Hi dear friends!
My name is Abel-Tasos Gkiouzelis (Abel-Anastasios Gkiouzelis) and I will tell you about my conversion from the Protestantism to Eastern Orthodox Church.
I was born in Athens, Greece, in 1981 in the Protestantism, in the small Protestant sect of “Workers”, in the Worker Sect which also called “Church Without Name”, “Two by Two Church”, “2×2’s”, “Friends & Workers”, “The Truth”, “Christians”, “The Non-Denominational Church”, “Christian Convention Church”, “The Christian Church”, “No-Name Church”, “The Faith Missioners”, “Nameless House Church”, “The Damnation Army”, “Dippers”, “Go Preachers”, “The Jesus-Way”, “The New Testament Church”, “Pilgrims”, “The Reidites”, “Tramp Preachers”, “The Testimony”, “The Way”, and with at least 20 still concrete names, who was founded in Ireland on 1897 by William Irvine, Edward Cooney and Jack Carroll, for this reason also the are known and as “Cooneyites”, “Irvinites” or “Carrollites”.
Until 1997, 16 years old, Ι went regularly to meetings of “Workers” believing that this is the Truth. At home but also in entire building in which I stayed, often hosted all over the world preachers who call themselves “brothers and sisters Workers” and teaches that it is the first successors of the Apostles. Unfortunately, I could not imagine that there were “false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves apostles of Christ”(2 Corinthians 11:13 ), which in deed make and women in “Apostles”, which is not testified in the New Testament.
In 1997, 16 years old, Ι started to find the meetings of “Workers” boring and so stopped going to them. The months went I began to feel hate for this “Christianity” those whom I had known since birth. My dislike for Christianity gave the baton to a complete disregard for God and indifference for God led me to atheism. And my soul, however, was actually empty. I felt a void that I wanted to fill ti with something. And I tried to fill my void with the rock music. I tried to imitate the life of hippies of the 1960s. I had the hippies as model in dressing, music and ideas. I was believing that there is not sin and that all permits. So, when the “Workers ” visited our house, I put deliberately hard rock music. I wanted with this way to show them that I had break away from their team. From their “Christianity”.
Deep my soul, however, I wished the faith in the God. But now I hated, I felt a repulsion for the Christianity. So I began to read for the ancient Egyptian religion of Pharaoh, placing in my room several Egyptian idols.
I had changed. I was not henceforth the “Worker meeting young boy”. The “meetings old boy” had changed. I tried to make new friends who would not know the old “meetings boy”. After one year, in 1998, 17 years old, I Knew experienced some Christians Orthodox persons, aged 20-21 years old, students in University of Athens, which is in the neighbourhood, feeling very glad that I found this good friends company where one help and supports each other in difficult times. I was avoiding talk to them about God. I had enough discussions about God. The “Workers” occasionally asked me what I’m thinking about my future and jokingly, I replied that I want to be a hippie. And he tried to explain me what were the hippies and that this is not a good choice for the life of somebody.
Next year, in 7 September 1999 in Athens, where I lived, there was a great earthquake which was new to me. For several days were aftershocks and day by day more and accumulate within the fear of something worse leading evenings I could not, not to sleep, nor even to lie on the bed. One evening, while I was awake and the rest my family slept, thought to settle my library so as it turned from it all books and other things, deep in a shelf and powder I found in a small New Testament which he had given several years before.
I arranged the library and, as I had the whole evening in front of, I thought to read some New Testament, since not sleep nor did anything else. With that in spring in a random page and I began reading I was surprised. My heart was filled with calmness, courage and joy. All fright which I had accumulated in me from the first earthquake and repeated aftershocks disappeared immediately. Plus I do not feel fear of aftershocks. Immediately thought that God exists and that He just showed it to me!
The next morning I got happy phone my friends and I told them: “Do you know what to do to avoid fear the earthquakes? Still read the New Testament!”. They were surprised with what they hear. They never expected to hear something like that, because I never had left might appear my Christian side. So I began to believe again that God exists and Sunday for the first time after two years I went back to meetings of “Workers”. Everyone there was glad to see me and welcomed me with a warm “welcome”. So from then normally go again to meetings of “Workers” and particularly first of all.
