The Athonite Pilgrim’s Guide – Father Theologos24 May 2022
And yet…who created the world?29 May 2022
Watch Father Pimen who tells us about the various temptations but also about the help of Mr. George Becali in the construction of the cell in which we are now.
Look my dear ones, we are seeing each other again! Christ is Risen!
I’m sitting in a place that is dear to me. I don’t know…from what I’ve seen you might be seeing me a bit dark because I have the light behind me, and that’s why; but it doesn’t really matter. You’ve seen me more clearly in other recordings. Look over here, it is full of roses! And further back, if you can see a little bit, there is the fig tree loaded with figs. They’re not ripe yet.
And a little further on – a cherry tree. As I told you last time, this is where I built that first small house where the first four workers that we had stayed. Well, that little house, afterwards, I turned it into my cell, just like I had at St. Artemius. I used to call it a hut; it’s actually a little house. And here I am somewhere high, there is a sort of little terrace, I have a small heating station, and it’s higher, a place where I sit sometimes… it’s quiet and beautiful. And right in front here, you see, I have roses, since I love flowers… I’ve put hanging roses here, which are very beautiful. And now they’re really blooming!
Yes. And let’s pick up where we left off. Last time I told you that I took this place of the cell of The Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple and I will continue [from there]. At first we started building the walls; because the monastery told us that we had to build the walls that support the mountain and then build the cell. Because, they said, otherwise the mountain will come down. And we started with the walls. For two years we worked only on the walls. So, roughly, as an idea, let me tell you: about 60 of those big cars full of stones – big rocks – were brought to us here; which we smashed up and made as we needed them to be in order to use them in the walls. Walls that are 3m high, 100m long and 1m thick.
So as I told you, it was Mr. Becali at the beginning, then he came again. Well every time he came he said:
“You aren’t doing anything here! Look, I help you with what I can. Walls, walls… but where’s the house? Where’s the church? I am helping you to make the house.”
I said, “Well, be patient, I have to build the walls first!”
He said, “Look, everywhere you can see they have started, the others are doing something, they are building houses, but you only have walls.”
I said, “What can I do? That’s the situation…”
For two years we kept building walls. And when we finished the walls, we started on the house. Nice! We consecrated a place, we dug the foundation – we consecrated the place, we laid the foundation stone as they say – put those bricks everywhere – and we started. We started in the spring. So when Mr. Becali had been here last, there was just the hole that was dug, there was nothing. When he came back the second time, we were already at the roof. And right in the basement as it were, we had also made the bread oven. And the cook had made then, (he was one of the workers we had – because there were at least 10 workers) an oven full of sweet bread, with some kind of cheese rolls, it wasn’t a fasting day, so there was something warm, something good! And when Mr. Becali came, we served it to him, directly from the oven made by us.
He said, “Well, now you’re talking! Now we’re getting somewhere!
I said, “Well, what could we do, that was the situation.”
And we built all the way to the roof in the first year. That is, we built everything, including the stone outer wall and everything! I know that, I remember, he even said to give the measures, – not only to us, but to the whole Skete for all the cells that were being built – for the wood we needed. Because we needed oak wood for the roof; we were in need of this other kind of wood and he sent us 6 truckloads of wood from Romania.
He sent a man out there in the woods and he picked out which trees, exactly, and cut the wood we needed! And I went to Thessaloniki, I had gone out the day before, I had some work to do, after which I had to rent one of those big ships from Ouranoupoli that would fit 6 lorries, to bring the ship to St. Paul’s, where the port was, and from there to bring the wood here. Of course, we would unload there because those 17m lorries couldn’t get to us on the roads we have. We had to unloaded them at the port of St. Paul’s and then to transport them with cars from there. In cars – trucks – that could be handled here in Athos.
And just the day before, I don’t remember the exact day, being in Thessaloniki, I went to an office, I had to do something for 2 minutes let’s say, or 5 minutes. I was in a small car, I parked it out front. When I finished and went out, I looked at the car: I see something strange, something thrown on the hood of the car “What is it?” I say.
When I look, I didn’t have any license places on my car! My license plates had been taken! Because I had somehow double parked there, in that spot, as there were no spaces, I parked it in that way. What could I do?
I started to ask where I could get my license plates back. Someone said, “Well, over there at the police station.”
And I had even found a policeman by the train station, because I had gone searching.
I said, “Where is the police station?” I didn’t even know.
He said, “I’m just transferred here for a while, I am from another city, but I’ll take you there to ask, let’s see… “
He was a very decent kind of cop. And I walked with him, it was about half a mile to where the police station was. We went there and at the entrance he asked them.
He said, “Look, the father had his license plates taken, can he talk to someone?”
They said, “Well, only with the boss’ approval he can get them back, if not, he has to wait…”
I don’t know how long it was, about 3 weeks and you had to pay about 200 Euros for that.
And he asks: “Where’s the boss?”
“Oh, he’s away, he’s not here.”
We spent about two hours there. Nothing! [They were] telling us that the boss is away, and so on…
And then he, [the policeman], said:
“I know where his office is, I’ve been here before and it’s on the 6th floor. Let’s go around these guys when they’re not paying attention, we’ll go straight up to his office and see, is he really away?!”
