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February 4, 2010

Elder Paisios and the Pornographer

The elder changed many lives. I once met a man who told me that he used to make a great deal of money showing pornographic films. He was very suspicious of Christianity, and, when he first heard of Elder Paisios, he supposed that he was a charlatan and decided to go to Mount Athos with two of his friends to "expose that monk".

When they arrived, the elder received them in his yard, saying, "Sit down and let me serve you something." The elder served the other two gentlemen first, and then stood in front of the first man and turned the plate upside down, letting the sweet fall in the mud.

"I dropped it," he said, "but that doesn't matter. Pick it up and eat it anyway."

The fellow was insulted: "How do you expect me to eat it when its filthy?"

The elder sternly replied, "And why do you give people filth to eat?"

Stunned, embarrassed, and in some fear, the man got up and left, but he went back again the next day and spoke with the elder. He told me he felt then as though the ground were shifting under his feet. The conversation was brief.

"What am I supposed to do?" he asked.

The elder responded, "First of all, shut down your business, then come back and talk to me again."

He returned to Thessaloniki, closed the business, and began to look for new work.

After about a month he went to speak with Father Paisios, who told him to go to confession and taught him to put his life in order spiritually. I admired the man when I heard this - at just one call to repentance he had changed his life and followed Christ, just like Matthew the tax-collector in the Gospel (Matt. 9:9).

From the book titled The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios by Dionysios Farasiotis; p. 75.