Saint Paisios the Athonite teaches Spiritual Dignity and Generous Pride

The Elder frequently emphasized the importance of cultivating spiritual dignity and a humble sense of pride, qualities that were readily apparent to anyone who had the privilege of meeting him. I once paid a visit to his humble abode at the Precious Cross kelli, and after our conversation, as I bid him farewell, he walked with me for a considerable distance. When I suggested that he return to his kelli and not overexert himself, he graciously bid me goodbye and retraced his steps. Had I not interjected, he might have accompanied me all the way to our representative's house in Karyes.

It's worth noting that he seldom exhibited his remarkable gift of foresight, and when he did, it was never for self-aggrandizement but always for the betterment of souls. On one occasion, a young monk came to seek his counsel, plagued by uncharitable thoughts about his abbot who had declined to provide him with a short jacket. Before the monk had a chance to speak, the Elder inquired, "What are these thoughts you're entertaining regarding your abbot's refusal to grant you a jacket?"

The Elder had a compassionate way of consoling young monks when they grappled with personal weaknesses, such as jealousy, which he referred to as the foibles of immaturity. Naturally, he advised them to mature and overcome these shortcomings.

Moreover, Father Païsios excelled in the virtue of discernment, helping each soul discover its inherent inclinations and the path laid out by God, thereby attaining inner peace.

His love extended to encompass the entire world, offering invaluable guidance to numerous individuals, particularly the youth, in navigating the challenges of leading a Christian life within secular society and family settings.

Conversing with the Elder was akin to being cradled in the arms of the Divine.

It is also worth emphasizing that Father Païsios held deep convictions regarding matters of faith and doctrine. In a letter to me, he once wrote, "Dogmas do not align with the European Union." In this stance, he walked in the footsteps of the holy Fathers, who believed and confessed that salvation required not only virtue but also an unwavering commitment to the Orthodox faith.

The sanctity of his life was mirrored in the sanctity of his passing. He accepted his painful illness as a divine gift and took joy in the knowledge that Christians outside the monastic sphere, who suffered from the same affliction, might find solace in the fact that even monks were not exempt.

He had transcended any attachment to self. His concern was not his own ailment but the well-being of others. Even in the final days of his life, he continued to address people's concerns. Just a few days prior to his passing, a devout couple visited him, seeking his blessing. Their unmarried daughters were a source of worry, and the Elder issued a solemn directive: "I order you to ensure that your daughters are well-established." Through his prayers, this wish became a reality.

May the memory of the venerable Elder be eternal. We are profoundly grateful for the solace, guidance, and wisdom he bestowed upon us, both through his teachings and the example of his life. Let us pray that we may follow in his footsteps, just as he followed the path of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Back to blog