Thursday, July 2, 2009

Isaac the Athonite, part II

Continued from part I.

The liveliness of his spirit and the zeal that Fares showed in his studies certainly encouraged the hegumen Yuhanna to authorize him to expand his studies, which he did by enrolling at the school attached to the Patriarchal Monastery of the Dormition of the Mother of God at Balamand in the region of Koura, North Lebanon. He thus found himself under the authority of +Ignatius (Hazim, the current Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Antioch and all the Orient) who was at that time bishop and superior of the monastery.

He was ordained deacon with the name Phillip at the monastery dedicated to the Holy Greatmartyr Jacob the Persian at Deddeh in Koura in 1963, by the laying on of the hands of +Elias (Kourban), metropolitan of the diocese of Tripoli and Koura, under whom was the monastery of Bkeftin to which he was attached. He was noticed throughout that period for his attentiveness at prayer, his carrying out what he was entrusted to do in peace and with much zeal, and his obedience to his superiors.

Providence, as usual, used local circumstances and caused him to leave the school of Balamand to head to Patmos in Greece in 1968, where he received the diploma sanctioning the end of his secondary studies.

He then persued his desire to deepen his knowledge of scripture by becoming a student at the faculty of theology at Thessolonica, where he served as a deacon at the Cathedral of Saint Dimitrios, patron of the city. It should be noted that he was known for having a very beautiful voice, which attracted many of the faithful to hear the Antiochian deacon chant and say the litanies in Arabic and Greek.

But the most important event for him during this time was that he became acquainted with the Holy Mountain of Athos and with the monastic life that was cultivated in that garden of the Mother of God. There in particular he met the one who would become his spiritual father, the Elder Paissios (+ June 12, 1994).


peter said...


I took the Ochlophobist's recommendation and visited your blog. After reading a bit, I decided it would be a friendly gesture to point out the collection of photos from Lebanon and Syria which I have posted on Flickr, and to encourage you to use them on your blog in any way you please. And then, out of curiosity, I clicked through the hyper-link you created for Baskinta and found one of my own photos!

Thank you for your new undertaking.

- peter (aka phool 4 XC)

Hilarius said...


Thank you for starting this 'blog. I linked off of Owen's new link a day ago or so when I saw it and was pleased to see you are writing and I look forward to your further postings.

I wondered - do you have any thoughts on the distinction between the terms أسقفية and أبرشية (Eparchy) used in the clarification from the Antiochian Patriarchate? Nominally I'd say they can both be translated into English as "diocese" although obviously أسقفية is a modification of the word for "Bishop" and I suppose one might argue that it simply means his office (the word appears to be a borrowing from the Greek episcopos whereas أبرشية is a borrowing of Greek eparchy). Is there a true technical distinction and can أسقفية be rendered a physical diocese, or may it also refer to just office?

Just wondering - feel free to reply to my posting of this morning over at Forty Days.

Warm regards,

- Eric John

Samn! said...

Hi Peter,

I really appreciate you letting me use your photos... ex-post-facto, as it is..... I hope using the link before asking wasn't a breach of etiquette. Forgive me if it was. But, I'll definitely take you up on your offer. Especially for some of the smaller monasteries in Lebanon, there aren't that many photos I can quickly find online.

Many thanks!

peter said...

Hi Samn!

Fair-use and Flickr go hand in hand, and a simple link to the main Flickr page will never be problematic. Embedding a photo on a blog is also permitted under the Flickr terms of use, as long as there's a link back to the original Flickr page.

I spent most of my time in Lebanon at the Balamand, but I did have a chance to visit some of the monasteries. I also got to Syria and Egypt, which may also be of interest. (Oh, and a day in Antioch.) Another good source for photos of Lebanese church life on Flickr is my friend Amanda.

- peter