One day I tried to talk to a girl person, called P., with whom were friends, about the meetings of “Workers” where I was going. I told her that every Sunday in the apartment building that I was living, we have some “meetings” where we read the Gospel and sung several Christian hymns suggesting her to come if she want it. P. with the thought that I found in some Christian sect that are now trying to muzzle proselytizing heresy, left shocked, turbulent, hurried, not knowing what to the fork and how to troubleshoot the call on heretical gatherings. And I could not understand why she left. I asked her the next day and received no answer.
One day P. asked me if I am baptized Eastern Orthodox Christian. I fell into embarrassment. I was afraid of saying the truth because I did not know how she felt. So I told her, “I don’t Know”. She replied me “You must Know if you are baptized Orthodox or not”. Cluttered and awkward again I said her that I would call in my house to ask about it… I asked my mother if I am baptized Christian Orthodox and she told me: “Don’t you know? What are you ask me? Of course you’re not”. I said to her, and she showed convulsed and embarrassed for once and formal learning that I’m not Orthodox Christian.
Next day my friends with a calm manner tried to talk to me, telling me that I was in the fallacy of heresy and the Eastern Orthodox Church is the Truth of Christ. Then I stopped being the calm “boy of meetings” and I filled rage. I forgot that I discuss with someone who really loves me, with my friends, with-full of rage I began to speak against the Orthodox Church, accusing it of not properly clergy, not knowing that there are reverent and proper clergy. My friends embarrassed about the behavior of me and they stopped the discussion and they tried to calm down me.
The next day on when I had calmed down, my friends company from TEI-University tried again to explain to me that I am in heresy. I answered them again filled rage, talking them with hate about the Eastern Orthodox Church, leading my friends company to grieve much for the bad behavior of me, for the bad behavior of their friend. I understand that I spoke badly but my ego will not let me admit it.
Next day, my friends again for other one time, with calm manner and love of Christ tried again to explain to me that I was in fallacy. But it was very difficult from them because they did not know the Holy Bible by heart. While they started with calmly about the Eastern Orthodox Church and while I still full of rage prepared to respond to them I though in myself:
“I know that these persons really love me and they have demonstrated it too many times to various problems and difficulties in University etc. Also never they have told me lies. Never they have derided me. Regarding the Eastern Orthodox Church about they are trying to talk to me at this moment… I know nothing about the Eastern Orthodox Church. How can I be sure how all that they say to my are wrong? First I must go to see what is the Eastern Orthodox Church and after I will can to have a conclusion…”.
So, instead of angrily replied, I replied them with calm and I assured my friends that I will go to looking for where is the Truth, going to see what is the Eastern Orthodox Church, too.
After few day, I decided to go alone in the Eastern Orthodox Church of my neighborhood and while I stund from a Picture-Icon of Christ and Virgin Mary I maked (I was doing) my Cross and I said to Christ:
“My Christ I don’t Know if the place, the Orthodox Church, in which I find this moment is correct. Also I don’t Know if the way with which this moment I pray, that I pray with Your Picture-Icon and that I make-doing my Cross, is correct. However, I Know that You say in the Holy Bible, “If someone knocks Me I will open him” give me an answer where is the Truth. Is it in the “Workers” or in the Christian Orthodox Church? And if You give me an answer I will not deny You! And before you see to me where is the Truth I will not discuss with any Christian Orthodox clergyman in order to explain to me what the Orthodox Church teaches or any “Worker” in order to explain to me what the “Workers” are believe. I will wait to see me where is the Truth. Please, answer me where is the Truth and I will not deny You! Amen”.
