October 31, 2019

Saint Paisios the Athonite and his Obedient Frog

The grave of Papa-Tychon near the Cell of the Honorable Cross.

When Metropolitan Amfilohije (Radović) of Montenegro and the Littoral was a student in Greece, where he was tonsured a monk and after completing his doctorate at the University of Athens with a thesis on Saint Gregory Palamas, he went to Mount Athos for a year where he lived in the Hut of the Archangels in Kapsala as an ascetic, about a half hour walk from the hut of Saint Paisios the Athonite, which at that time was the Cell of the Honorable Cross, where his spiritual father Papa-Tychon had lived. It was during this time that he witnessed a wonder that left an indelible impression on him. As he himself narrates:

"After we finished, Elder Paisios prepared the meal: rice, tomatoes that he had in his garden, and bread which he himself dried. He filled my plate, while on his he put very very little. I complained, saying to him that it was not right for him to eat as an ascetic and for me to eat as a glutton. He then said to me:

'Are you not a monk? You will therefore obey. Are you such a disobedient Montenegrin? Bayum over here is more obedient than you.'

Surprised, I asked him who Bayum was, because I knew he had no subordinate. He then showed me a rosebush he had planted there. He went and stood in front of the rosebush, saying:

'Come, Bayum, in order for this unbeliever Amfilohije to understand what true obedience is!'

As the soil around the rosebush was wet, it began to rise up and from there emerged a frog. I'm telling you what I witnessed with my own eyes. He then said to the frog:

'Return back to your place now, Bayum, and at night do your prayers!'

Astonished by this, I asked him what kind of prayers Bayum did. He explained to me that at night the frog went in front of a large wooden cross that the Elder had there, and he would do his 'chanting.' I was taken aback and said to myself: 'Now the Elder is joking with me? What kind of frog chanting is he talking about?'

The same day, with the setting of the sun, there was a full moon, and I easily walked from my hut to that of the Honorable Cross, which was basically across from it, and I managed to hide without creating a disturbance. He had a large cross and soon after Elder Paisios came out of his cell, he stood before the cross, and he began to make the sign of the cross.

Not even a minute went by - imagine sixty seconds - and it began, in the darkness of the night - 'ribbit, ribbit, ribbit.'

'Come Bayum, come Bayum, come and let us do prostrations before the Cross of Christ!'

The 'ribbit, ribbit' continued. Bayum was a name from the Bedouins of Sinai, but he could not be seen.

And there he was. A huge frog. He came jumping and stood next to the Elder.

Doing his prostrations, the Elder would get up, and the frog would get up too, and they did their prostrations before the Cross of Christ. There, at the Cross of Papa-Tychon.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

My God, what a story with that Bayum of his. There are other stories, and they are all true. Which one to tell first? If anyone had told me about this, I would not have believed them, but I saw it with my own eyes. I lived it, and I saw this miracle of God."

This story can also be heard in this documentary about Saint Paisios, at the 2:40 mark.