A Life Changed By Icons – Vasily Tomachinsky, USA & Germany



A Life Changed By Icons


Vasily Tomachinsky, USA & Germany





—Please tell us about your background and your journey to the Orthodox Church.

My name is Cliff (Isaac in Orthodox Baptism) Gardner, and this is my background. I was raised in a Protestant Southern Baptist family. We were in the military; my father was in the U.S. Air Force. I have four brothers, a family of five boys, and we moved all over the world. We lived most our lives in America and then in Germany, where I was as a teenager. No matter where my parents moved, they always found a Southern Baptist church, including in Puerto Rico, where I was born, and Germany, where our German pastor was Southern Baptist!

I grew up in Miami, Florida where my mother was from, so we moved back to Miami after my father retired from the Air Force. Miami is where I went to high school. It was when I was in the high school that I felt called to be a missionary. I wanted to be a Protestant missionary/Bible translator in Indonesia. So I went to a Bible school in Chicago called the Moody Bible Institute—a famous Bible school. I studied Bible-Theology/Greek; it was at Moody where I first started to interact with people from the Muslim world. I was very attracted to working with Muslims. I ended up going to the University of Illinois at Chicago where I Continue reading “A Life Changed By Icons – Vasily Tomachinsky, USA & Germany”


Η θαυμαστή μεταστροφή μίας Ρωμαιοκαθολικής Γερμανίδας από τον Άγιο Πατάπιο στο Λουτράκι



Η θαυμαστή μεταστροφή μίας

Ρωμαιοκαθολικής Γερμανίδας από τον Άγιο Πατάπιο στο Λουτράκι

Ο Γέροντας Μαρτινιανός από την Καλύβη «Άγιοι Πάντες», στην Καψάλα, της Ι. Μονής Παντοκράτορος, είχε συγγενή μετανάστη στη Δ. Γερμανία, από την οποία πριν λίγα χρόνια επέστρεψε ως συνταξιούχος. Ο συγγενής του ονομάζεται Γεώργιος Ζ. και στη Γερμανία ενυμφεύτηκε Γερμανίδα σύζυγο Ρωμαιοκαθολική, χωρίς εκείνη να βαπτισθεί πριν με το Ορθόδοξο Βάπτισμα. Ετέλεσαν, βέβαια, γάμο σε Ορθόδοξο Ι. Ναό και τα δύο παιδιά τους τα βάπτισαν με το Ορθόδοξο Βάπτισμα, αλλά η σύζυγος παρέμεινε Ρωμαιοκαθολική, αν και εκκλησιαζόταν και σε Ορθόδοξους Ναούς.

Αφού επέστρεψαν στην Ελλάδα, το καλοκαίρι του 1985 πήγαν για παραθερισμό στο Λουτράκι Λορινθίας και από εκεί ανέβηκαν μια μέρα και στη Μονή του Οσίου Παταπίου να προσκυνήσουν τον Όσιο. Πρώτος εισήλθε στο Ι. Σπήλαιο ο σύζυγος, ο οποίος και προσκύνησε. Αλλά ενώ εισήλθε και η Ρωμαιοκαθολική σύζυγος και επλησίασε να προσκυνήσει, ευρέθηκε κάτω λιπόθυμη! Την έπιασε αμέσως στα χέρια του ο σύζυγος και με τη βοήθεια και άλλων παρευρισκομένων προσκυνητών την έβγαλαν έξω και τη βοηθούσαν να συνέλθει. Αφού συνήλθε, την ερώτησαν τι της συνέβη, κι εκείνη με έκπληξη απάντησε:

«Καλά δεν είδατε, δεν ακούσατε; Ο Άγιος με έσπρωξε και μου είπε: “Πώς εσύ, αιρετική, με πλησιάζεις;”»

Και από τη στιγμή αυτή μόνη της ζήτησε να βαπτισθεί Ορθόδοξη, όπως και έγινε ύστερα από σχετική κατήχησή της στην Ενορία της.

