There are few saints that we can call 'modern' but Elder Paisios (1924-1994) is one of them. While living a very holy life and undertaking the struggle which characterize holy monks, he was also a 'man in the world' who was a carpenter and later a radio operator in WWII before going to Mt. Athos at the age of twenty six. His teachings were well documented and published by a variety of sources and most often address 'practical' subjects that men, women and chldren face in everyday secular life.
A previous feature last year on our website gives biographical and related background on Elder St. Paisios. For the Feast this year we will highlight some excepts from the services that have been written in his honor. For icons and books, please visit STS Press.
Troparion (Tone 1)
The offspring of Farasa, and the adornment of Athos,
and the imitator of the former righteous, equal in honor,
O Paisios let us honor O faithful, the vessel full of graces,
who hastens speedily to those who cry out:
glory to Him Who gave you strength,
glory to Him Who crowned you,
glory to Him Who grants through you healings for all.
Kontakion (Tone 8)
The most-famed ascetic of the Holy Mountain, and the newly-shining luminary of the Church,
let us praise him with hymns with all our heart, for he leads the faithful towards a life of excellence,
filling them with rivers of gifts, therefore we cry out:
Rejoice, Father Paisios.
Prosomoia in Orthros Praises
God-bearing Father Paisios, on behalf of all the faithful, who fervently hymn you,
do not cease to fervently entreat Christ;
you have acquired boldness before the Lord, and bear, an abundance of graces venerable one,
foresight and healing, alleviating the hurting, in body and soul, ever-blessed one.
Venerable Paisios (Enzepidis), the much-wondrous and much-famed, was born in Farasa of Cappadocia on the 25th of July in 1924 from Christian parents, taking the name Arsenios after the venerable Arsenios of Cappadocia. Later he came with his parents to Greece, settling in Konitsa of Epirus, distinguishing himself as a child for his reverence and faith towards God. When he became a man he went to Athos and became a Monk, receiving the name Averkios at the prayer for the cassock wearing, then during the prayer for the small schema he received the name Paisios. To occupy himself more with asceticism he went to Sinai. He settled in the Cell of Panagouda in Karyes of Athos, and many signs in his life were done through him. Furthermore, through his teachings he brought many to the correct path. He also became the spiritual guide of the Sacred Monastery of Saint John the Theologian in Souroti. Towards the end of his life he became seriously ill, and having been perfected he was buried in the forementioned Monastery on the 12th of July 1994. He has done many signs even after his venerable repose.
Contemplate and live the divine events continuously. When someone contemplates the events of each feast, physiologically they will be moved with a special reverence to pray. Then during the Services the mind will be on the events we are celebrating and we will follow the hymns that are chanted with reverence. When the mind is on divine meanings, a person lives the events, and so it is altered...I will pray that your hearts become a Holy Manger and that the Most Holy Child of Bethlehem give you all his blessings.
(Elder Paisios quoted in "Elder Paisios the Athonite")
View the St Paisios the Athonite Resource Page at Mystagogy
Doxastikon of the Stichera in the Plagal of the Second Tone
You traveled the path of the ascetics well, towards the working of virtues, O God-bearer Paisios, and you drove out the man of the flesh from your heart, while your nous meditated on unceasing prayer, andtheoria of the Uncreated Light. Therefore, having partaken of the gifts of your graces, we hymn you, O Venerable One, and we say with joy: Rejoice, the offspring of Farasa, the pride of Athos, the pillar of Konitsa, the teacher of Monastics, the dweller of Sinai. Rejoice, you who were adorned with the garment of dispassion, and therefore became a guide to the youth, the lifting-up of the fallen, and the return of the deluded. Rejoice, O example for Monastics, the type for laymen, and the rest and refreshment for the faithful Orthodox. And now, O Godly-adorned Elder, ceaselessly entreat Christ God on behalf of us, who celebrate your sacred memory.
Idiomelon from the Litia in the Third Tone
O venerable Father, every day, a multitude of men surrounded your hut, like as to an ark of salvation, seeking salvation of soul, while others the healing of sicknesses, and others the setting aright of their thoughts, or the solution for their problems in life. Therefore, now to your grave, the faithful similarly hasten, seeking these, O Elder Paisios. Therefore pray for these, that they and we might be granted what is sought for, O ever-blessed one.
Doxastikon of the Aposticha in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
You lived ascetically, and overcame the pleasures of life, the desires of the flesh, and every passion, O Elder Paisios, and you received a multitude of visitations of divine grace. For in your cell by day, you beheld the Great Martyr Euphemia, and spoke with her as a friend to a friend regarding her martyrdom. In chaste manner, do not cease praying with her on behalf of our souls.
You appeared as another angel on Athos in these latter days, O Paisios, and you venerably lived on earth, appearing equal to the ancient ascetics to those near you, who cry out these things fervently:
Rejoice, the divine offspring of the people of Farasa,
Rejoice, the great joy of Athos.
