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Wednesday, 8 June 2016



Χριστός Ανέστη

            Mario Mitsides relates to us the following story.   “I was born in Greece September 3, 1977.  My parents are Cypriots who migrated to Greece in order to improve their lot in life.  We were two brothers in my family and my brother Andrew was six years older than me. 

            “Because of the difficult time that my mother had in giving birth to me, I was born with a serious problem with my eyes.  My eyelids would not open and close because of nerve damage.  The doctors and my parents hoped that with the passing of time my eyelids would eventually strengthen and they would open and close naturally.  Unfortunately for me, this never happened.

            “This condition of mine created a situation where my playmates would call me names saying that I looked like a Chinaman or a blind mouse.  When I was still very young and my relatives would see me for the first time they would ask my mother if I was blind.  These people would always make an issue of my condition and this hurt my mother terribly.  When I became four years old and my condition had not improved, my parents took me to England for medical treatment.

            “After receiving many tests in England the doctors recommended that it would be better to avoid having any type of operation.  They discovered that the nerve that regulated the eyelids was very weak and that my condition would never improve.  They surmised though that as I grew in height I would no longer have to lift my head in order to see in front of me.  They also said as I grew taller I would see better without creating a problem for my neck.  In spite of this, when I was twenty eight years old I did have an operation that made a little difference in my condition and made my life a little better to endure. 

            “My mother would ask me every day after coming home from school if any of my schoolmates made fun of me.  I lied to her and told her that I had no problem.  I attended school in Greece up until the fifth grade and encountered a great deal of bullying because of my condition.  My classmates daily would call me Chinaman or blind mouse.  When we later returned to Cyprus my life improved a great deal.  The children in Cyprus rarely made fun of me.  Most of the children were friendly and offered me their love.  I began to enjoy my life in this environment but this joy did not last very long.   When I was thirteen years old, on October 10, 1990, my family suffered the greatest tragedy of its life.  My brother had just turned nineteen and he went out to party that night.  He went to a nightclub and while returning home he crashed into a pole and died instantly.

            “Because of this tragedy my parents became like the living dead.  It appeared like they had lost everything in life.  Nothing was the same as before and the grieving was most painful. Our home appeared to be empty filled only with tears and wailing.  My soul was filled with darkness until something most unusual happened to me.   It was something that completely changed my life and the life of my family.

            “On that particular day, I went to school as usual but a short while before the dismissal bell rang I felt sick.  I felt very strange and when I got home I went directly to sleep.   Ten minutes later I had not fallen asleep.  Then suddenly I felt something most unusual happening to me. My body felt very light like a leaf.  I found myself floating above my bed near the ceiling of my room and I was able to see my body lying on the bed. (Today this is called near death experience).  And then suddenly I found myself in a place where I had never been before in the past.

            “I found myself in a lush green meadow that was filled with beautiful music. Then suddenly my dead brother appeared before me.  He was dressed in white.  I was bursting with joy at seeing him.  He then kissed me.  I asked him what the place was where we were standing.  He said to me.  ‘There is no better place in the universe than where we are now standing.  Please tell this to our mother and father.  They should not be crying for I am very well here where I am living.’ 

            “While he was telling me this, an unknown person walked over to us.  He was a young man.  I asked my brother who this person was and he said:  ‘He is my friend.  I met him here in this place.’  This friend of my brother said to me; ‘I know how much you like motorcycles but when you leave this place and go back down to the earth never ever mount one of those machines.’  I promised him that I would never do that.  I then asked him if I could meet a Saint or if there might be one near us at that moment. 

            “He then explained to me that the reason that I could not see a Saint was because I had not finished living my earthly life.  I then asked him if at that moment there were other souls who were watching us because I could not see my parents or anyone else.  He answered by saying they also do not see us but they feel everything that is happening.  I told him that I liked it there so much that I did not want to leave.  My brother responded by saying; ‘it is impossible for you to remain here.  You must leave.’

            “Upon hearing these words I suddenly woke up and I realized I was back in my bed.  When I realized that I had returned to the earth, I became very confused.  I ran to my mother and told her every detail of what had just happened to me.  I told her that we should not cry about Andrew’s death because this upsets him.  We now know that Andrew is well.  After hearing about my experience my mother began telling everyone that God and Paradise are real.

            “Four months after this happened to me we visited the home of a friend of my father’s.  He too had lost his son in a terrible road accident a few years before my brother’s death.   When I entered the home of this man I was shocked to see pictures everywhere in the house of the same man that I saw standing next to my brother in that beautiful lush meadow.  His name is Alex Zacheus.  He is an eighteen year old boy and he was from the City of Larnaca.   He died on May 17, 1987 in while riding a powerful motorcycle. 

            “When I saw these things unfolding before me I thought I was going crazy.  Shaking at this point, I began telling everyone all the things I had lived in the other dimension with my brother Andrew and his friend.  I told them that I also saw their son Alex there and that Alex was fine. 

            “Alex’s father, Alex Zacheus then proceeded to tell my family about the loss of their son in a motorcycle accident.  He died in October of 1987, three years before the death of Andreas.  In sharing with us their loss he told us about a dream he also had after his son died.   He saw Alex walking in a lush green meadow that matched exactly the description that Mario had experienced.  Upon having this dream Mr. Zacheus visited Mt. Athos in order to visit the visionary St. Paisius to inquire about the condition of his son’s soul.  The response that he got from this holy man gave him great comfort.  St. Paisius said to him: “He has been saved; he was taken at the right moment from this life.” (This is a true revelation about the fact that we should never question the wisdom of God when great tragedies afflict our lives.) The Zacheus family also said that they often feel the presence of their son Alex.  They said our faith in God and the love of our friends have given us the strength to endure our great loss.”

            Mario finishes his story of his great spiritual adventure by telling us: “Today I am married to a wonderful woman who never once concerned herself about my disability.  We have a beautiful daughter and we are very close to our parents.  I know that God is very close to us because of my experience with my brother in Paradise who now lives close to God and the Angels.” 

Translated from the Greek by:
+Fr. Constantine (Charles) J. Simones, Waterford, CT, USA, May 23, 2016  Χριστός Άνέστη
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