A smile from eternity

One of the most beloved contemporary Elders of the Holy Mountain, Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi fell asleep in the Lord on his birthday, July 1st 2009, the feast of the Holy Unmercanaries. At his death, a miracle occurred shortly after his demise which left a sign of hope for all of us who await ‘the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come’.
After more than 45 minutes had passed from the time of death, he smiled.
Elder Joseph’s mouth had remained open for a long time immediately after his passing and despite all their efforts, the monks present were unable to close it. In accordance with the Athonite custom, the Elder’s Body was wrapped in his monastic cloak which was then sewn up. After a while, on the instructions of Abbot Efraim, the body was placed on a bier, and a hole was cut in the cloak to expose his face and another to expose his right hand for veneration. To the astonishment of all, Elder Joseph’s mouth had not only closed but his face was now beaming miraculously with a smile! Not only his lips, but his eyes and cheeks. And the colour had even returned to his lips and face.