Today, May 9th, 2019, Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra reposed in the Lord. He was a grace-filled preacher and spiritual guide to many throughout the world.
“Fr Aimilianos was born in 1934, and as a priest and theologian he attracted a following of like-minded men and women, some of whom later joined him in renewing one of the monasteries at Meteora. As a young monk and priest, he had a profound vision of the light of God, which enfolded him during the Divine Liturgy. ‘Henceforth every Divine Liturgy, prepared for by a long vigil, was a sublime experience of God’s glory.’ His charism was to be able to attract others to share in this commitment to contemplative worship and to deepen their life in Christ. These addresses are just the tip of the iceberg of a remarkable ministry of teaching and spiritual formation, not least among young people. The monastery attracts many pilgrims to this day.
“Early in the 1970s tourism was making such inroads at Meteora, where the monasteries perch on high and hitherto inaccessible rocks, that contemplative monastic life was becoming impossible. So Elder Aimilianos and his companions responded to a call to revitalize the ageing brotherhood of Simonopetra, itself perched on a vast rock nearly 1,000 feet above the sea on the Holy Mountain. On 26 November 1973 Elder Aimilianos was elected abbot of the monastery: this proved to be one of the decisive turning points in the renewal of monastic life on Mount Athos. In 1974 his community of nuns migrated to recreate the monastery of Ormylia in Halkidiki, across the water from the Holy Mountain itself and nearer Thessaloniki. In 1995, however, Elder Aimilianos began to fall ill, and in 2000 he retired from active supervision of the two monasteries.
Throughout his abbacy he proved a true spiritual elder to his flock: ‘like an overflowing spring, the elder ceaselessly poured himself out to his disciples, offering his words to them with all the magnificent prodigality of divine love.’ He kindled many vocations to the priesthood and the monastic life, and his spiritual influence was, and is, felt far from the Holy Mountain. In the words of the present abbot…
‘Elder Aimilianos was our guide, teacher, and father in Christ, and remains so to this day. We lived with him for many years, travelling together in the way of the Spirit. The discourses collected in this volume give expression to his personal experience of God, which was always real, living and dynamic. We believe that they will fill you with joyful hope.'”
May we have his blessing and may he have a blessed Paradise in our risen Lord!