Rejoice, the divine boast of Konitsa,
Rejoice, the adornment of the Convent of Souroti.
Rejoice, many-headed spring of gifts surpassing nature,
Rejoice, incomparable saving ray of healings.
Rejoice, for you adorned the Monastery of Esphigmenou,
Rejoice, for you dwelt on Mount Sinai.
Rejoice, the leader of humble mortals,
Rejoice, you who possessed many graces.
Rejoice, the deliverer of those who suffer greatly,
Rejoice, the guide of laymen and monastics.
Rejoice, O Father Paisios.
On the this day (July 12th), the memory of our venerable Father Paisios the New, of the Holy Mountain, who reposed in peace in the year 1994.
Paisios, the tree of Mount Athos,
You were shown to be full of fruit, O Most-venerable one.
On the twelfth, Paisios reposed.
Rejoice the communicant with the Venerable, the pride of Athos, the adornment of Monastics, Rejoice the new teacher of the Church, O godly-minded Paisios, our boast.
Doxastikon of the Praises in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
O Venerable Father Paisios, throughout the whole land of Greece, and the whole World, has gone forth the word of your deeds, for as a bodily angel from Athos, your life-bestowing teachings of the Gospel have been preached throughout the whole world, and thus, through your life and your deeds, you have become the type for monastics, the teacher of laymen, the guide for the youth, the counsel of the chaste, and the friend of all. Therefore, we humbly pray to you, O Holy One: do not cease to entreat the Lord on behalf of our souls.
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!
Source: Full of Grace and Truth Blog
On July 25, 1924, the future Elder Paisios (Eznepidis) was born to pious parents in the town of Farasa, Cappadocia of Asia Minor. The family’s spiritual father, the priest-monk Arsenios (the now canonized St. Arsenios of Cappadocia), baptized the babe with his own name, prophesying his future profession as a monk. A week after the baptism (and barely a month after his birth) Arsenios was driven, along with his family, out of Asia Minor by the Turks. St. Arsenios guided his flock along their four-hundred-mile trek to Greece. After a number of stops along the way, Arsenios’ family finally ended up in the town of Konitsain Epiros (north-western Greece). St. Arsenios had reposed, as he had prophesied, forty days after their establishment in Greece, and he left as his spiritual heir the infant Arsenios.
The young Arsenios was wholly given over to God and spent his free time in the silence of nature, where he would pray for hours on end. Having completed his elementary education, he learned the trade of carpentry. He worked as a carpenter until his mandatory military service. He served in the army during the dangerous days of the end of World War II. Arsenios was brave and self-sacrificing, always desiring to put his own life at risk so as to spare his brother. He was particularly concerned about his fellow soldiers who had left wives and children to serve.
Having completed his obligation to his country, Arsenios received his discharge in 1949 and greatly desired to begin his monastic life on the HolyMountain. Before being able to settle there, however, he had to fulfil his responsibility to his family, to look after his sisters, who were as yet unmarried. Having provided for his sisters’ future, he was free to begin his monastic vocation with a clean conscience. In 1950 he arrived on Mount Athos, where he learned his first lessons in the monastic way from the virtuous ascetic Fr. Kyril (the future abbot of Koutloumousiou Monastery); but he was unable to stay at his side as he had hoped, and so was sent to the Monastery of Esphigmenou. He was a novice there for four years, after which he was tonsured a monk in 1954 with the name Averkios. He was a conscientious monk, finding ways to both complete his obedience (which required contact with others) and to preserve his silence, so as to progress in the art of prayer. He was always selfless in helping his brethren, unwilling to rest while others worked (though he may have already completed his own obedience), as he loved his brothers greatly and without distinction. In addition to his ascetic struggles and the common life in the monastery, he was spiritually enriched through the reading of soul-profiting books. In particular, he read the Lives of the Saints, the Gerontikon, and especially the Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac the Syrian.
Soon after his tonsure, Monk Averkios left Esphigmenou and joined the (then) idiorrhythmic brotherhood of Philotheou Monastery, where his uncle was a monk. He put himself under obedience to the virtuous Elder Symeon, who gave him the Small Schema in 1956, with new name Paisios. Fr. Paisios dwelt deeply on the thought that his own spiritual failures and lack of love were the cause of his neighbour’s shortcomings, as well as of the world’s ills. He harshly accused himself, pushing himself to greater self-denial and more fervent prayer for his soul and for the whole world. Furthermore, he cultivated the habit of always seeking the “good reason” for a potentially scandalous event and for people’s actions, and in this way, he preserved himself from judging others. For example, pilgrims to Mount Athoshad been scandalized by the strange behaviour and stories told by a certain monk, and, when they met Elder Paisios, they asked him what was wrong with the monk. He warned them not to judge others, and that this monk was actually virtuous and was simply pretending to be a fool when visitors would come, so as to preserve his silence.