Memories of St Paisios of the Holy Mountain

A Missionary Nightingale

St Paisios once shared: “One guy told me that he did not believe in God’s existence.  I told him to come closer. ‘Can you hear the nightingale sing? Where do you think he received this gift from?’ The young man was touched by my words. The stiffness of disbelief disappeared and his face changed.”


Before his monastic tonsure, Arsenios (the future elder Paisios) did military service. He worked very hard, often performing the duties of his colleagues when they asked for a leave warrant. Many abused his kindness and considered him a fool. However, that did not prevent Arsenios from feeling the joy of making a sacrifice for the sake of others.

Once his temperature rose, but he still did not ask for an excuse from duty. Finally, his body collapsed and Arsenios lost consciousness. When they carried him to the hospital on a stretcher, his colleagues were ironically calling him monastic names: “Where are you going, Akakios-Benedict?” They guessed that he wanted to become a monk.

However, their irony was eventually replaced by respect and even admiration. His way of life, great love and his well-rounded genuine character changed his colleagues’ attitude towards him. He was no longer considered a fool, but a treasure and a blessing for their unit.

Holy Man’s Help

A person in a difficult life situation once came to Elder Paisios to ask him for his prayers. The elder advised him to go to confession. The man was close to despair and began to argue that he had come to the holy man for help and not for advice about confession. “Сonfession is the only help I can offer.” the elder replied.

Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds
Simple Stories about the Most Important Things. 2017 Orthodox Calendar. – Minsk: St Elisabeth Convent, 2016

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