So we were in that waiting room, and when they weren’t paying attention, we quickly took the elevator and went up. We went to the 6th floor and went straight into the office. The boss was sitting at his desk drinking his coffee. And he started laughing when he saw us. He knew about us, but the man was relaxed. He wanted to see how much patience we had or who knows… And of course, I explained to him what the situation was… that they had been taken, how it had been a few minutes…
He said, “Okay. It will be resolved.”
He was laughing. He was one who used to come to the Monastery of St. Paul. He had a connection somewhat. And…
But he said, “But the license plates haven’t gotten here yet, because the guy who took them is collecting them all day.”
Because it’s different here in Greece, it’s not like in our country where they tow your car. If you park illegally, or something, they take your license plates. They unscrew them, put them in their bag and they collect hundreds of license plates per day. And then it costs you more to take them back then it does in our country for the parking when they take your car and you pay to get it back.
And he [the boss] called them, “Look, give the father the license plates” but the ones who were receiving them said that would happen when [the man collecting them] came. He was only going to arrive in the evening, to bring them all.
In the meantime, the police had closed the station, everyone had left, as it was closing time. And in the evening the man with the license plates came, he looked for the ones that were mine, I signed for them and took them back. So he gave them to me, he was a nice guy, but it took a bit of patience there. I needed them because the next morning at 5am I had to get the cars on the ship – 6 lorries. And can you imagine: it was evening, I was in Thessaloniki without license plates on my car, I couldn’t get to Ouranoupoli, because from there it takes almost 3 hours to get to Ouranoupoli. And so, when everything was settled, I got in the car, came to Ouranoupoli, we started loading the trucks on the ship at about 3am, and at 5am we left with them.
I know that at that time, the man who was in charge, who was in charge on the ship with all the organization of the ship, was a very nice man. And I think the 3 hours that we sailed with the boat from there, – because it was all the way from Tripiti to St. Paul’s with the trucks – I spoke with him continuously. He was a kind hearted man. I spoke with him, and I know that at one point, he was crying like a child, I was telling him different things from Athos. So we became very good friends. And even after so many years since then, when we meet, we meet like two good friends, as they say, with love, always. He came here once after that when he could, a very warm hearted man. I liked him and I told you, there was a bond formed between us. Yes!
And that’s how we brought the wood here, – also donated by Mr Becali – for all the Skete that was being built, 6 big lorries. In that wood there was everything we needed for the roof, because here the roofs are covered with stone. This is the law of Athos. And that means you need thick oak beams and an oak bedding on top to withstand the weight of the stone. Yes! And that’s how we got the wood.
After that, what else did Mr. Becali send us? A truckload of terracotta, to make terracotta stoves, for all the places in Athos. He sent a lot, I don’t know for how many stoves. We, too, in every room made terracotta stoves. Even though we have heaters. But we made small stoves to be there, for the times when the heaters don’t work, when the heaters can’t cope – let there be a stove! So these were also from him.
After that, what he thought was, as he kept coming here, since he would come, he would go, he saw what it means to not have a means of transport here.
He said, “Buy something! Either one of those big tractors with all the options on it, or a truck or something. Well, then some of the fathers went and spoke to the monastery, and the monastery said, “We don’t allow trucks there, there are trucks here (they had other employees who had trucks), get one of these big tractors with everything on it: with a front bucket, with something for digging, with a trailer, all that… and have it, for the needs of the Skete.
Of course… the fathers who were from other cells went to Thessaloniki, they searched, they found a tractor with all the options, with everything on it, the cost of all that, if I remember correctly was 100,000 – 120,000 euros for the tractor complete with everything. Of course, they thought, one of them also being a good driver, “OK, let’s go to Mr. Becali so that he may give us the money to buy it!” And they go to him, they explain the situation that it had been approved by the monastery, what they found…
Mr. Becali looked at them like this and said, “I will give it to you on one condition: [That is], if Father Pimen will take care of it!”
And that’s how I found myself with the fathers who had previously decided to take care of the tractor coming to me and saying, “Look what Mr. Becali said. Can you take care of it? Because then he will give us the money to buy it.”
I said, “Well, if that’s what he said, look, I have a father who is a good driver. He also knows tractors. Of course!”
And then Mr. Becali approved it. He sent the money and they bought the tractor and we found ourselves with the tractor in our backyard as they say. We didn’t even care, we were just minding our business. Since then, we use it and help others with it.
So, yes! As you can see, Mr. Becali has helped us a lot. We could say that he is the main founder of our cell. I mean, he helped us quite a lot. About half of everything done here was with the help of Mr. Becali. I’ll tell you about the rest as I go along. Others helped also to a lesser extent. Because after that, Mr. Becali had his difficulties – you know what he went through – and he couldn’t help so much. And we went ahead with the construction. We got to and built up the roof of beams, roofing felt on top to keep the rain off. And we will continue with all the rest.
I’ll stop here, that’s about all for now. After that, when we get to it, I’ll tell you about other things about miracles, about all! I’ll try to limit things to keep it short. Because there are many things, I try to remember them as they happened, because the years pass by and some of them are forgotten. But there are wonderful and beautiful things. The Mother of God has always made her presence felt here, and not only her, but many saints! I’ve told you before in some of the videos for those of you who have seen them, some of the miracles. But now I think I’ll go back to them in time, to go through the history of the cell as it was built.
May the Mother of God help us and keep us in her protection.
God help us!
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