July 8, 2013

Saint Athanasios the Athonite and the Scandalized Monk

The Venerable Athanasios the Athonite was a tall man, large bodied and brawny, so much that he was able to drag large logs tied with a rope, when he as abbot was building the sacred and most-revered Monastery of Great Lavra, together with the other brothers.

In the Dining Room of the Monastery, the Venerable One saw that one of the brothers observed him with reproach because, while the other brothers ate a plate of food, he was eating two.

One day the Venerable One invited this monk to sit with him, and he asked the waiter to bring them one plate of the food of the day each. The he ordered a second plate, as well as a third and a fourth. And while the Venerable One consumed one dish after another, right down to the seventh, the monk was not able to even finish the fourth.

"You see, brother," said the abbot then, "by eating two plates I abstain; for I could have eaten twelve and not just stopped at seven. Yet you were not even able to complete the fourth."

From the book The Cuisine of the Holy Mountain written by the Athonite monk Epiphanios Mylopotaminos. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.