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February 19, 2011

Elder Paisios, When Sick, Was Attended To By Angels and Saints For A Week

Elder Paisios told a spiritual child of a wondrous event, recorded below, which occurred in his life:

Once, when I was at Holy Cross [Hermitage], I became seriously ill. It was a harsh winter, and snow had fallen so that no tree looked like a tree. Everything was smothered in white, the trails were gone, the birds were quiet, clouds and fog obscured Athos. I had no contact with the Monastery of Stavronikita, and I could not live more than a few days since because of the illness I was completely paralyzed. I was expecting the Lord to take my soul and lead it to the mercy of His compassion. I could not even make one cup of tea, nor light the stove, no did I have water to drink. My life was at the mercy of God. I said: "Behold Lord, in Your mercy I hope. Do not forsake me!"

After a few prayers which I mumbled with great effort, I saw appear in my cell angels and saints, sent by God. The grace of God had visited quickly. I thanked and glorified my Savior. I cried. One of the angels took care of the stove, another was preparing warm food, they were also bringing fragrant breads. I was in Paradise. What else did I want.

The saints began to encourage me with words of consolation and prayers. And only their vision gave me rest, empowering me and giving me hope. They stayed with me until I was well and able to take care of myself. Then they left. They stayed with me for a week. When after a time I arose and went outside my cell I looked around at nature with different eyes. Everything was illumined with the uncreated light of the Holy Spirit. I was not worthy, but the infinite goodness of God and his love manifested in this way.

In all I felt such grace filling me within that I would say: "Enough Lord. I cannot take anymore. I will burst. Either take me with You or dwindle the grace You have given me. If You give me so much grace now, imagine what is given in Paradise."

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos; photos of the Hermitage of the Holy Cross where Elder Paisios and Papa-Tychon lived.