Rhodes, Greece, August 31, 2021
Thanks to the kind heart and patience of Archimandrite Athanasios Missos, a young woman in Rhodes turned to Christ and away from suicide.
The woman, Maria Makri from Thebes, 29, shared her story with Ekklisia Online.
As Maria writes, she had a bad childhood as a stepdaughter, and she later entered into a relationship with a much older man at her parents’ suggestion. There were no true feelings, and the man treated her like his property.
As time went on, she became depressed and cried all the time. She went to a doctor, but the medication he gave her only made her sleepy and she stopped taking it after five days.
Finally, by June she had resolved to take her own life. But the day that she planned to do it, she was walking down the street when she saw an older priest in front of her, walking with difficulty. Although she’d never felt inspired to approach a priest before, she went up to him and asked to speak with him.
As Maria recalls, she ended up speaking with him for more than two hours. That night she was planning to lock herself in her room and take all the remaining medication at once to end her life. But she spoke with Fr. Athanasios, and using many examples from his own life, and he “put me in the way of Christ,” Maria attests. He also gave her a bottle of holy water from his pocket.
Maria was able to unload her soul to Fr. Athanasios, and she wept, sensing that her life had not only turned a page, but opened an entirely new volume.
Now Maria reads Scripture and the Holy Fathers and faithfully attends church, whereas before she only went on Pascha.
“He changed my life with his admonitions and his directions, with his aching smile, but with a lot of power in him… Everything changed, and I took my life into my own hands,” Maria writes.
Her relationship with her parents also improved and she found the strength to end her loveless relationship.
Maria is eternally grateful to Fr. Athanasios and to God for placing him in her path.