Clerical Articles

Words and stories of elder Paisios (I)

  • February 16, 2017

Aforetime in monasteries there was much zeal for ascetic strive, piety, union. When someone was coming as a novice, the elders tried to take care of his comfort, moved by the warmth from their hearts and filled his cell. One brought him a lighter, another one a watch, another one a stool, another one a lamp, things they had from the elders that had died. Then it reigned the desire to take care of your brother’s comfort.

They had feelings of piety and respect for the ascetics who loved the church, but not for the lazy ones or for those who loved disorder. They ate once in 24 hours a clear soup. They did not light any fire in their cells. There was a freedom which sprang from the inner obedience. And the new monk integrated in this environment and atmosphere. He, who was a beginner, found the proper spiritual climate for blooming and bearing fruits. It was not like nowadays, when in certain monasteries there is a soldierlike spirit and a sickly obedience, which make the novice be always affected by rains and frost so that he is unable to bring any fruit. In those times there were pious elders who gave the good example.

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Today (1976) unfortunately for many Athonite monks the entire spirituality is reduced at the number of monks their monastery has and at how often they partake the Eucharist.

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The women are helpless. The monasteries of nuns need the presence of a priest, of a spiritual confessor.

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Who speaks or writes about the Holy Fathers and hasn’t got rid of his passions is like a tin which has honey inside, but smells of diesel fuel.

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The gifted man, wherever he would be, either in a monastery or in a marriage, will succeed, even if he deviates from the right path because of the wrong diagnostic given by his spiritual confessor.

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God does not allow the beginner, the small child and the very sensitive person to see his inner self, otherwise he would fall into despair.

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Some time ago the Christians had much piety for the antidoron, much more than the monks of nowadays have for the Holy Eucharist.

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When we don’t feel comfort and joy in our prayer, as the baby feels when he is at his mother’s breast, then either we hurt someone with our behavior and rudeness or there is some pride manifested.

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The wilderness helps the monk a lot because in this way he avoids scattering. The life in the wilderness is simple and the monk can dedicate himself entirely to his ascetic struggles.

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The man who has humility even if he might deviate once, the grace of God covers him, while the proud one is like a car with a damaged direction, which always deviates from the right path or like a saw which is sharp only on one side

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When someone is drawn by the prayer he doesn’t want to get out of his cell. Then the prayer doesn’t tire him, but give him rest. When we don’t want to get out of our cell, but out of our love we sacrifice our peace for the sake of a brother, then God seeing our love, completes everything.

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  Saint Nil prophesied about the roads from the Holy Mountain that there would come a time when the Holy Mountain would be covered by a canvas (of roads) and the Holy Mountain would remain from Saint Paul onwards. (meaning up to Vigla, because only this region remained without roads)

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We should behave with simplicity with the others and receive the bad comments in the same manner. If someone lives with simplicity and good thoughts, he is glad when he is offended.

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Always keep an open book on the table so that the devil cannot find any opportunity to bring you thoughts.

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In monasticism the good thing is that the thoughts get purified, because there you hear and see good things.

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