The Greek Orthodox bishop who revered Mother Erene
His Grace Bishop Ereneaus was a Greek Orthodox bishop of Patara of Birmingham England until his retirement some time before 2009. His relationship with the Coptic Orthodox Church goes back to 1985 when he attended the opening of a Coptic Orthodox Church in London. He gave a moving testimony in which he talked about the similarities between his own Greek Orthodox Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church. He was impressed by the fact that the Copts have retained certain customs and practices that were later abandoned by the Greek Orthodox Church.
It so happens that the name of the mother of His Grace Bishop Ereneaus was Erene. He was so happy to meet Mother Erene who had the nuns make for him a vestment which he used to wear during services in England and Greece. His Grace would talk a great deal about Mother Erene in his sermons in Greece and used to regard her as an ideal of monastic and saintly life. Since her repose, he kept a picture of her in his sitting room, himself reposing three years after her.
On one occasion, whilst he was praying with tears for the unity of the Church, St Kyrillos VI appeared to him alongside St Abanoub and instructed him to visit Mother Erene in Egypt and warn her that she’ll soon go through serious tribulations, but that God would support her and he [Pope Kyrillos] was praying for her. He also gave him some holy oil to give to her.
Ref: edited from “Tamav Erene Leader and mother in the monastic pastures (book 4), p. 137-8
Mother Erene visits Mt Athos
One night after Tamav had finished praying, she started thinking about the resting place of the head of our blessed martyr, Abi Seifein (St. Mercurios). After a few minutes, the Martyr appeared in front of her. He took her on his horse to Mt. Athos in Greece and they entered the church of the Vatopedi Monastery. He pointed to a long reliquary and told her: “My head is here.” Tamav felt very happy, knelt before the holy relic and kissed it with great respect. Then, she smiled and said to the Martyr, “I wish it were in our convent.” He told her, “Let us pray about that.”
At that time, the Monastery and the whole island were holding a big celebration to honor the Martyr. A few minutes later, the monks carried the reliquary and went all around the monastery as a procession. This was accompanied by gunshots, a sign of respect for his military position. He used to be a supreme commander of the Roman armies. Some of the monks at the monastery saw Tamav but did not see the Martyr. They were surprised and asked her, “Who are you? How did you come here?” (Woman are not allowed in the Orthodox Monastic Republic of Mount Athos). She understood them with the help of the Martyr who translated their words to her. She replied in English, that she was a Coptic Orthodox nun from Egypt. Tamav was very happy about her visit to the holy mountains. Later, the Martyr brought her back to her cell in Egypt.
Tamav was very pleased with the way they honour the Martyr there and told us, “We do not actually honour him enough.”
Ref: Tamav Erene – A torch of love dazzling in the Coptic Monastic life (book 6), p. 86-7
Visiting Greek Orthodox monasteries in North America
On her trips abroad for her medical treatment, Mother Erene visited the Holy Nativity convent and the Holy transfiguration monastery, which are both located in Massachusetts in America. Both are under the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Church. The latter was formed by Fr Panteleimon, a disciple of the great 20th century Greek saint, St Joseph the Hesychast. At the time of her visit Elder Ephraim of Arizona was the spiritual father of the Holy Transfiguration Monastery. It is highly unlikely that Mother Erene met him, but how profound it would’ve been if these two great saints crossed paths! Mother Erene was happy with the Orthodox spirit of these two monastic establishments, their organized way of life and their ascetic spirit.
Ref: Tamav Erene Leader and mother in the monastic pastures (book 4), p. 107-8
Tamav’s relationship with St Catherine’s monastery at Mt Sinai
In September 1982 Tamav made her first trip to the monasteries of St Catherine at Mt Sinai. Accompanying her was her spiritual daughter Tamav Mary, the Abbess of the Community of St. Mary in Zowaila, Cairo. The aim was to learn about the monastic life there. They visited one monastery for monks and another for nuns. When the abbot learnt that two abbesses from Coptic monasteries were visiting, he received them warmly. He allowed them to stay at the monastery and to partake in their daily life. Tarnav was very pleased with this plan.
There was then a solitary monk who lived in the mountain. He never went down to the monastery. However, he came down especially to meet them. He was very happy on seeing them and asked them to pray for the unity of the Church. Tamav’s comment was that he was a monk of great holiness and spiritual depth. His face radiated light and his features looked like a young child’s.
Later, we learnt that Tamav met with this monk and other telekinetic fathers in the area of Sinai. She used to go there miraculously and pray with them. Her spiritual relationship with the monks and nuns of the monasteries of St. Catherine grew stronger. Whenever they came to Cairo, they would always visit our community and exchange spiritual blessings and benefits with Tamav.
Ref: Tamav Erene: A torch of love dazzeling in the Coptic monastic life (book 6), p. 27-8