Father Paisios always wished for the grace of God to function in his life,
and for this reason, he humbled every single one of his wills. As a result,
divine grace, which abided in the Elder’s soul since the day he was
baptized, was activated and worked miracles.
The Elder always tried to hide from people the energy of divine grace hidden
inside him. When divine grace was functioning within him and was perceived
by some people, Father Paisios humbly admitted that he himself did nothing;
for he had very well understood –since he was very young- that it was
impossible for any authentic spiritual energy to come out of him.
Most of the times, he covered up the energy of divine grace, so people could
not detect it. There were times, however, when people needed a “divine push”
instead of human assistance in order to believe in God and thus correct
themselves; then, he was forced to disclose the energy of the divine grace.
A series of volumes is required in order to present, even to the slightest
degree, whatever was overflowing from the spiritual activity of the Elder.
The following are only a few indications of wondrous events witnessed by
priestmonk Christodoulos, who is the author of the book “Elder Paisios of
the Holy Mountain” (1998).
One afternoon, I went to see Father Paisios. During these days, I was
possessed by a certain haughtiness which was derived from the lack of warmth
in my poor prayer life. When I began to control my unrestrained mind, I
started seeing things more lucidly. However, as I did not have a humble
attitude, I thought I had reached a certain spiritual state and I was
bragging about it.
I went to see the Elder to confide in him my thoughts, which were imbued by
the sense of haughtiness I just described. Father Paisios listened to me and
without saying anything in specific, started telling me the following story:
-Yesterday, a monk visited me and told me something which made me recall the
incident I am about to tell you.
One night, I was in my cell at Katounakia saying the Jesus prayer and
gradually I was possessed by a heavenly joy. Simultaneously, my cell, whose
darkness was interrupted only by the trembling flame of a candle, was filled
with a beautiful white-blue light. At the beginning, the light was very
strong. I felt that my eyes were also “getting stronger” in order to
withstand the glow. It was the Uncreated Light! I stayed in my cell for many
hours, losing sense of all earthy things and living in a spiritual world,
very different from this one.
While being in this state of the Uncreated Light and heavenly experiences, I
lost all sense of time.
At one point the Uncreated Light started fading away and I was back to my
old state of being. I began to feel hungry, so I took a piece of bread to
eat. Then, I was thirsty and had some water to drink. I was getting tired
and I needed to sit down and get some rest. I felt like an animal and I
deplored myself for it. The change from one situation back to the other gave
birth to a natural humbleness. Having experienced the difference between the
spiritual state I was found in and my earthly needs, there was nothing left
for me but to despise and blame myself for it.
Further down from my cell, another monk was residing. I looked outside and
had the impression it was still night with a full moon. I went out and asked
-What time is it? It seems that dawn hasn’t broken yet this morning.
The monk looked astonished and asked me:
- What did you say, Father Paisios? I didn’t understand.
Only then, I realized what had happened. It was ten in the morning and the
“full moon” I thought I had seen was the sun. The Uncreated Light was so
strong that it made daylight and the sun look like a night with a full moon.
The difference between the light of the sun and the Uncreated Light was like
the one between night and day.
When the Elder finished his story, he told me to go, as there were other
people waiting to see him. I made my way back to my cell only slightly
realized my beastly state of being.
After the Turkish invasion in Cyprus, a Cypriot deacon monk went to visit
the Elder, as he was feeling very sad about the terrible destruction and
great loss of lives. (He had also lost some of his relatives).
Father Paisios was fond of him because he was a very pious and kind man and
asked him to spend the night at his cell.
- In the morning, the priest will come to serve the Divine Liturgy. I will
wake you up early, so we can chant the Matins service and read the prayers
of the Holy Communion service.
The deacon went to his cell and the Elder to his own, where he prayed all
night. A couple of times, he went to knock on the deacon’s door and jokingly
- Father, did you, by any chance, have a vision? Did you see an angel?
Around two o’ clock in the morning, Father Paisios woke him up to start the
Matins service. At one point, the Elder began to read the service of the
Holy Communion. The deacon was watching the way Father Paisios was reading,
and how his face was full of compunction and piety.