From that day my friends didn’t told me again about the Eastern Orthodox Church. Some day just told me that I will must make-doing my cross whenever I passed in front of a Church. And I accepted. And I started to go alone on a Sunday the Orthodox Liturgy prayed sincerely to see God ‘s Truth and one Sunday alternately I went in meetings of “Workers” praying again warmly to see me our God where is the Truth. Also, each night knelt to bed before lying down, praying again to God to see me the Truth. My friends did not tell me anything on this matter, but they knew from me that I was going to the Christian Orthodox Liturgy, too.
One day, early in 2000, offer my friends if I wanted to go one day excursion to Aegina Island (Greece) to visit the Monastery of St. Nectarios. And I answered “Yes, let’s go”, thinking that it had nothing waning.
Over the monastery of St. Nectarios I asked them to stay a little lonely. I took a walk and I went to the place where was the tomb of St. Nectarios. I saw some persons to kneel in front of the tomb of St. Nectarios and to prayed. It seemed strange to me, but I did impressions.
When empty the small chapel with the tomb of St. Nectarios and I stayed alone I knelt and said to the Saint: “St. Nectarios, if you are live in the heaven with God and hear me and if the Christian Orthodox Church is the Truth, help me and show me…”.
After a few minutes I got up and went to meet my friends who waited for me at the exit of the monastery. Just my friends saw me, they thinking that something awful happens to me. And with interest asked me, “Are you Ok? You somehow appear… Does you happens something good or something ugly?”. Full query, I ensured them that all it’s well, realising however that I felt a calm which rather it they had distinguished my friends who uneasy asked me if I am fine of not. I ensured them one more time that all it is a joy and that only that I done it was prayer as doing all there in the Monastery. The calm which I felt I didn’t interpreted and I didn’t reported it to my friends. Just I knew that I had felt it.
The next day when we came back in Athens I called P. to tell her my impressions from the monastery of St. Nectarios of Aegina Island. Before I called her I knew very well that the day before we had gone to St. Nectarios of Aegina. When, however, I called P. I said her that we had gone to Monastery of St. Andrew (Apostle Andrew) of Aigina! But there isn’t “St. Andrew of Aigine”. There is only St. Apostle Andrew. And there is not any Monastery with the name of St. Andrew in Aegina.
My friend P. thought that I was made (that I was doing) jokes and she was wondering how can I don’t remember where we had gone just the day before. I had completely forgotten the name of St. Nectarios and I insisted that we go to the St. Andrew of Aegina. When P. reminded me that we had gone to the St. Nectarios of Aegina and not to the St. Andew, immediately I remembered where we had gone and with amazement how could I forget I said her, “Oh, yes, I’m sorry”.
The months are going on and I was going one Sunday to the meetings of “Workers” and one Sunday alternately to the Liturgy of Orthodox Church, praying always hotly to the God to answer me where is Truth. All these months I and my friends from TEI-University did not have any discussion about where is the Truth. They did not wanted to pressure me. Simply they prayed for me knowing that no prayer does not go lost. Even smallest.
In the summer of 2000 my friends company of TEI-University, offer me if I wanted to going to Church of the Virgin Mary in Tinos Island, Greece. I accepted thinking again that it had nothing waning. In Tinos Island (Greece) stayed for two days because it was far away. The first day we visited the church-chapel of the Virgin Mary in Tinos Island that there is the miraculous Icon of Virgin Mary. I went front to the Icon of Virgin Mary where she has the Christ in her arms and with heartfelt prayer I said: “My Jesus Christ, show me where is the Truth and I will not deny You!”.
After, while we left from the church-chapel of Virgin Mary, my friends stopped in a bench outside from the Church that there sold small candles, Icons of Virgin Mary, books etc. and I was waitting them. Someone from my friends told me: “If you want buy a small Icon of Virgin Mary”. So I bought one small icon of Virgin Mary.
In the evening we went to our rooms at the hotel and I put the small icon into a sachets on the nightstand and light up a candle wax. I lied in bed and fell asleep without even noticing. In the middle of the night I woke suddenly startled and immediately I saw that the candle towards the bedside table had melted and the wooden nightstand catched fire (it was on fire). I got up quickly and awestruck with a cloth, put out the fire. Since then I looked at the sachets the small icon on the nightstand, I thought that possibly the Virgin Mary help me to wake up so suddenly and promptly anticipating the fire before it spread further.
