One of the first things which God gives to those who call is a sense of the vanity of this world. Those who’ve received the light of this knowledge must make haste, because you never know if this candle will be snuffed out. Postponement of such a decision has often resulted in failure. And the future is eternal. Based on St. John the Klimax
‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit’. ‘So it is with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body’ This symbolism finds its highest expression in the Saints, whose blessed state in heaven has been manifested to the world. For this reason, kolyva is blessed not only at memorials for the departed, but also in commemoration of saints. The photo shows a two monks from Vatopaidi making and decorating the koliva (boiled wheat which is used liturgically) for the feast of the St. Evdokimos. The colors are from natural ingredients such as cinnamon or flour and are edible.
Picking prickly pears Monks live in the middle of nature, sometimes quite literally. Besides their cultivated gardens, monks go into the wilderness to gather the natural fruits which God gives them. They respect nature, seeing it as God’s creation, and nature rewards them in return. In the above photograph we see one of the monks from Vatopaidi inside of a huge stand of prickly pear cacti, equipped with a simple home-made gathering device and gloves to protect himself at least a little from the prickles. Ouch!
We must do our tasks quickly and with discernment. Idleness is the mother of all evil. Although God has no need man's toil, it is of great importance in His eyes as it is a practical application of one's love for his neighbour. The brothers come together as one work force at the vineyard of Vatopaidi monastery to collect the grapes at the time of harvest.
Obedience is necessary not only for monks, but for all people. Even the Lord was obedient, unto death on the cross. The proud and self-regarding do not allow grace to live within them, and therefore they lack spiritual peace, while in the obedient soul the grace of the Holy Spirit enters easily and brings great joy and peace. Whoever bears even a little grace in himself joyfully submits himself to all direction. He knows that God directs everything from the heavens to the netherworld, himself and his business, and everything other thing in the world, and therefore he is always at peace. Monks in the old Vatopaidi kitchen while preparing fish to serve at the common meal.