The Best Physician

Hieromonk Christodoulus Hagiorite recalls:

 “While performing duties of the monastery paramedic, I once said to Elder Paisios:

– Geronda, I brought you vitamins and iron supplements. Start taking them; I believe this will help raise your hemoglobin a little.

The elder replied:

– My dear father, I am convinced that iron will do me no good. Father Theoklitos is collecting iron for the new monastery that he is building. Save it for him. I cannot be taking his iron in such a difficult time for him. As far as I understand, iron is useless to me. I would rather take steel.

He got up, smiled and brought a glass of water. Then he threw one effervescent vitamin tablet into the water and said:

– If anyone tells me, “beware of this, or be careful with that”, I will do it with all my heart and be grateful. However, I have had a very bad experience with medicine.

When the effervescent tablet dissolved, he raised his glass and said smilingly:

– Everything will end in the ground.

Raising his glass, as if to say “Chin-chin”, he added:

– Here’s to a blessed repose!

Seeing the elder in such a state, I knelt before him and begged him to go to Thessaloniki, so that the doctors could examine him and find out what was wrong with his health. The elder lifted me up and said:

– Listen, father, my state helps me greatly in spiritual life, so there is no point in trying to abandon it. Here are the reasons why I do not want to go for the examinations:

a) Christ sees the condition of my health, and since He is the best Physician, we must have absolute confidence in Him. If it is to our advantage, He will act and heal us.

b) I think that a tumor has formed in my intestine. It is better to leave it as is, because otherwise my condition will worsen much.

c) Today, the whole world is suffering from three things: cancer, mental illness and divorce. Every week, I receive many letters in the mail, in which people write to me about these problems. I do not have any serious nervous disorders; I have nothing to do with divorces or break-ups; at least I have cancer. May the world be consoled. It is not good to be left out when everyone suffers from something. Thank God, things are good now.

d) When someone has cancer or some big, “burning” problem, but prays for others instead of pitying himself, God makes a concession.  Such a person has a reason to say to Christ, “You see, I am not asking for anything, but I ask You to help others.” And so God does. Therefore, my father, do not worry too much about me.”


Paisios the Hagiorite, Elder of Blessed Memory. Spiritual Counsels. Vol. 1: With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man. Monastery of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian. Souroti, Thessaloniki. – The Holy Mountain Publishing House, Moscow, 2002.
Christodoulus Hagiorite, Hieromonk. Elder Paisios. – Holy Intercession Monastic Community, 2001.
Holy Mount Athos. 2008 Orthodox Calendar. – Minsk: St Elisabeth Convent, 2007

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