The next day when we came back in Athens, I hung the small icon of Virgin Mary on a wall inside my room. I didn’t believe yet that the Christian Orthodox Church is the Truth Church of Christ, but something told me that Virgin Mary had helped me to woke up in time before to expand the fire. And for these reason I decided to put the small icon of Virgin Mary in my room. So I waited for with distress how would react my parents when they will see the small Orthodox Icon. After some hours at evening my parents were saw the small Icon and for first time they occupied that their son (me) relates himself with the Christian Orthodox Church. They told me with anger and neurously to throw out and I tried to explain them that I didn’t doing something wrong-bad and that I has every right to have in my room everything that I want. The troubles were continued on a daily basis. For the fear to they throw the small Icon of Virgin Mary when I was absent from the house was taking with me the small Icon and when I came back I was hanging it again.
One night my mother insisted that I throw the small icon. She said to me that “if the icon of Virgin Mary tomorrow morning it will here in your room I will throw it”. And, this time, I told her calmly “You can doing what ever the God illuminated you… “, thinking to myself that if God accepts Orthodoxy as Truth He illuminated her not to throw it. And if God accepts the “Workers” as Truth illuminated her to throw it. And so I understand what the Truth is.
When the next morning I woke up at 7:00 to go to University, I saw that my mother went to her job and she hadn’t throw away the small Icon of Virgin Mary. I felt very glad that she didn’t throw the small Icon but… I was not yet isconvinced about where is the Truth. So, I left from my home to go in University. I left the small Icon in the wall. The midday I came back in my house, and I realized astonished that the Icon was absent. My brother and my sisters came back at home and someone of them was hiding the Icon under a book. I fount it and I didn’t tell them something about the small Icon of Virgin Mary.
At 14:00 I was distressed because I could not unterstand where is it the Truth and I began to prepared in to meeting at 15:00 my friend P., in the centre of Athens, in Plaka, for a time-walk. But when I was absent my mother at 15:30 would returned from her job in the house. And I thought if it would be supposed to left the icon hung in my room or I would must be took it with me from the fear to throw my mother the Icon as to told me previous evening. So I decided to left the small Icon in the house and whether that will happened (if she throw the Icon or not) that will was a proof about where it is the Truth. With the hope that the God answer me where is the Truth, I maded my Cross, I kissed the small icon of Virgin Mary and I left it hung in the wall.
So I met in Plaka of Athens my friend P. and as we walked at some point P. said me that she did not feel well and that dizzy. She had indeed pale and I told her to sit down on a bench that was near there and I went to buy her an orange juice. As I put my hand in my pants pocket to pull out money to pay, knowing that in my pocket I had only money and keys, I thought it catch a shaped object “Q”, that is object with like crick. Over the agony, I paid with no attention, I paid the orange juice and gave it to P. and she drank it and she assembled.
They continued to walk in the Plaka of Athens, and after half an hour, whilst just walked in silence for something specific, I wondered to myself if it was my idea of what I looked it catch in my pocket half an hour ago shaped “Q”, like something with crick and spontaneously I put my hand in my pocket to municipalities if indeed caught something or was just my idea. Surprised to discover that in my pocket was the small icon of Virgin Mary, and “Q” which in shape was caught was the crick that the small icon has to hang!
Immediately I told to P. what happened but she did not believe me. She told me whether I took the small icon with me like other times and that I did not remember it. And I replied her that I took it this time with me and that even left the small icon at home as a criterion to where is the Truth. My friend P. didn’t believe me and she said to me: “Ok, when you come back at home, you hang the small icon again to see what your parents tell you”. So the afternoon as I came back home I was hang the small icon and when my parents saw it created a fuss. The evening before lying down to sleep, to corp the icon for fear my parents throw away.
