June 1, 2012

An Encouraging Story From Elder Paisios

One day we left to visit Elder Paisios - a monk, one with many children and myself. The Elder welcomed us with his known simple and cordial manner. He narrated the following story to give courage to the man with many children:

I'll tell you something that happened to me when I was in the Monastery in Konitsa. There was an icon there of the Panagia and every day I cleaned it and lit Her oil lamp. At regular intervals a rural constable would come, who had nine children, and he would tell me: "Elder, I want to go light the oil lamp of the Panagia." I responded: "Blessed one, it is lit." He insisted. So as not to upset him, I would tell him to go. Later, as he would leave, I would follow after him and clean the oil.

One day I was intrigued and said: "Why don't I go see what this blessed one is doing in there, perhaps he is making a mess?" So when he entered the church, I secretly entered behind him being overprotective. He went, therefore, to the icon of the Panagia, he dipped his hand in the oil of Her oil lamp, he touched the barrel of his weapon, he knelt, and said:

"My Panagia, the food has ended. You know!"

With what I heard I was surprised and decided to follow him. Having distanced himself from the Monastery, around three hundred meters, I saw an erect goat across from him waiting. He took out his weapon, he killed it, he loaded it on his back, and he left. That's when I understood his words to the Panagia. From then on, whenever the constable came to the Monastery and left, I would set my ear to hear the gunshot. Indeed, after five, maybe ten minutes, I heard the gunshot and said:

"Again the Panagia gave it to him."

From Pilgrim's Testimonies: Elder Paisios the Athonite (1924-1994) (Μαρτυρίες προσκυνητών: Γέροντας Παΐσιος ο Αγιορείτης (1924-1994)), pp. 38-39. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.