March 6, 2021

Saint Paisios and the Soul of Old Thanasis

“As  soon  as  I  went  to  live  at  the  skete,”  recalls  Saint  Paisios, “an elderly  gentleman  whom everyone referred to as old Thanasis and who worked  for  Philotheou  Monastery  as  a  forester,  found  out  about  it  and came  to  see  me.  He  was  a  friend  of  mine,  and  he  brought  me  some blessings, since I had just moved to the skete, and I did not have anything. I  thanked  him,  and  I  told  him  to  write  down  the  names  of  his  departed relatives,  so  that  I  could  commemorate  them.  Influenced  by a certain Jehovah’s  Witness,  he  replied,  ‘When  someone  dies,  there  is  nothing else — after death everything is lost.’

Soon  after  that,  he  himself  died.  When  I  found  out,  I  went  to Philotheou  Monastery  and  saw  his  grave.  Every  day  I  prayed  from  my heart for God to give rest to his soul. About twenty days after Mr. Thanasis passed  away,  I  found  out  that  someone  from  Philotheou  was looking  for me.  It  was  one  of the  stewards  of  the  monastery,  and  he  came  to  me  all upset. ‘Father,’ he said to me, ‘old Thanasis, the one who just died, came to  me  and  complained  that  I  have  forgotten  him  and have not done anything for him. And he told me that you are the only one who helps him with  your  prayers. The truth is, I have not commemorated him in my prayers. Now that I have become a steward of the monastery, I take care of  the  office,  and  I  have  a  lot  of  work  ... What can I do? I have also stopped doing my own prayer rule.’"

This  event  strengthened  the  Elder,  so  that  he henceforth prayed even more for the souls of all the departed.