The next morning I left for University and I took together the small icon and when I returned home in the evening I hang it again in the wall of my room.
When my mother saw it, made a great fuss and she said me with angry: “I told you that if you would hang the icon again I throw it. But you hung it and I take it and after you went and took it from me, inside my bathrobe”.
When I hear these words, I was surprised. I know that something supernatural had happened, but in any case I don’t expect that will confirm it and my mother. And I told her exactly what had happened, stressing that I didn’t took the icon from her bathrobe, but miraculously founded in my pocket. My mother quickly went to my room and corp the small icon by opening the windows to be discarded. I run anticipating before she throw it.
With all these I just believed that our God showed me that the Christian Orthodox Church is the Truth. So I decided to talk with an Christian Orthodox clergyman-priest. I went in the Orthodox Church of my neighborhood and I spoke with priest Father Andrew, narrating to him the whole story of how I believed to Cristian Orthodox Church. Father Andrew listened to me carefully and he said to me in the end: “You have every right to believe what you want but because you live with your parents in the same house, is better to you have the small icon with you together, not to sag it for not having troubles at home. And in the future, God first, in your home you will bore what you want”.
Since, I had the small icon with me together and I went every Sunday only to the Orthodox Church.
My father before married and maked family had become “Worker” with the result can be interpreted the Holy Bible in the Protestant way, ie misinterpreting and omitting several passages hagiography (verses). So he called me with a view to demonstrate how through Holy Bible proves that the Orthodox Church is not the Truth. I had hoped that I could be proved otherwise. But I knew nothing of anti-heretical hagiographic (verses from Holy Bible) argument.
My father began arguing that the holy icons are idolatry and I answered him that it is not idolatry because we don’t worship the wood or the pictured saints and the veneration that is honorable and not worship, something with which my father did not agree. Then my father began to show various hagiographic (verses) without which he argue was against holy confession, Priesthood, fasting and, as well, against the Saints and the Virgin Mary. Unfortunately, although I know that it is not right, I didn’t not know how to prove it hagiography (verses), preferring not to answer at all.
The days went by and every day my father asking me to show me and other hagiographic passages (verses) which, as mistakenly claimed, proves that the Eastern Orthodox Church is wrong. Sometimes I went to talk with him, because he insisted and sometimes not, because I know that my father misunderstand the Holy Bible and that I was not at a position to prove it because I didn’t knew about Holy Bible. One morning as I was leaving for TEI-University, I was stopped by my father to show me something in the Holy Bible. Began to bring me back argument against Orthodoxy and this time he managed to convince me that Orthodoxy is located in fallacy.
So I convinced that Orthodoxy is wrong heading into University thinking if I should made to the company that eventually became convinced from his father that the Eastern Orthodox Church is wrong. So, under punching my hand and thinking that I agree with my father that Orthodoxy is false, I decided that I will tell it to them.
In University I met my friend P. and I told her that I was convinced from my father that Orthodoxy is wrong. So P. without anger but with emphasis and tears in her eyes said to me: “Are you forget everything that Virgin Mary did to you? Are you forget everything?”.
When I listened these words severally mentally shaken and immediately I said to myself: “She has right. I asked Christ to show me where is the Truth and He showed me, knowing that I will be continuous war must remain solid and will come also the time during which learn and how through Holy Bible proves that the only Truth is the Christian Orthodox Church”. So when I returned at noon in my home, with these same words that I said to myself, I said to my father confessing that the Orthodox Church is the Truth regardless at the moment I do not know how to prove it by Holy Bible.
The days passed and I keeps going steadily every Sunday to the Orthodox Liturgy and I felt to grow up in more a leaf in favor of the Orthodox Church. So one day I said to Father Andrew that I would like to be baptized Christian Orthodox. Fr. Andrew answered me that “To be baptized Christian Orthodox you should really believe rather than at the barrel e.g whether to marry an Orthodox girl or for other reasons”. I assured him that I really believe that the Orthodox Church is the Truth and that the Orthodox Church is the Church that founded by Christ and I wants with my heart to come in His Church and I don’t doing it for other reasons”. So, Fr. Andrew said me that we should find a godfather.
