Join us at 6 pm for an Akathist to St. Paisios as we commemorate his nameday on Wednesday, July 12.
St. Paisios The Athonite
Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain was born on July 25th, 1924 in the village of Farasa in Cappadocia of Asia Minor. Elder Paisios was baptized by St. Arsenios of Cappadocia and named Arsenios, after the Holy Father. When he was about a month old, he and his family with St. Arsenios were relocated to northern Greece as part of the population exchange between Greece and Turkey.
At age 11, not only did Saint Paisios work an apprenticeship as a carpenter, but he also read the lives of the saints, seeking silence on top of mountains and in caves to keep vigil, fast, and pray. After a childhood friend suggested Christ may not be fully God, the saint was troubled, running to the forest to prostrate and pray for hours. Christ Himself then appeared to the boy Arsenios, saying, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He that believes in Me—though he were dead—yet, he shall Live.” Any doubt and questioning had vanished.
At age 15, St. Paisios attempted to join a monastery in the Metropolis of Iaonnina, but was told he was too young. His yearning for the monastic life and to be in isolation grew. He served in the military of Greece at 23 years old as a radio operator, asking the Theotokos to let him suffer, be in danger, but for him not to kill anyone, and for her to make him worthy to be a monk. In return, he would restore the monastery in Stomio that had been burned down during the second World War.
After being honorably discharged on March 21st, 1950, the Elder visited Mount Athos, returned home to help his father and sisters with work, then returned back to the Holy Mountain to stay, becoming an intermediate monk at age 29. Later, he was tonsured into the Small Schema and given the name Paisios. After leaving Athos and spending three years helping to restore the Stomio monastery, as he had promised the Mother of God, he was finally able to live as a hermit on Mount Sinai in 1962 for two years. While there, he would sell wood carvings to humbly provide food for the local Bedouins.
At this time, lifelong health problems began to surface, forcing him to return back to Mount Athos. In 1964, Saint Paisios received to the Great and Angelic Schema from his spiritual father, Elder Tikhon, at the hermitage of the Holy Cross. Numerous miracles were performed by Saint Paisios through his prayers, including the healing of multiple diseases such as blindness, heart problems, and cancer. He was gifted with clairvoyance and foresight and could address a person he had just met by name, tell them their life story, and even answer their questions before they could ask them. More and more pilgrims began visiting the Holy Elder for prayers and guidance.
St. Paisios departed the Holy Mountain for the final time on October 5th, 1993 to have a procedure to treat his cancer. He endured the intense and excruciating pain without a single complaint and even took visitors and continued to give counsel. Elder Paisios received his last communion on July 11th, 1994, giving his spirit up to the Lord the following day. On January 13th, 2015, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople canonized Elder Paisios as a saint. Feast day: July 12