When he reached the hymn of the fifth ode which says: “O Mary, Mother of
God, the sacred tent of fragrance, through your prayers, make me a chosen
instrument that I may partake of the holiness of your offspring”, something
The little chapel was filled with a white-blue light and the oil lamps,
whose red flames became light-blue as well, began to move in a slow rhythm.
At the same time, the whole chapel was permeated by a heavenly fragrance
The deacon was astonished and could not understand what was going on. He
interrupted the Elder, whispering to him:
- Father, what is happening?
He made a signal for him to keep silent and told him:
- Say the Jesus prayer and do not talk, because the Virgin Mary is visiting
For quite some time, the Elder and the deacon remained with their heads on
the ground, until the white-blue light faded away taking along with it the
sorrow and grief from the deacon’s heart. In their place, there was joy,
hope, faith and love for God, but also gratefulness towards the Elder who
was the recipient of the grace of God. Later on, the priest came to serve
the Divine Liturgy. In the morning, the deacon left with a feeling of
admiration for the spiritual boldness Father Paisios had before God.
Father Paisios was going through a very difficult phase. A problem was
created in the Church at that time and many bishops had gone to him to ask
for his help. However, it was a very complicated problem and even if he
wanted to, he was unable to assist; as he said, no matter from which side
you look at the problem, you come face to face with a spiritual impasse. So,
he decided to turn his efforts to solve the problem into prayer. During that
time, Father Paisios constantly prayed for God to give solution to the
Church’s problem; especially, he prayed to St. Ephemia:
- St. Ephemia, you who miraculously solved the serious problem the Church
was facing then, take the Church out of the present impasse!
One morning, at nine o’ clock, when Father Paisios was reading the service
of the third hour, he suddenly heard someone discreetly knocking on his
door. The Elder asked from inside:
-Who is it?
Then, he heard a woman’s voice answering:
- It is me, Ephemia, Father.
-Which Ephemia? He asked again.
There was no answer. There was another knock on the door and he asked again.
-Who is it?
The same voice was heard saying:
-It is Ephemia, Father.
There was a third knock and the Elder felt someone coming inside his cell
and walking through the corridor. He went to the door and there he saw St.
Ephemia, who had miraculously entered his cell through the locked door and
was venerating the icon of the Holy Trinity, which the Elder had placed on
the wall of his corridor, on the right hand side of the church’s door.
Then the Elder told the saint:
-Say: Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
St. Ephemia clearly repeated those words and immediately Father Paisios
knelt and venerated the saint.
Afterwards, they sat and talked for quite a while; he could not specify for
how long, as he had lost all sense of time while being with St. Ephemia. She
gave the solution for all three matters he had been praying for and in the
end he said to her:
- I would like you to tell me how you endured your martyrdom.
The saint replied:
-Father, if I knew back then how eternal life would be and the heavenly
beauty the souls enjoy by being next to God, I honestly would have asked for
my martyrdom to last for ever, as it was absolutely nothing compared to the
gifts of grace of God!
When the Elder was still residing at the cell of the Holy Cross, one night,
as he was saying the Jesus prayer, suddenly the roof of his cell was removed
and in its place he clearly saw the Lord. His face was so bright that he
could not look straight at Him and wondered how it was possible for some
people to once split on it.
After this incident, the Elder gave instructions to the nuns of the Convent
of St. John the Theologian, who were painting icons, to paint the Lord just
the way he had seen Him that night. During the whole time they were painting
the icon, he was by their side guiding them.
Father Paisios said that the face of the Lord and the Virgin Mary had the
color of ripe wheat.
Father Paisios had already dug his grave next to his cell, Panagouda, and
his mind was always set on the day he would depart from this transient
world. Due to his deep sense of humility, he constantly felt unprepared for
his last journey. However, a vision he saw filled him with joy.
While he was praying, he saw that he was in a place, which looked like an
airport, where people departed for their journey to heaven. There were many
people, some of whom were assigned to check if the travelers had passports
and tickets with them, so they could travel; if either one was missing, they
stayed behind. When it was the Elder’s turn, he realized he did not have the
necessary documents. Suddenly, the Virgin Mary appeared dressed in gold like
a queen. Her appearance was exactly the same as on the icon of the Virgin
Mary of Jerusalem. She said to the inspectors:
- He is my own servant. Let him pass for I have all his documents ready.
