grace to help him. Well, yes, but if someone has gone crazy he’ll speak. Craziness also exists…… (Praying: “Lord…”) Hmm, I told you…. (He Changes the tone) Where is…. Has he left?


Someone: Yes, he went outside.

The Elder: What, now you went over there to catch it? Why did you record that? It’s just some foolishness.

Someone: Ah, Elder, ninety percent of Christians, either we’re not true Christians or we simply remain in wonder and admiration. And we say that it was well said by St. Ephraim or St. Isaac the Syrian, it was well said by Saint by St. John of the Ladder. We at least remain there. But beyond that nothing, no effort is made, eh….that’s why all of us have been tormented by anguish, anxiety and worry.

The Elder: Eh, yes, but you say, how? That’s it. How can I be there if I’m here? The problem exists only until Christ comes to live with you. Then you’re everywhere, with Christ. That’s our trouble, we don’t have Christ.

The Elder: Regarding these things…make an effort and in this way (a few words, that can’t be made out) we may feel them, live through them and make them become a reality. Our friend! our brother! How he shouts it out though! And how much. What depth is hidden in it! Great depth. In other words it’s courage. Christ does not want fear. He doesn’t want fear. Eh? The Apostles -how gently!- He didn’t force them, he left them alone…up until the end, poor souls! They were frightened, they locked themselves in. They did…eeh, What’s the matter with us? Eh, the Spirit: that is what went, that is what made them perfect. Grace made them perfect. Eh, what do you say? Isn’t that right?

Somebody: Yes, Elder….

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