Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew meeting Elder Paisios of Mount Athos

In the Ecumenical Patriarch’s new book “Encountering the Mystery - Understanding Orthodox Christianity Today”, he describes his impressions of Elder Paisios, saying:

‘Father Paisios (1924-94), a simple yet profound monk…would visit my predecessor, Patriarch Demetrios, when I served as his personal secretary; I was most impressed by his silence. Anyone blessed to meet a living saint know the unique sense of stillness that characterizes such a person; a saint appears to live at once in this world and in the age to come. What was most surprising about Father Paisios was that he was utterly human, filled with spontaneity and far from any pretence. God’s light seemed to shine through the veil of his soul in a splendour, which made his visitor feel totally at ease and warmly welcomed. Later, I recall visiting him in his cell, just as so many others have done over the years. He would offer spiritual counsel as he shared an apple or orange that he had peeled. He was a genuine professor and missionary of the desert. What a paradox! An unordained monk hearing the inner life of an Ecumenical Patriarch! And he did so without the least self-consciousness. Spontaneity and sincerity are, sometimes, the humble context within which the Church functions most authentically’ (p. 65-66).   

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