2011-03-22 16:22:00

Successful French photographer says singing of Athos monk inspired him to become a monk

*** His works are exhibited in Nizhny Novgorod

Moscow, March 22, Interfax - Photographer Gerard Gascuel who worked with Marcel Marceau and Salvador Dali and now is Hieromonk Gerasim says he decided to become a monk after hearing an Athos monk singing.

"I was 33 when editor in chief of an influential Japanese magazine sent me to Greece to make a report about life of Athos monks," Father Gerasim was quoted as saying by the Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily on Tuesday.

Going around the monasteries he called on a convent where there is an ancient tradition to keep skulls of deceased monks.

"I went into the crypt and then life divided: "before" and "after." When I was going back I met a Greek monk and we talked about meaning of life. His English was poor... And suddenly he started singing!" Father Gerasim recalls.

According to him, it was then that he decided to become a monk.

"I made a decision in few seconds. Having returned to France, I delivered my report to the magazine, sold my estate and became an ordinary monk on Athos. I spent many years in the Holy Land at St. Sabbas Monastery in the Judean desert. I met my spiritual father there. I realized that death is not the end," Father Gerasim tells about his spiritual way.

He became a monk, but he is still a photographer, though he managed to found and become rector of an Orthodox monastery in French town of Cevennes.

Brother Jean's exhibition (as he is known among artists under this name) takes places in Nizhny Novgorod.