This book presents, in a simple and truthful way, the lives of the author’s parents, Sotirios and Eftychia Vlachos, and his aunt, Paraskevi Karayianni using extracts from their letters.
In an era marked by selfishness and individualism, where patience, sincerity, love and longsuffering are rarely to be found, we believe that the lives described in this book will convey a spiritual message to the reader. The letters written by Metropolitan Hierotheos’s parents are very revealing and a delight to read. They give a vivid impression of their inner spiritual life, their personality, their rich psychological world and their sensitive behaviour towards, and love for, their children. The letters are remarkable for their sincerity, simplicity and authenticity. They are the outpourings of their hearts. As we read the letters and the editor’s analysis of their contents, the couple’s intense spiritual life is revealed, both before their marriage and within their family. Their relationships with other people were marked by seriousness, responsibility, chastity, dignity and discretion, real love and nobility. As for Paraskevi Karayianni (the sister of the author’s mother), she was a woman nurtured by the Greek Orthodox tradition and wholly dedicated to God, service and self-sacrifice.
During the period of the civil war she worked as a nursing sister in Agrinio, then in Athens. She was blessed with many mental and spiritual talents, which she devoted from an early age to Christian charitable work. She also possessed great administrative gifts combined with extraordinary courtesy and admirable simplicity.
Through her letters to the author the reader will discern the purity and simplicity she showed in all her actions and behaviour, the sensitivity of her heart, her sacrificial love, which stayed with her throughout her life, her obedience and humility, and her profound gratitude to her benefactors. We realise that she was someone who ‘loved God in truth and purity’, and understand why His Eminence calls her ‘a real nun without monastic profession’.
Μητροπολίτης Ναυπάκτου Ιερόθεος