An inheritor and conveyer of the ascetic ethos and dogmatic consciousness of the Holy Apostles and Holy Fathers, he lived the monastic life in obscurity on the Holy Mountain of Athos in northern Greece but became a beacon of true life in Christ to faithful throughout the world. He commited himself entirely into the hands of God and God in turn gave him as a light and guide to all who seek the Truth and salvation. The life and virtues of the elder are exhaustively and accurately sketched in profound simplicity, revealing the spiritual brilliance which shone forth from his heart, enveloping on all who drew near. They visited him and donated blood when it was needed during the operation.
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Very shortly after his baptism the young Arsenios and his family were forced to leave Asia Minor in accordance the peace Treaty of Lausanne. Arsenios guided his flock along a mile trek to Greece.
The Eznepidis family finally settled in the town of Konitsa in Epirus in northwestern Greece. As he had prophesied, St. Arsenios reposed forty days after the group settled in Greece, leaving, as his spiritual heir, the infant Arsenios. Arsenios grew up in Konitsa and learned carpentry after completing intermediate public school. He was noted for his bravery, self-sacrifice and moral righteousness.
After the civil war ended, he wanted to enter a monastic life, but had to consider his sisters, who were as yet unmarried. He arrived on Mount Athos in , first to Fr. Kyril, the future abbot of Koutloumousiou Monastery , and then to Esphigmenou Monastery. In , Arsenios, having been a novice for four years, was tonsured a monk and was given the name Averkios. He was a conscientious monk , finding ways to both complete his obediences which required contact with others and to preserve his silence, so as to progress in the art of prayer.
He was always selfless in helping his brethren. He was unwilling to rest while others worked though he may have already completed his own obediences as he loved his brothers greatly and without distinction. In addition to his ascetic struggles and the common life in the monastery , he was spiritually enriched through the reading of soul-profiting books.
In particular, he read the lives of the Saints, the Gerontikon , and especially the Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac the Syrian. Soon after his tonsure, monk Averkios left Esphigmenou and joined the then idiorhythmic brotherhood of Philotheou Monastery , where his uncle was a monk. He placed himself under obedience to the Elder Symeon, who gave him the Small Schema in , with the new name Paisios. He harshly accused himself and pushed himself to greater self-denial and more fervent prayer for his soul and for the whole world.
In this way he preserved himself from judging others. For example, pilgrims to Mt. Athos who had been scandalized by the strange behavior and stories told by a certain monk would when they met Elder Paisios, asked him what was wrong with the monk. He warned them not to judge others, and that this monk was actually virtuous and was simply pretending to be a fool when visitors would come, so as to preserve his silence.
In , Elder Paisios was asked to spend some time in and around his home village so as to support the faithful against the proselytism of Protestant groups. He greatly encouraged the faithful there, helping many people. Later, in , he visited Sinai where he stayed for two years. During this time he became beloved of the Bedouins who benefited both spiritually as well as materially from his presence. The Elder used the money he received from the sale of his carved wooden handicraft to buy them food.
In , on his return to Mt. Athos, Elder Paisios took up residence at the Skete of Iviron before moving to Katounakia at the southernmost tip of Mt. Athos for a short stay in the desert there. In , a part of his lungs was removed during an operation. It was during this time of hospitalization that his long friendship began with the young sisterhood of St.
John the Theologian in Souroti, just outside of Thessaloniki. During his operation he greatly needed blood and it was then that a group of novices from the monastery donated blood to save him. Elder Paisios was most grateful, and after his recovery, he did whatever he could, materially and spiritually, to help them build their monastery.
In , he resided at the Monastery of Stavronikita helping with its spiritual as well as material renovation. While there he had the blessing of being in contact with the ascetic Elder Tikhon who lived in the Hermitage of the Holy Cross, near Stavronikita. Elder Paisios stayed by his side until his repose, serving him selflessly as his disciple.
It was during this period that Elder Tikhon clothed Fr. Paisios in the Great Schema. According to the wishes of the Elder, Fr. Paisios stayed there until , when he moved to his final home on the Holy Mountain, the hermitage Panagouda, which belongs to the Monastery of Koutloumousiou.
He received them all day long, dedicating the night to God in prayer, vigil, and spiritual struggle. His regime of prayer and asceticism left him with only two or three hours each night for rest.
The self-abandon with which he served God and his fellow man, his strictness with himself, the austerity of his regime, and his sensitive nature made him increasingly prone to sickness. In addition to respiratory problems, in his later days he suffered from a serious hernia that made life very painful. The physical effort which this entailed in his weakened state caused him such pain that he would turn pale.
He bore his suffering with much grace, confident that, as God knows what is best for us, it could not be otherwise. He would say that God is greatly touched when someone who is in great suffering does not complain, but rather uses his energy to pray for others.
In addition to his other illnesses he suffered from hemorrhaging which left him very weak. In his final weeks before leaving the Holy Mountain, he would often fall unconscious. On October 5 , , the Elder left his beloved Holy Mountain for the last time.
Though he had planned on being off the mountain for just a few days, while in Thessaloniki he was diagnosed with cancer that needed immediate treatment. After the operation he spent some time recovering in the hospital and was then transferred to the monastery at Souroti. Despite his critical state he received people, listening to their sorrows and counseling them. After his operation, Elder Paisios had his heart set on returning to Mt.
His attempts to do so, however, were hindered by his failing health. His last days were full of suffering, but also of the joy of the martyrs. On July 11 , , he received Holy Communion for the last time.
He was buried, according to his wishes, at the Monastery of St. John the Theologian in Souroti. Elder Paisios, perhaps more than any other contemporary elder, captured the minds and hearts of the Greek people.
Thousands of pilgrims visit his tomb each year. He is commemorated each year on July Herman of Alaska Monastery. Spiritual Counsels, Vol. Hymns Apolytikion in the First Tone  The offspring of Farasa, and the adornment of Athos, and the imitator of the former righteous, equal in honor, O Paisios let us honor O faithful, the vessel full of graces, who hastens speedily to those who cry out: glory to Him Who gave you strength, glory to Him Who crowned you, glory to Him Who grants through you healings for all.
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone  The most-famed ascetic of the Holy Mountain, and the newly-enlightened light of the Church, let us praise him with hymns with all our heart, for he leads the faithful towards a perfect life, filling them with rivers of gifts, therefore we cry out: Synaxarion  On this day July 12 , the memory of our venerable Father Paisios the New, of the Holy Mountain, who reposed in peace in the year On the twelfth, Paisios reposed.
Rejoice the communicant with the Venerable, the pride of Athos, the adornment of Monastics, Rejoice the new teacher of the Church, O godly-minded Paisios, our boast. Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople - News Releases. January 13, External links.
Paisios of Mount Athos
Very shortly after his baptism the young Arsenios and his family were forced to leave Asia Minor in accordance the peace Treaty of Lausanne. Arsenios guided his flock along a mile trek to Greece. The Eznepidis family finally settled in the town of Konitsa in Epirus in northwestern Greece. As he had prophesied, St. Arsenios reposed forty days after the group settled in Greece, leaving, as his spiritual heir, the infant Arsenios.
Elder Paisios of Mount Athos Quotes
After the exchange, the Eznepidis family settled in Konitsa , Epirus. Arsenios grew up there, and after intermediate public school, he learned carpentry. During the civil war in Greece , Arsenios served as a radio operator. In , having completed his service, he went to Mount Athos : first to Father Kyril, the future abbot of Koutloumousiou monastery , and then to Esphigmenou Monastery although he was not supportive of their later opposition to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.