Saint Paisios the Athonite brings solace to every soul23 July 2020
Elder Païsios has no need of any praise or introduction from us. With his imitation of Christ’s love, he satisfied both God and other people and this is why he’s widely praised in the Church of God.
He had the rare gift of being able to bring solace to people of all works of life, irrespective of their level of education or their spiritual state. I remember the case of a psychiatrist/psychoanalyst who came to visit out monastery after an encounter with the Elder. Not only had he found peace, but he also told me that what the Elder had said to him was the last word in modern psychiatry. It’s well known that the Elder didn’t read books, other than the Gospels and Abba Isaak the Syrian.
If it was to bring solace to a soul, he would spare neither time nor effort. There was once I was curious to know how he was able to cure a young man with severe psychological problems. Out of respect, I didn’t ask him. Years later he satisfied my curiosity as follows: ‘When people have a problem you have to listen carefully, for as long as they’re talking and not give any sign that you’re tired, because then you’ll lose everything. Well, I listened to that young man one day for nine hours, without moving. That’s when my insides were damaged’. It wasn’t the only time that the sacrificial love of Father Païsios worked a miracle.
On another occasion, when I asked him about a difficult problem I’d encountered in confession, as a spiritual father, he told me: ‘Listen, father, when you become a spiritual father, you have to be prepared to go down into hell for those you confess. Otherwise, don’t bother. But what I have to say is that, if you go to hell, you’ll make it paradise, because you’ll have love’. Amazing advice, that only a God-bearing person would be able to give.
It’s well known that, in the last thirty years, Our Most Holy Lady has ensured an influx of new monks to the Holy Mountain. Father Païsios was one of those elders who helped many young men to take the decision to become monks. He even helped many young monks to take root on the Holy Mountain and to bear fruit. We felt him to be at our side in our struggle to take pastoral care of our young monks, a coach for many who were fighting the devil, the passions, the world.