In those days in the little time spent in the cage with fresh air I felt for the first time the grace of God! The temperature must have been about twenty degrees below zero…I was walking in that small cage and suddenly I felt an unprecedented joy, a heat that was surrounding me. My hands and my feet started to sweat and I felt that the snow below me was melting little by little!
I started to say the prayer louder without being afraid of the guardian who was standing at four meters above me. I put the booklet in my pocket and I was shivering because I was cold and I wondered: `How? Me, the sinner to be searched by God?` I thanked him without cease from the bottom of my heart! This was repeating every time when I went to the `cage with fresh air.`Thus I got power and courage and I dedicated myself even more zealously to study and prayer!
Then I wrote to my wife asking her to go to the metropolitan with the sister of my father and be baptized Orthodox as she had asked for years but me, the sinner unfortunately neglected that. My wife was Protestant. I hid the letter for 15 days…When my lawyer came, I gave the letter to him and he put it in his briefcase quickly because I was not allowed to send letters, being considered extremely dangeroys as he told me. Then he gave me another letter from my wife telling me to read it quickly. After I finished that I gave it back to him and he tore it. It was unbelievable! My wife answered to what I had written to her 15 days before, to the letter that I had just given to the lawyer! She wrote that she had just visited the sister of my father and they went to gether to the metropolitan and the fixed a day for her baptism while they began the baptismal catechesis with the archimandrite of the metropolitan of Kitio. I cried of joy all day long! In the day of her baptism I prayed to Theotokos and to all the saints to be with her and I’m sure that they were there with my family. I felt as if I had been there too.`God, forgive me the sinner that I stayed so many years away of You and I kept my family far from You! With your kindness You brought me near You. Please help them to come to Your Church!`During his visit the lawyer gave me three more books sent by my parents, May God always protect them! Among them there was one that was golden, its brightness engraving into my memory for ever! A book written by Athanasios Rakovalis (1) May God protect him and his family!
(1) Elder Paisios told me…, Atanasie Rakovalis, Evanghelismos, Bucureşti, 2002.
Excerpt from the book Testimony of the religious conversion of a former convinct – Father Paisios my saint and teacher, Egumenița Publishing 2016