Joseph of Vatopaidi, Elder (1921–2009)
Elder Joseph was born in Drousia, a small village in the province of Paphos in Cyprus, on the 1st of July, 1921. Certain events, interventions of Divine Providence, came together that led to his withdrawal from the world in 1936 and his going to the Holy Monastery of Stavrovouni, which at that time was known for its strictness and spirituality. He remained at the Monastery for ten years and then, with the encouragement and blessing of Elder Kyprianos, a spiritual father of the Monastery, he went to live on Mount Athos. In the summer of 1947, he met the blessed Elder Joseph the Hesychast, who, after being “informed” spiritually, received him into his brotherhood. He lived in the caves of Little Saint Anne Skete until 1951, at which time the brotherhood moved to the quiet cells in Nea Skiti, close to the tower.
Blessed Elder Joseph the Hesychast reposed in a holy manner on the feast day of the Dormition of the Theotokos in 1959. Elder Joseph spent most of the years after the repose of his elder at Nea Skiti. In April of 1987, however, since his brotherhood had increased significantly, at the invitation of the Holy Monastery of Vatopaidi and with the blessing of the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Holy Community of Mount Athos, they moved to the Monastery to assume its administration. On 16/29 April 1990, the Monastery returned to the cenobitic way of life with the election and enthronement of Archimandrite Ephraim as its first abbot. Elder Joseph was and remained the spiritual father of Vatopaidi Monastery until his repose on the First of July 2009. In the sixteen books he wrote, he writes about and explains subjects “of practice and theory”. He attempts to guide monks and laymen towards Christ and to inspire them in “the good struggle”. He especially emphasizes the vast ocean of God’s love and compassion for man; a God who accepts the repentant and returning sinner.