Saturday, May 13, 2023

Abbess Theonymphi, Who Was Once a Famous Greek Singer, Has Reposed

Back in 2011, I wrote about a famous Greek singer from the 1960's named Mary Alexopoulou, who at the age of 43, after the tragic death of her daughter, decided to dedicate her life to God and upon tonsure as a nun took the name Theonymphi. You can read that article here.

Abbess Theonymphi Alexopoulou, Founder and Abbess of the Sacred Hesychasterion of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Koropi of Attica, reposed in the Lord today, plunging her hundreds of spiritual children and the small sisterhood that was recently created near her into sorrow.

The Eldress was a bright example of repentance and conversion in Christ, imitating the great holy figures by giving up a worldly successful life that most people would describe as a fairy tale, since in the 1960s-70s she was involved in the Greek pentagram, in the cinema (she appeared in two Greek films: Νυχτοπερπατήματα and Φίφης ο ακτύπητος), and in the theater, while she brought many awards to Greece from beauty pageants (in 1961) and music festivals around the world. Her big hit was "The Bambola" in 1968, an international hit for singer Patty Pravo. This was followed by the Thessaloniki Light Song Festival in 1966, with the song "Panigyri", which won the first prize.

She was the wife of the great Greek Industrialist Demetrios Nathanael with whom she established the mansion which, after the premature death of her daughter Konstantina, was turned into an Hesychasterion for women, which belongs to the Metropolis of Mesogaia and Lavreotiki.

Mary Alexopoulou was born in Peristeri in 1942 from a wealthy family. A graduate of drama and music school, she stood out as a child for her inclination towards music.

She collaborated with great artists of the era both in Greece and abroad. Having married Demetrios Nathanael, an industrial engineer, she was also the mother of two children.

In 1984, her daughter Konstantina at the age of 18 lost her life in a car accident in Koropi. This was the beginning of her own conversion, after she realized the vanity of worldly existence.

She gradually turned her mansion in Koropi into an Hesychasterion (a place dedicated to the spiritual practice of hesychasm) for women. In 1987, she was tonsured in the Great Schema by Fr. Angelos Anastasios, taking the name Theonymphi.

Mary Alexopoulou thus began the struggle of spiritual asceticism. Her mercy was indiscriminate toward those who came to her mansion and asked for her help, giving what she has and what she doesn't have with the sole criterion of the Gospel words that sounded like "living water" in her ears.

In 1992 she accepted a group of novices from Romania, whom she nurtured, cared for, educated and introduced into the monastic way of life. In 1993, Metropolitan Agathonikos of Mesogaia officially recognized the Hesychasterion and on August 6 enthroned her as its First Abbess.

In 2022, the Metropolis established a new female sisterhood of nuns near it.

On May 13, 2023, Eldress Theonymphi traveled to Eternity to meet the Eternal Bridegroom that she so adored.