Venerable Philotheus of Dionysiou of Mt Athos

Saint Philotheus of Dionysiou, Mt. Athos was a native of Elateia. Fearing the Turks, his parents moved away to Chrysopolis in Macedonia, where his father soon died. The child Philotheus and his brother were snatched by the Turks and thrown into prison.

They were delivered in a miraculous manner by the Mother of God Herself. She appeared to the children in the image of their mother and led them to the monastery of the Most Holy Theotokos in the city of Neapolis in Asia Minor. At this monastery the brothers accepted monastic tonsure. By progressing through the obediences assigned by the igumen they attained the position of ecclesiarchs.

Meanwhile, Eudokia, the mother of St Philotheus, had herself settled into a women’s monastery in this same city, through the mysterious guidance of Divine Providence, and for many years knew absolutely nothing of the fate of her children. Visiting a men’s monastery with several other nuns for a temple Feastday, Eudokia recognized her sons. In answer to her question about how they chanced to be there they replied, “You know, for you yourself freed us from the Turks and led us from prison.” Thus Eudokia became convinced of the intercession of the Mother of God, for it had only been in prayers to the Theotokos that she had found any consolation. The brethren, learning of the joyful reunion of the mother and her sons, as well as their miraculous deliverance, gathered around them and glorified the Lord.

Upon the repose of his mother, St Philotheus went to the Holy Mountain. He joined the brethren of the Dionysiou monastery, and then withdrew into complete solitude. Devoting himself to deeds of prayer, St Philotheus attained high spiritual perfection and was granted the gift of clairvoyance.

At the age of eighty-four the venerable one peacefully fell asleep in the Lord. Before his death he bade his disciples not to bury his body, but rather to cast it dishonorably into the forest to be eaten by beasts and birds. His disciples fulfilled the wish of their Elder, but the Lord glorified his relics of the saint with a wondrous radiance, after which his relics were returned to the monastery.