Τώρα πια ως Ορθόδοξη επισκέπτεται με ευλάβεια το Ι. Σπήλαιο του Οσίου και προσκυνεί το Ι. Λείψανο με πόθο και ευγνωμοσύνη. Γιατί αφότου έλαβε το Ορθόδοξο Βάπτισμα, αισθάνεται άλλος άνθρωπος!

«Όταν προσεύχομαι», μας είπε, «αισθάνομαι το Θεό δικό μου, Πατέρα μου, ενώ πριν δεν αισθανόμουν τίποτε. Τώρα ανάβω το καντήλι στο Εικονοστάσι, ετοιμάζω πρόσφορο, μεταλαμβάνω, διαβάζω βίους Αγίων και η ψυχή μου αισθάνεται το Θεό κοντά της. Να, πώς να σας το πω; Κάτι πολύ διαφορετικό από πριν, μια βεβαιότητα ότι είμαι κοντά στο Θεό. Και αυτό το οφείλω στον Άγιο Πατάπιο, που τον ευχαριστώ».

Πηγή: Απόσπασμα από το βιβλίο «ΒΙΟΣ ΚΑΙ ΘΑΥΜΑΤΑ ΤΟΥ ΟΣΙΟΥ ΠΑΤΡΟΣ ΗΜΩΝ ΠΑΤΑΠΙΟΥ ΤΟΥ ΘΑΥΜΑΤΟΥΡΓΟΥ», έκδοση της Ιεράς Μονής Λουτρακίου

“We have to return to our Roots” – A conversation with Fr. Gabriel Bunge from Switzerland & Nun Cornelia Rees




“We have to return to our Roots”

A conversation with Fr. Gabriel Bunge from Switzerland


Nun Cornelia Rees





About fifteen years ago, I had a unique opportunity to visit the hermitage of a Catholic priest-monk and theologian in the mountains of Switzerland. He was well known for his writings on the holy fathers of the early Christian Church, and no less well known for his unusual—from the modern, Western point of view—monastic lifestyle. Somewhat familiar with how Catholic monasteries generally look today, I was not expecting to feel so at home as an Orthodox monastic in his Catholic hermitage.

After ascending a wooded mountain path to a small dwelling among the trees, we were greeted by an austere looking, elderly man, his gray beard flowing over black robes. His head was covered by a hood bearing a red cross embroidered over the forehead. It was as if we had been transported to the Egyptian desert, to behold St. Anthony the Great. As he and his co-struggler Fr. Raphael treated us to tea, we talked about the Church, East and West, and about the Russian Orthodox Church. But there was no talk of them joining that Church—it would have been uncomfortable to even mention it.

We felt that we had come into brief contact with a monk who was one with us in spirit, although he was not in our Church, and we parted with joy at this pleasant revelation while Fr. Gabriel made the sign of the cross over us in the Orthodox manner.

Fr. Gabriel never had and still does not have electronic communication with the outside world, and we heard very little from or about him after our visit. Nevertheless we did not forget him, and in the intervening time we never ceased to think how good it would be if he were in communion with us, the Orthodox. But never would we have tried to approach this subject with him—we somehow felt that God was guiding him as He sees fit.

Fr. Raphael, a Swiss, has since passed away, and Fr. Gabriel is the abbot and sole monk of what is now the Monastery of the Holy Cross, part of the Russian Orthodox Church. He was baptized Orthodox on the eve of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Moscow, August 2010. He is now Schema-Archimandrite Gabriel.

Recently in Moscow on a very demanding schedule, Fr. Gabriel still took the time to talk with us.


—Fr. Gabriel, although you have talked about your life in other interviews, tell us again a little about yourself.

—In live in Roveredo, a tiny village of about 100 inhabitants. My monastery is above the village in the woods, in the mountains of the Lugano region, the Italian part of Switzerland.

—You had been Catholic from childhood?

—Yes, but not a practicing Catholic all my life. My father was Lutheran, and my mother Catholic, and I was baptized Catholic. But as it often happens in these cases, neither of my parents practiced their religions. Neither my father nor mother went to church. And so neither did I. But as young people always go their own way, I rediscovered the faith of my Baptism. At first I went to the Continue reading ““We have to return to our Roots” – A conversation with Fr. Gabriel Bunge from Switzerland & Nun Cornelia Rees”