She took them out of her pallium and after showing them to him, she put them
back in their place. So, they let Father Paisios go through.
Father Paisios once told us:
- The Virgin Mary looks a lot like the one on the icon of the Virgin Mary of
Jerusalem. She is exactly the same. I have seen her many times and I don’t
know of any other icon resembling her so much.
Once, while Father Paisios was praying with his Komvoschinion (prayer rope),
he experienced a divine visitation. Suddenly, he heard footsteps coming from
the corridor of his cell. He went to the door and looked at the corridor
facing the door of the chapel. He saw the Virgin Mary, walking like a queen.
When she reached the door of the chapel, she went in. St. John the
Theologian followed behind her. After they both entered the chapel, they
disappeared leaving behind them a white-blue light, the Uncreated Light,
which after a while faded away. Father Paisios’ soul was overflowing with
gratitude and humbleness. He was crying because the Virgin Mary had visited
him, even if he himself felt that he was the most sinful person in the
Father Paisios had a funny way of informing us of the weather report. Father
David was the gate keeper at Koutloumousiou Monastery. When one of the monks
or novices were returning to the monastery, after having visited Father
Paisios, he used to tell them:
-Tell Father David to get off the almond tree, because it will snow.
(He said that because righteous David of Thessaloniki did his spiritual
exercise by living on an almond tree and this way he was sanctified.)
Whenever he gave that message to Father David, it always snowed a few days
later. So, we knew when to expect snow and were able to prepare ourselves
In December 1992, Father Paisios sent a message to Father David “to get off
the almond tree” and “climb on it” again after Christmas. The holidays went
by and he sent another message telling him “not to climb on the almond tree”
yet, but to wait until he notified him. On St. Anthony’s day (17 January),
the weather was very bad and it snowed. A few days later, he told him that
he could now “climb on the tree”.
Thus, we always knew when it would snow through Father David, for the Elder
“informed” him accordingly.
Six fathers and I were sitting on the grass outside the Elder’s cell
listening to him talking. All of a sudden a young man, who looked like an
anarchist with long hair and a scarf around his neck, arrived. He asked
-Where is this Paisios?
The Elder stood up, went close to him and told him:
-What do you want him for, young man?
-I want him, he replied.
The young man had a pack of cigarettes in the left pocket of his shirt.
Father Paisios pointed at it and asked him:
- What do you have in here, the Gospel?
- No, cigarettes, he replied, and offered him one.
-Do you want one?
Since we were all looking at the Elder laughing, the young man understood
that he was Father Paisios. After confirming it with us, he turned to him
- I want you to tell me what is my name.
The Elder, scratching his head pretending to be bewildered, said:
- What is your name…, let’s see. How do you call the traffic lights, the red
and the green ones that regulate the traffic? (Greeks have named the green
and the red light after men’s names, Grigoris and Stamatis respectively).
-You mean Grigoris and Stamatis, the others replied.
- Well, yes. This is how you are called.
His name was indeed Grigoris and when he heard it, he was astonished and
immediately asked to see the Elder in private. He took the young man aside
so the two of them could talk.
After six months, he went again to Mount Athos and I met him outside
Koutloumousiou Monastery. He no longer looked like an anarchist. His change
was so dramatic that I was not sure if it was the same person, so I asked
- Excuse me, you remind me of someone. Are you the young man who visited
Father Paisios about six months ago?
-Was the person I remind you of rude to the Elder?
- Yes, in a way.
- It was me the idiot, Father. Pray for me so I can correct myself.
The Elder was sitting outside his cell talking to a group of pilgrims.
Father E. was watching him talk, and was wondering with admiration:
-How is his soul related to divine grace and how pure it must be in order to
allow the grace of God to function?
While he was having these thoughts, Father Paisios interrupted the
discussion he was having with the others, and said to him:
- Are you wondering how it looks like inside? It is full of dirt and stench.
And he then continued his discussion. The pilgrims did not understand what
the Elder meant by these words, but Father E. was astounded.