November 10, 2015

The Story Behind the Biography of St. Arsenios Written by St. Paisios

By Hieromonk Christodoulos the Athonite

Elder Paisios very much loved, honored and revered Saint Arsenios of Cappadocia. He had a desire to transfer this love and reverence to the entire world, which is why he decided to write his biography and the miracles he did while alive. While writing the book the Elder worked very hard going from one place to another looking to find the elderly from Farasa, to tell him of their personal experiences that they had with Saint Arsenios, the Hatzefenti.

He finished writing the biography on the feast of Saint Theodore, on February 8/21, 1971. Two hours before sunset, while carefully reviewing the biography of the Saint to see if it needed any corrections, Saint Arsenios visited him, and as he himself testifies, he caressed him, like a teacher does with his student when he rests after handing in a lesson. As to what the Elder felt in the following hours after this divine visitation, it cannot be described in words. His desire to write the biography of Saint Arsenios was completed and he was rewarded in this wonderful manner! The result was that thirsty souls - who came to know through this book Saint Arsenios and believed in him - called upon him in their difficult moments and problems and he in turn responds and helps whoever invokes him with faith. The miracles that Saint Arsenios continues to do are very many and the joy of Elder Paisios, who wrote his biography, could not be described!

Many came and told him about a certain miracle, and he in turn told them about another. I will refer to one here, a small example of the result of this book which the Elder wrote:

In the Cell of Saint E... there lived the monk Father S..., who especially loved the Elder, just as the Elder also loved him. This young and novice monk was shown paternal affection by the Elder and he gave him a small portion of the holy relic of Saint Arsenios, which he placed in a pectoral cross.

One day a secular friend visited him, to whom he gave hospitality. At night his friend was disturbed by the evil one and became very afraid, for no reason he was overcome with terror, and his entire body trembled. When Father S... saw him he felt sorry for him, but immediately remembered the relic of Saint Arsenios and with much faith took it out of his chest and crossed his friend. Immediately his shaking ceased and the fear disappeared. Father S... was full of joy and glorified God, who immediately intervenes with His saints for those who call upon them with faith.

The next day, full of joy, he went to the Elder and narrated to him this wondrous event. And he, wanting to help him a bit, said to him:

"For such a small miracle you're acting this way? Come here, and I will tell you one, to see what Saint Arsenios can do!

In Athens there is a merchant glazier named A.... One day, therefore, he forgot his keys in his car and certain shrewd ones stole it. When he confirmed the theft he immediately ran to his room before the icon of Saint Arsenios and with much faith said: 'You, Saint Arsenios, who petrified the Turks, petrify also my car!' In the meantime the thieves were at that moment on a busy road and suddenly the car stopped in the middle of the road. They got out and tried to move it forward and in their effort they swore a lot at the divine. Because the car would not start and they found it difficult to roll, they abandoned it in the middle of the road and ran away on foot to not be caught. The other drivers, who could not pass due to the stopped vehicle, called the police, who went and confirmed that the car was stolen and immediately notified the owner. A girl, who was there and followed the entire scene with the thieves and the efforts they took to restart the car, when she saw the police said: 'I was right to think that this car wasn't theirs. Because, while it was full of icons, they swore at our Lord and our Panagia while they were trying to restart it!'

Indeed, the car immediately became 'unglued' through the prayers of Saint Arsenios, who had 'petrified' it!"

Mr. A..., after this event, went to the Holy Mountain and visited the Elder. He wondered: "Perhaps the Elder was informed of this event?" When he arrived at the door of the Elder, as soon as they met and greeted each other, the Elder said smiling, without A... revealing anything to him previously:

"Blessed one, next time put a sign outside your car with an arrow to show where the keys to your car are, so the poor thieves won't have to look for them!"

The Elder saw Saint Arsenios many times. In his book titled Saint Arsenios the Cappodocian he narrates many things and it is worth reading by all of us, because it is written by the Elder himself, and one can see in it as in a mirror the soul of the blessed Elder laid out with reverence, humility and love.

From the book Σκεύος Εκλογής (Chosen Vessel), pp. 268-272. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.