January 28, 2015

When Panagiotis Nellas Was a Novice Under Saint Paisios

The following account was given by Loukas Eznepidis, the brother of Saint Paisios the Athonite, from when Saint Paisios was living as a monk at Stomiou Monastery in his native Konitsa.

One morning I went from Konitsa to the Monastery. When I arrived, I saw my brother [Saint Paisios] and the young theologian Panagiotis Nellas [+ April 6, 1986] walking towards the forest. Nellas had gone there shortly before to be tested by the Elder as a novice, in order to become a monk. But what I saw when I went closer moved me. Both of them were completely barefoot, walking on the wild rocks and thorny forest. The feet of the young theologian were wounded and bloody. I didn't dare say anything to them. Panagiotis looked at me with a melancholy smile on his icy lips. As for my brother? He threw me a sharp look, which did not allow me to make a comment, nor even to "breathe". After a while I took the road back to Konitsa. Throughout the trek of my journey I remembered how I wept and was in wonder over our Orthodox faith and the genuine monasticism that exists even in our days, and was lived by my brother.

Of course, the young theologian could not withstand the difficult program of Saint Paisios, and after many days he returned home.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

Panagiotis Nellas