Father Theodosius (worldly name Theodore Antonátos) was born on March 1, 1901 in the village of Atalandi in Lokris. After graduating from the Higher School of Trade, Theodore began to engage in commerce. He had no connection with the church or spiritual life; in fact, his attitude towards the church could be characterized as negative. Driven by the ambition to develop his business, Theodore joined a society of spiritualists, which was indeed followed by an increase in his trade affairs.
At that time, a certain Frenchwoman published a book titled One Month with the Men of the Holy Mount Athos. This book was full of blasphemy against the lifestyle of the Athonite monks. It was in wide circulation in France, which resulted in it also being translated into Greek. One of the Athenian newspapers, to which Theodore was a subscriber, regularly printed chapters from this book. After reading a few of them, Theodore, distinguished by his restless spirit, felt curiosity and a desire to visit Athos.
“Even if half of what the Frenchwoman wrote is true,” thought Theodore, “then the Holy Mountain must be something extraordinary. I’ll go.” he decided.
On Mount Athos, Theodore visited the monastery of St Paul. When he was there, something important and deep happened in his heart. He decided to confess and revealed to the monastery’s confessor, Hieromonk Ignatius, his desire to stay in the monastery forever. The fathers accepted him into their brotherhood. Theodore joined the monastery of St Paul. On February 19, 1936 he was tonsured as a monk with the name Theodosius.
Today we will tell you about one extraordinary incident from his life.
Elder Theodosius experienced particular abuse from the devil because of once being a member of a spiritualist society. So, he decided to write a book about spiritualism, to analyse this spiritual phenomenon from the point of view of the Orthodox faith.
Here is a story told by the Elder himself:
“Once, Father Gerasimus, hymnographer from the small skete of St Anne, came to my cell.
– When did you come? – I asked him. – I didn’t notice you.
– I came in the evening. I heard that you wanted to publish a book.
– Yes, – I replied – I want to publish a book about spiritualism.
Then Father Gerasimus said:
– Did you know that 99 percent of what mediums and spiritualists say is true, and only one percent is a lie? However, this one percent negates all the truth they say!
– What you say, Father Gerasimus, is a wonderful and deep thought! I’ll put it in my book, – I was delighted. – However, where do these wonderful words come from?
– They come from the book called Spiritual Exercises by the Venerable Nicodemus the Holy Mountain. – Father Gerasimus answered.
When he left, I opened the book Spiritual Exercises and, indeed, I immediately found this place. When I finished compiling my book and was ready to send it to the printing house, I had a thought suggesting that I should find and indicate the page from St Nicodemus’s book containing the exact quote mentioned to me by Father Gerasimus.
I flipped through the entire book three times, page by page, but I couldn’t find this quote. I was excited, so I went to the Small Skete of St Anna, found Fr Gerasimus and began to tell him:
– Do you remember, Father Gerasimus, your last visit to the monastery? It was when you came to my cell and shared that quote from Spiritual Exercises. Imagine that I have just rummaged three times through the entire book and still wasn’t able to find this quote. Can you explain this to me?
– Brother, I have not come to St Paul’s monastery for several years now,” Father Gerasimus answered calmly, – neither have I told you any quotes from Spiritual Exercises .
I was amazed. How could the devil have deceived me so rudely?
Later I realized that if this quote had ended up in my book, it would have caused great harm to readers by falsely suggesting that it was normal to deal with spiritualists and claiming that the majority of what they say is true.”
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds