Teachings of Pious Paissios

Words and stories of elder Paisios (ΧV)

  • July 12, 2017

Some time ago there was a monk in Provata who left the robe and married in Thassos. After many years he bought himself a ship. He went with it to Vatoped and loaded it with wood. When he left and passed by Provata, where it had been his cell, the sea opened and swallowed the ship. Luckily he and his two children were saved. Then he felt heart broken, he understood the reason of the sinking and went to a priest from Esfigumenu Monastery to confess. The priest told him: Go and take care of what’s necessary for your children then we’ll see. He had four children, two being some little girls and was known in the Holy Mountain as the one who repented. And had two other children – I knew them myself – who were the enemy in person.

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There was a monk who became possessed from a certain cause and he wondered to and fro all day long. The demons didn’t leave him rest for one single minute. `Don’t you suicide now so that you may find rest and we get rid of you since you belong to us anyway?` He tried to commit suicide twice but a gospel he had in his pocket threw flames when he wanted to throw himself down and pushed him back. But then he tried again to suicide and they found him dead on some rocks in the sea.

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I saw elder Porphyrios two or three times. He described to many people their own houses and villages. To others he revealed where was found water and after they dug they found it. To a person who had three diplomas he told all the problems he had and helped him a lot while other priests couldn’t help him. Once when he passed by a bulldozer said: Take care that in the earth there is a Cross. Take care not to break it!

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When elder Ephrem from Katunakia received proposals to become abbot of the Lavra elder Paissios said to someone: Father Ephrem is indeed a real treasure. He is a spiritual pillar  of the Holy Mountain. He is always attending to spiritual matters and helps many souls. But I’m afraid that if he becomes abbot with so many worries and ceaceless material concerns will lose a lot. But I won’t say this to others because they will misunderstand me. They will think that I don’t want him to be abbot. When father Ephrem got his message he answered: `I thank to elder Paissios. I know myself that it is not the will of God for me to become an abbot.

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At Filotheu there was a monk from Crete. The poor man when he was in the world as a layman he had burnt in an oven a Turk. Then he became a monk and led a spiritual life and prayed without cease to God. He asked Him to burn him. Although his sin was forgiven out of his spiritual nobleness he asked to be burnt and God answered to his prayer.

One day we saw smoke at the monastery. The laymen ran and I ran myself to get ready the buckets with water because I had the task of storeman. It seems that he was sitting near the fire and some sparks flew from the chestnut wood that was burning and in this way he caught fire. He couldn’t extinguish it. He tried to go out but was choked by smoke and he fell down. He looked like a burnt lamb. God listened to him because he had always prayed to be burnt and God fulfilled his wish.

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A starets from a certain cell after he died his body was found incorrupt because during the holy service he had used to send his monks fishing.

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We made the exhumation of a Romanian starets and when I wanted to touch his head I saw that it was uncorrupt. I called a monk and told me to bury him a little further. I was trying to find out the cause and I found among his books one from Prodromu which had a curse for the man who would have taken it. I returned the book and after a while the body fell apart.

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When you don’t justify yourself you receive the whole jow of the world. But when you justify yourself you don’t find peace.

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How are we going to teach the monks the relinquishment of the world when we have connection with our relatives? Only by our words?

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One night when I was in Stomio, the demons came and uncovered my cell. I saw in a moment my cell without roof.

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The icon painters must enjoy freedom and not be afraid they might violate a rule. The saints are not all alike. They should not paint them as if they were puppets, they should paint each saint with a different expression.

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We can pray to saints but it is needed simplicity. We should speak to them simply. You just call the saints and they come.

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The monk should rather repent once for taking his diploma than 100 times because he didn’t take it.

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Make an account of all the visits you pay to a starets and if you get benefit you may go on, but if you don’t, stop them. And do the same thing with me.

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Even those who have a high spiritual level find benefit when they cut their will.

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Hell means to be away of God. For a child hell means to be away of his mother.

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The spiritual life is very easy as I understood it.

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The monks from the old times had simplicity. Those from nowadays have reason and they don’t believe that much in wonders.

From the book From the Ascetic and Hesychast Tradition of the Holy Mountain –Evanghelismos Publishing, 2016.