Elder Paisios of Mount Athos of eternal memory, Arsenios Eznepidis in the world (1924-1994), is the greatest figure of modern Orthodox monasticism. His spiritual brilliance has for a long time exceeded Greece's borders, as well as those of the Greek-speaking local Churches, and has spread throughout all Orthodoxy, even captivating many heterodox. It has not diminished as time passes but has increased because of the many miracles that his sanctified soul performs even after his death, being next to the Throne of glory in Christ's Kingdom. Even a brief reference to the events in his life would certainly not do justice to his universally acknowledged spiritual glory, which cannot be completely apprehended, not even through his extensive teachings, which consist of numerous volumes, nor through the narration of third parties about his wondrous life and miracles. This is because the sanctity of the saints is immaterial, indescribable and incomprehensible and has been obtained—by God's grace—through secret, supernatural struggles. We can only be partakers of it to a certain extent, according to the degree that the charitable Lord's providence allows.                

Elder Paisios' life is also distinguished for his excessive asceticism, vigils, fasting, and ceaseless prayer. These did not subside with the multitudes who resorted to him for help, nor with the illnesses which―especially during the last part of his life―unintentionally perfected and completed his earlier intentional asceticism. Of course, his asceticism has become known to us in spite of his deep humility, as it was apparent in the rest of his behavior. For one's behavior is the only firm foundation and seal of sanctity. Elder Paisios' wondrous life, which has been brought to light by Christ's love for His Church, exactingly followed the footsteps of the Saints of old in all its manifestations. These are complete obedience and the seizing of one's will at the start of the monastic life in a cenobitic monastery, complete asceticism and silence, the completion of prayer (as much as is humanly possible), the guidance of other souls and the institution of “schools of virtue” (monasteries), the spiritual education of spiritual guides embellished with gifts similar to his, the gift of clairvoyance and discernment, the gift of healing, the zealous defense of Orthodoxy against heresies and blasphemy, God-pleasing prayer for the whole world out of love (both for his earthly nation and every soul), the gift of consoling and of simplicity. In addition, in the general consciousness of the Church, even while he was still alive, he was considered a saint according to the example of the ancient ascetics.                               

Finally, his life has been crowned by the world's general testimony to and love for him, which continues to increase despite the 17 years that have passed since his “falling asleep.” This is proof that God is “informing” the human heart, which while “the love of many grows cold” thirsts for love, understanding and support which “does not wane.”



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To begin with, since I never imagined that a time would come when I would narrate Father Paisios' life... (31/10/2011)
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