Unfortunately, months went by, and we didn’t find a godfather. Father Andrew wanted to baptism me but he was told me that he wanted to find a trusted person for godfather and I answered him: “God will find someone”.
One morning in late March 2001, I passed outside a church-chapel near the neighborhood and thinking that it has ever been in this church decided to lit a small candle. The small church was dedicated to St. Apostle Andrew. As prayed into the small church the vicar priest of the church, Father Emmanuel asked me: “Who are you? Where are you from? Are you from this neighborhood? We haven’t seen again here”. I surprised, I took his blessing (I kissed him hand) and I told him that I’m a neighbor. After I told him my story, about how I believed and that I want to be baptized Orthodox. Fr. Emmanuel surprised looked the sacristan-woman who was also there and told her that if I desire they can indeed baptized me there. Then Fr. Emmanuel explained to the resurrection that I be baptized must truly believe and not barrel for any other reason. And I assured him that every day more and a leaf growing in favor of Orthodoxy.
So, by the Grace of God after two weeks of catechism, on 7 April 2001, Saturday of Lazarus I baptized Christian Orthodox, with godfather the son of Fr. Emmanuel, in this church of St. Apostle Andrew.
On the occasion that I was baptized in a chuch (chapel) of St. Apostle Andrew and “St. Andrew of Aegina” which I had said instead of “St. Nektarios”, I thought that maybe St. Nektarios had helped me to believe and be baptized, as I requested him. So, I bought a book of his life in order to ask more about his life. As I read surprised found that the folk name of St. Nectarios, before he became a monk was “Anastasios”. Like me. And after when the St. Nectarios became a monk named “Lazarus”. And I baptized “Saturday of Lazarus” (feast day of St. Lazarus). And that then St. Nectarios became a priest named “Nektarios”.
Almost immediately I remembered an incident from the time when I was at school, about 1993, 12 years old. In the time of Gymnastics I sat with peers who were discussing something and I heard them without myself taking part in the discussion. Suddenly, without myself to the will, inconsiderate, I switches them from the discussion by asking so spontaneously: “Hey Guys, how about we become when we will are 20 years old?”.
My classmates started laughing about this question and I realizing that I told something “wrong” by talking and I tried to fix it by saying “uh… e… I say how I am when I’m 20 years old”. Realizing, however, that I said something irrelevant to discussion I didn’t asked again.
Just now, after 8 years I found that those which I said at the time in high school was not an ordinary recklessness. Because on 31 March 2001 I was 20 years old (I was born 31/3/1981) and after one week, in April 7, 2001, I baptized Eastern Orthodox Christian.
I thought all of them can be simple coincidences and that really St. Nektarios had helped me to believe in the real Truth. In to the unbroken apostolic succession Orthodox Church. In the Church founded by Christ. And for which he said “I build my Church, and the gates of hades will not prevail against it”(Matthew 16:18 ). I remembered that one of the names of “Worker Sect” is “The Truth”. But the “Truth” of “Workers” is false. It’s a lying “Truth”.
With the Grace of God, I continued to damage the spiritual life in the Orthodox Church, in real Truth. However, the devil did not remain inactive and before spending two months from my baptism, the devil began to sow heretics thoughts against the embassy of the Saints. So I started thinking why would I pray to the Saints and not only pray directly to Christ. Although I know that these thoughts were heretical and wrong, I could not with anything to get it out of my mind. I kicked again and again. I felt clearly that the devil makes war of putting all these thoughts, but I could not doing nothing. So, I asked for help from God.
On the afternoon of 8 May 2001 while I was in the Church in the evening prayer of the feast of St. Christopher and continues all these heretical thoughts, when I saw the icon-image of St. Christopher started patiently enter thoughts against this particular Saint. The icon-picture of St. Christofer to pass a river, having at the back of Christ as a child. I could not understand how this is done, from the moment the St. Christopher lived in the 3rd century A.D..
