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July 13, 2019

Saint Paisios, Saint Porphyrios and the "Zealots" of Kavsokalyva

By Hieromonk George of Kavsokalyva

Few people know of the short passage of Saint Paisios at the Skete of Kavsokalyva, when he was still seeking an elder to submit himself to.

He was inclined towards the hesychast life and so decided to visit Cells and Sketes, still wearing his military uniform and going by the name Arsenios.

In his biography we read about his search. 'He was burdened by certain zealots who had no discernment. He thought they were called zealots because they had a lot of zeal and struggled a lot. But instead they made him feel dizzy and wanted to rebaptize him, even though he was already baptized by Saint Arsenios and even with the Old Calendar.

When he went to live with an elder who was a zealot, he found no rest, because they would listen to music on the radio and their life was not very spiritual. When he would try to leave, they would play mind games with him. "If you leave," they would say, "you will go to hell. Whoever abandons their repentance will not go to paradise." Arsenios believed them and he suffered for it. At some point however he became tired and left.

He visited a Cell in Kavsokalyva where he stayed for a while. They also were zealots. During services they would take Arsenios outside the church in order to not be corrupted, as they thought' (Life of Elder Paisios the Athonite, Hieromonk Isaac, pp. 79-80).

In his visit to Kavsokalyva, by Divine Providence, Saint Paisios stayed in the Cell of the Ypapanti, which was right next to the Cell of Saint George, which was the cell of repentance of Saint Porphyrios and the one in which he reposed.

However this treatment undergone by Saint Paisios from the "zealots", was also undergone by Saint Porphyrios when he tried to return to the cell of his repentance, where he lived as a youth with his elders.

In the years since he had left, the elder of the hermitage was a "zealot" by the name of David, who considered Elder Porphyrios delusional and a heretic. He even asked him to put away his "delusion" and "heresy" and to be rebaptized, at which he would be received back into the cell.

Even when Elder David left, Saint Prophyrios was unable to return. The "zealots" have always created obstacles and prevented his return.

Two Saints therefore, Paisios and Porphyrios, suffered at Kavsokalyva by the "zealots" and "genuine" Orthodox. How could it be otherwise, since the Saint from whom the name Kavsokalyva came from was also accused of being delusional, a fool and various other things.

Saint Maximos of Kavsokalyva did not live a life of comfort and tranquility, but of persecution and slander. How therefore could two contemporary Saints step foot on the sanctified place of Kavsokalyva and live a different life?

When everything is subject to Divine Providence, how random can it be that, after seven centuries from the time of Saint Maximos, the official canonization of Saint Paisios took place on the feast of Saint Maximos on January 13, 2015?

Nowadays, in Kavsokalyvia, the situation has not changed much. The "zealotism" without knowledge still exists.

It is preserved by "jealous" circles moving inside and outside Mount Athos, which even today call Saints Paisios and Porphyrios ecumenists and sorcerers.

Of course, the spiritual family created by Saint Porphyrios from 1985 onwards, cannot avoid these slanders he suffered himself, by the "zealots" of the Kavsokalyvians and Mount Athos.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos