January 12, 2011

The Prophetic Elder Paisios and the Misuse of His Words

By Monk Moses the Athonite

Very much has been said and written about the blessed Elder Paisios the Athonite (1924-1994). Already 16 years have passed since his blessed repose. He passed away on 07/12/1994 in the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian in Souroti, Thessaloniki and is buried there. His tomb is a pan-Orthodox place of pilgrimage. People of all ages come from far away to light a candle and invoke help for their needs.

Those who mention his name today do so with emotion, respect and love together with the Holy Mountain. He was indeed a true man of God, ascetic, humble, modest, non-possessive, respected, loved and charismatic. Those of us who knew him remember well the grace of his words, his goodness, his kindness and his sincerity. He was never flattered, never falsely comforting, never fake and never chatty. His words were life, graceful, heaven-sent, substantial and significant. Even with some of his jokes he tried to comfort the listener's pain.

For this reason great attention is required in the distribution of his words. Sometimes his words were only for the person he was personally speaking with, and certainly not for everyone. It is not correct to generalize, distort, deform, and alter his words. Some of his prophetic words are magnified by some who love extremes and want to pass their own message by using the words of the ever-memorable Elder. There are always some who are inclined towards fanaticism, zealotism, terrorism and fearful eschatology.

The blessed Elder Paisios often spoke of "holy philotimo", "holy solitude", "holy silence", "holy humility" and "holy levendia". Throughout his life he was philotimos, ascetic, humble and a levendis. He would say: "The Gospel and secular logic are incompatible. In the Gospel there is love. In logic is self-interest." Is this not how it is? In difficult times we need to reconnect with the Divine. Elder Paisios is another bridge to heaven. He would say: "In our love towards our neighbor hides our love for Christ." He was always full of love for his neighbor. His words are kept carefully in books with high circulation. The world's search for true comfort has not ceased. His teachings illumine, quench the thirst, rouse, bring one back to their senses, and strengthen.

He would say thoughtfully and proactively: "People today suffer from cultures." Or: "We will see the most incredible things." Further: "If things are not shared with the Gospel they will be shared with a knife." Thirty years ago he said: "People will leave the cities because of culture. Culture now brings sicknesses." He advised: "God will allow a strong jolt. Difficult years are coming. Let us live spiritually. The choice is clear, we are with Christ or with the devil. It is a storm and the struggle has value." He would knowingly admonish: "The current situation can only be addressed spiritually, not in a worldly way. In this situation you will see, some will have a salary and others will pay their debts. God will put things in their place, but each of us will answer for what we did in these difficult years...."

Is he not right? Is he too much? He is prophetic. Recent references to his appearance, in which he said to gather food, have no justification, no basis, but are fantasies of the naive.

Source: Protaton, Oct.-Dec. 2010. Translated by John Sanidopoulos

See also:

The Holy Community of Mount Athos Responds to the Alleged Appearance of Elder Paisios

A Question Regarding the So-Called "Prophecies" of Holy Elders