At the end of the Vespers a lady gave to me an identical plasticized small icon of St. Christopher saying me that the St. Christopher is a patron of drivers. I was perplexed and asked her to learn about the life of St. Christofer. She told me that he was idolatry to originate cannibal tribe, but he was very good and virtuous. He was big with great physical strength and so very often help disability, elderly and children to cross a raging river much of the area where they lived. One time as he tried to lift a child to spend it on the opposite bank found surprised that despite his power, he could not lift it. After he was revealed that this child was the Christ, and appeared to congratulate him for a job well help and love which offers fellows. And then St. Christopher believed in Christ, was baptized and became worthy to Witness and now he is a Saint Martyr who killed for Christ.
I was glad for the life of St. Christopher. The heretical thoughts continued and I begged St. Christopher to help me to stop the bad thoughts. I did not like to bore thoughts against the Saints. I feel that someone else whispering bad thoughts constantly in my mind. And I realized that he was the devil. While the bad thoughts like “Why do you pray to the Saints and not only to Christ?”, continued, and I could not stop them, begging God to help me.
This time (2001) I went to University and I worked in McDonalds (2000-2002) of the centre of Athens, too.
So, in May 2001, after a few days, when I finished from my work-McDonalds at noon and I led for my home with my car, I realized that from fatigue sleepy and my eyes closed. As I tried to hold open unwisely thought the Avenue of Athens-Corinth from which I was going is a straight and that we would be able to keep my eyes open and while running at higher speed to be faster, I would arrive in a fourth at my home well. As I started to cross the avenue and increasing speed to reach home sooner, my eyes closed and hastily exposures. I opened the windows of car and the music radio.
I thought it was a quarter that should have patience and barrel would reach. As I began to drive in the bridge of Kifisos I heard a loud collision while I thought someone crashed while I opened my eyes, which I were not understood that it was closed and I saw broken panes. And then I saw that I had crashed myself. Immediately I came out and I was surprised when I saw where I was. Moving up the bridge of Kifisos without realizing I had fallen asleep and crossed the entire bridge asleep, and that part of the avenue after the bridge crashed in cars that were stopped In first traffic light after the bridge and causing pile. The frond of my car crashed very match but had not anything happening to myself.
So, straight my mind went to the St. Christopher and generally the embassies of the Saints. Immediately I realized that I had helped by St. Christopher and that Christ accepts our pray to the Saints, who after death is not in a stupor as they say the heretical, but also they live after death, they can hear, they can see, they can understand and help people. Like the Prophet Moses had died though (Deuteronomy 34:5) he appeared in the Transfiguration of Christ (Matthew 17:3-4 ) and as though Abraham who also died in about 1800 B.C., from heaven “saw it and was glad”(John 8:56) (he saw the Incarnation of Christ). And so by Grace and the help of God completely dissolved from my mind the heretical thoughts against the Saints.
After, I began to feel the desire to get to know other young persons that are conscious Orthodox Christians inside the Church and I began to pray to God to send me some persons. And God answered immediately with a reply which He had “preparation” many years ago. Our family dentist who had come in my baptism and has extended family, said me that her children go to a priest in the center of Athens, who engaged in anti-heretical and apologetic work of the Church and that every Sunday makes speeches on youth in style Q&A (questions and answers), where they were asking questions about faith and disbelief and he answered to them. And she offer to go there, me too. And she told me that I will have the chance to meet a lot of new young persons from the Orthodox Church and yet I can ask the priest various questions that I have been on the Orthodox Faith.
So, on June 2001 I went to meet the priest who called Father John. Father John asked me to tell him my story of how I believed and was baptized and happily I recounted his. When I finished my narration Fr. John said to me: “You believed in a miracle. But that the Eastern Orthodox Church is the only Truth is not only established through the wonders but also only from Holy Bible. Because and the devil can doing wonders. And Buddhists do wonders and many others with the power of the devil doing wonders. But God loves you and He maked a wonder in your life to believe Him”.
