From the Life of Elder Hadji-Georgis the Athonite (1808-1886) by Saint Paisios
From the Life of Elder Hadji-Georgis the Athonite (1808-1886) by Saint Paisios
A nun: Elder, what should I reflect on during Great Lent?
(1) The Three Day Fast (Ιερὸ Τριήμερο)With Clean Monday begins Great Lent in the Orthodox Church and marks the end of feasting. Clean Monday is called as such because Christians are called to cleanse themselves spiritually and bodily. It is also a day of strict fasting with no work. The holy fast has a duration of 40 days in imitation of our Lord’s fast in the desert. Strictly observant Orthodox hold this day (and also Clean Tuesday and Wednesday) as a strict fast day, on which no solid food at all is eaten. Others will eat only in the evening, and then only ‘xerophagy’ (lit. “dry eating”; i.e. eating uncooked foodstuffs such as fruit, nuts, halva, bread and honey, etc). For those who are able and willing, and always with the blessing of their spiritual father, it is encouraged by the Orthodox Church to keep a three day strict fast where neither food or water (if possible) is consumed until Clean Wednesday when one partakes of Holy Communion at the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy. Some of the strictest faithful even go so far as to do this for the entire Clean Week, accepting only Holy Communion during the week. This is an excellent way to mark the beginning of a holy struggle against one’s passions and weaknesses.
“How can I plead empty-handed?”
St. Paisos would always cut a few wild flowers outside his hut and take them to the Theotokos icon, whenever he wanted to pray to Her.
Indeed, he urged everybody to always make an offering to Panagia, even a little one, anything within our power
At the hut of St. Paisios
Following a request by the Office of Military Chaplains, part of the General Staff of the Greek Armed Forces, the Holy Permanent Synod of the Church of Greece has declared Saint Paisios the Athonite, my patron Saint and spiritual grandfather, to be the Patron Saint of the Corps of Signals.
Thinking Christians are often troubled by the question: how is it possible that the Church, which blesses the peacemakers (Matth. 5, 9) and has as its Head Him Who was meek and humble of heart (Matth. 11, 29), the Prince of Peace, should assign saints to be protectors of troops.
This thought is reasonable and healthy as regards its starting point. From the very first years of its theological thought the Church condemned murder and war (see Origen, Against Celsus) . Nor did it accept those who fell in time of war as martyrs.
It also knows, however, that, because of human greed and egocentrism, war is, in many cases, an unavoidable evil. In such instances, the position of the Church is to side with the injured party, the one on the defensive, with those who are protecting the great blessing of freedom and their hearths and homes.
The spirit which the Church encourages in such instances isn’t one of hostility or murderous efficiency, but that of self-sacrifice and selflessness. In essence, the spirit of martyrdom.
So it is that, in the days of spiritual crisis in which we’re living and which is spreading to all the fields of human activity, the Church has provided the Corps of Signals with a patron who is a martyr of conscience: the Blessed Elder Paisios, who was so kind and comforting to any soul who was suffering or in need. Saint Barbara and Saint George are so many centuries removed from us that it’s difficult for us to have any intimate knowledge of their personality, but Paisios is a Saint of our own times, he’s one of us. He’s someone we listened to, saw, touched. If you read his Life, especially the parts dealing with his military service, you’ll see for yourself his courage, which was accompanied by martyr’s spirit of sacrifice. The Saint was decorated and honoured not for the damage he caused the enemy, but for the spirit of self-sacrifice he showed towards his comrades in arms. He preferred a thousand times over to place himself in danger, if that meant that others would be safe and sound. He condemned stark violence and war crimes, no matter which side committed them and always maintained a spirit of love and fellow-suffering, even towards the enemy.
Another great Elder, a contemporary of Saint Paisios, Elder Sophrony Sakharov wrote that: ‘of all the afflictions of the human race, the worst is war’ , because of the hatred that it leaves behind as a demonic deposit, a poison in our hearts and minds. His own elder, Saint Silouan the Athonite made love of one’s enemies an ecclesiological criterion for the authenticity of the Church .
With all the above very much in mind, instead of some successful and efficient wartime leader, the Orthodox Church advances a humble saint as an example to follow in times of conflict.
Saint Paisios, heaven’s signalman!
Below follow the Saint’s photographs for those who cannot see the slideshow at the top
Γιατί ο Άγιος Παΐσιος ανακηρύχθηκε προστάτης των Διαβιβάσεων
Back to Greece
Before the little city hermit’s Pilgrimage to Holy Land
To receive the blessing (ευλογία) of
St. John the Forerunner
St. Paisios the Athonite
Gerondas Gregorios’, St. Paisios’ tonsure
and + Sister Episteme
The love of the Elder Paisios for the whole world is well known. The Elder has helped a whole host of people before and after his physical death. But the question is from where did he receive his ability to help people and to perform miracles? He received this heavenly power through his fervent prayers to God.
The following prayer of his was given to a convent which had asked the Elder for a prayer rule that could be used by the nuns in their evening vigils. This directive was given to the nuns during the final years of his life. The main emphasis of this prayer is his profound love for all of humanity.
This prayer can be used by every Christian believer since it takes in all the issues of life that need our prayers. Even the children can understand it easily since it is expressed in simple words. It can be used by families during their evening prayers.
Our Lord Jesus Christ:
Do not abandon your servants who live far away from the Church. May your love convict them and bring them back to you.
Lord have mercy on your servants who are suffering from cancer.
On your servants who suffer either from small or serious ailments.
On your servants who suffer from physical infirmities.
On your servants who suffer from spiritual infirmities.
Lord have mercy on our leaders and inspire them to govern with Christian love.
Lord have mercy on children who come from troubled homes.
On troubled families and those who have been divorced.
Lord have mercy on all the orphans of the world, on all those who are suffering pain and injustices since losing their spouses.
Lord have mercy on all those in jail, on all anarchists, on all drug abusers, on all murderers, on all abusers of people, and on all thieves. Enlighten these people and help them to straighten out their lives.
Lord have mercy on all those who have been forced to emigrate.
On all those who travel on the seas, on land, in the air, and protect them.
Lord have mercy on our Church, the bishops, the priests and the faithful of the Church.
Lord have mercy on all the monastic communities, male and female, the elders and eldresses and all the brotherhoods of Mt. Athos.
Lord have mercy on your servants who find themselves in the midst of war.
On your servants who are being pursued in the mountains and on the plains.
On your servants who are being hunted like birds of prey.
Lord have mercy on your servants who were forced to abandon their homes and their jobs and feel afflicted.
Lord have mercy on the poor, the homeless and the exiled.
Lord have mercy on the nations of the world. Keep them in your embrace and envelope them with your holy protection. Keep them safe from every evil and war. Keep our beloved Greece (we can add here all countries, all mankind) in your protective embrace day and night. Embrace her with your holy protection defending her from all evil and war.
Lord have mercy on those who have been abandoned and have suffered injustice. Have mercy on families that are going through trying times. Pour your abundant love upon them.
Lord have mercy on your servants who suffer from spiritual and bodily problems of all kinds.
Lord have mercy on those who are despairing. Help them and grant them peace.
Lord have mercy on those that have requested that we pray for them.
Lord grant eternal rest to all those who have passed on to eternal life throughout the ages.