George (Karslidis) of Drama
Our righteous father George (Karslidis) the New Confessor of Drama (π. Γεώργιος Καρσλίδης ) was born in Argyroupolis, Pontos in 1901 of pious parents, Savva Karslides and Sophia. At baptism he received the name Athanasius. He is known to have been in Georgia, Armenia, and Russia before spending most of his life in the village of Sipsa (now identified as Taxiarches) in Drama of Northern Greece. He established a small monastery there and slept in the Lord November 4, 1959. He was glorified by the Patriarchate of Constantinople on November 2, 2008 at the Monastery of the Ascension in Sipsa. The elder was well known for his miracles and prophecies. The church commemorates his memory November 4. He is one of few saints known to bear an imprint of the sign of the cross on his skull.
While still being an infant, he was left orphaned and his grandparents looked after him and his two siblings; a brother and a sister. His brother did not treat him very well. Noticing that this was a problem his grandparents gave him to a Turkish family to look after him at an early age. When he was seven years old, his grandmother, being a devout Christian, took him on a pilgrimage to an ancient and famous monastery in the Pontos area; the Panagia Soumela.
In 1930, he permanently settled in the village of Sipsa in Drama, where he had quite a few acquaintances such as his first cousin, Elder Gregory Kiourtsides. He did not have much of an estate bringing only a few previous items; a few ecclesiastical books, priestly vestments, icons and a portion of the relics of his sister Anna.
In 1936, the Elder went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He visited many monasteries and also visited the Jordan River. At one of the hermitages near the Monastery of St. Savva he met in a wondrous way an ascetic who was his uncle. God enlightened the ascetic and revealed to him that the young clergyman passing by was his nephew.
In 1938, the Ministry of Agriculture granted four stremmata of land to the Elder. With the assistance of the villagers he built a little church, dedicated to the Nativity of the Theotokos. With the ever present help of the inhabitants, the construction of the monastery took place in the following year until eventually the consecration of the monastery church took place September 14, 1939.
In 1941, the Bulgarians captured the elder and led him to be butchered. He followed without protest and when they arrived at the place, he prayed and with calmness asked them to proceed with their work. They abandoned him out of fear and ran away.
- "If you pray without giving alms, your prayer is dead. Your hands should always be open. Give alms to orphans and widows. Alms and prayers go together."
- "Strive to intensify your faith, and during the Divine Liturgy be undistracted and attached to the celebration of the service so that you might be granted to behold the majesties of God."
- "Neither should wealth impress you, nor honor, but always walk justly. Eat your bread with your honorable sweat and not through unjust means. The things you gain honorably, do not squander aimlessly. Live honorably and humbly, and as much as possible extend your hands in charity.... Knock on the doors of the poor, the sick, the orphans. You should prefer the homes of the afflicted to the homes of the joyous. If you do good works, you will have a great reward from God."
- "Love all your fellow men, even your enemies. This is the most basic thing. Always love not only those who love us, but also those who hate us. Let us forgive them and love them all even if they have done us the greatest evil; then we are truly children of God. Then our own sins are also forgiven...Always preach love. This is the most basic law of God: love and love alone."
- "God cares for everyone. Despair is in effect a lack of faith."
- "The Panagia does not want big candles, she wants charity shown to the poor."
- The Blessed Elder George Karslides (1901-1959) by Monk Moses the Athonite. Published by Orthodox Kypseli Publications. See excerpts from this website: 1
- Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit: The Lives and Counsels of Contemporary Elders of Greece, by Herman A. Middleton. Published by Protecting Veil Press 2003.
- Μονάχος Μωϋσής Αγιορείτης «ο μακάριος Γέροντας Γεώργιος Καρσλίδης, 1901 - 1959» (Official and original biography)
- Γ.Κ. Χατζοπούλου «Ο ΠΡΟΦΗΤΗΣ ΚΑΙ ΘΑΥΜΑΤΟΥΡΓΟΣ ΟΣΙΟΣ ΠΑΤΗΡ ΓΕΩΡΓΙΟΣ ΚΑΡΣΛΙΔΗΣ» των εκδόσεων «ΝΑΜΑ».
- Holy Metropolis of Drama Official Article on Elder George and the Monastery in Sipses (in Greek)
- November 3, 2008 - Official Announcement by Church of Greece
- November 1, 2008 - Official homily of His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholemew at the Vespers of St. George the New in Drama (in Greek)
- November 1, 2008 - BlogSpot dedication to the Saint - includes a Video from TV4E of the Vespers.
- November 2, 2008 - BlogSpot dedication to the Saint
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