I surprised with what I heard and I asked Fr. John to explain me that reveals this up during the Holy Bible. Also wondered how my parents just read Holy Bible and being outside the Church and Fr. John replied that they misunderstand the Holy Bible.
Then he mentioned the words of Christ Himself who said of his Church that it will establish and will not be interrupted when your work forever and ever: “I will build my Church, and the gates of hades will not prevail against it”(Matthew 16:18). Roman Catholics were detached from the body of the Church in 1054 AD and the Protestants left from Roman Catholics on 1517 AD. And then as now established at least 33,000 different Protestant heresies where one does not accept the other and all claims that the Church had stopped Her work and its restarted when themselves founding the protestants sects. So the words of our Lord “build my Church, and the gates of hades will not prevail against it”(Matthew 16:18 ) match only the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Eastern Orthodox Church is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Christ and His Apostles on 33 A.D.. Also, the Eastern Orthodox Church has the Apostolic Succession.
The Eastern Orthodox Church is also called Christian Orthodox Church, Orthodox Catholic Church, Orthodox Church and Orthodoxy. (But, be careful: Christian Orthodox Church is not same with Coptic Orthodox Church, Eastern Catholic Churches, Church of Armenia, Oriental Orthodoxy and Eastern Christianity, that they are also called Monophysites, Copts and Chalkedonians and they are heretical false sects because they left from Christian Orthodox Church in 451 A.D.)
In September 2001 I started going in speeches for young people which they have Fr. John in style Q&A. I asked many questions, quite benevolent wonder which I had on how all those who teach the Eastern Orthodox Church, having abolished the Protestants like Holy Icons, Virgin Mary, Priesthood, Confession etc., it turns up during the Holy Bible.
Fr. John answered to me many questions but because I had a lot of questions told me to come after speaking to his office to give me an anti-heretical book. And he gave me one that automatically negate the heretical protestants teachings with only hagiographies passages (verses) from Holy Bible. So I read the anti-heretical this book and God blessed me to believe the Christian Orthodox Church from the Holy Bible, too.
After a few months, on 2002, I learned that Fr. John want to build a monastery in Attica, Greece, which will deal divine confession and apology against heresies, atheists, buddhists etc. with anti-heretical books. And Ι said to Fr. John that I want abided by his monastery.
So, on 29 November 2002, the eve of St. Apostle Andrew, I came officially escorted of Fr. John, and I waiting and making daily prayer to God given us a place monastery.
In the summers of 2002 and 2003, I worked with my father as painters. These two summers I had gone with my father to Mykonos Island (Greece) to paint a new hotel. There I asked as to whether there is some local Saint and I learned about St. Manuel of Mykonos, who was married in Mykonos and he was martyred in Chios Island, Greece. The memory day of St. Manuel is on 15 March (+1792).
So, I asked Fr John to pray every day to St. Manuel of Mykonos and he said me: “Ok, pray to help us to find a place for our monastery”. So I prayed to Christ, to Virgin Mary and St. Manuel of Mykonos to help us to find a place to build monastery.
After 5 years, with God’s Grace we found a temporary place for Monastery and in November 25, 2007, I went to lived there. And to show me our God, for another one time, that the Saints of God helps us and that we must invoke them without any hesitation in March 15, 2008, the feast day of St. Manuel of Mykonos, I was tonsured a monk with the name “Abel” that gave me the Bishop of Piraeus in honor of St. Forefathers Abel (Adam’s son in Old Testament) noting surprised that in November 29 where I desided in 2002 to be a monk, is the feast day of another Saint who called St. Abel of Valaam, Russia (+1831).
After 6 years, on 2013, we find a place from monastery and now we will start to build it.
Every day and every night I pray for all the people to coming inside the House of Christ, to the Eastern Orthodox Church.
With love of Christ
Abel-Tasos Gkiouzelis (Abel-Anastasios Gkiouzelis)
Feel free to email me!
[ In greek language with video: