Gifts from the Mother of God: 2 Stories of Miracles from Saint Paisios of the Holy Mountain

Elder Paisios shared this story.

“It was the Dormition Fast. The liturgy was over, and my elder sent me on an obedience. I was fully exhausted from the strict fast and vigil that we had stood for the whole night. I went on a hungry stomach because my elder had not instructed me to eat.

I reached Iberon monastery and was waiting for the boat. It normally arrived at noon, but it was already evening, and the boat still was not there. I had no energy left, so it occurred to me to do another round of prayers to the Holy Theotokos so that she would send me something to eat. But then I rebuked myself: “How can you bother the Most Holy about such trifles?” No sooner had I finished my prayers than a brother walked through the monastery gates. He went straight to the shelter where I was sitting. He walked up to me, gave me a small bag and said, “Brother, take this in the name of the Mother of God.” I opened the bag and found inside half of a loaf of bread, several olives and a few grapes. I could barely keep myself from breaking into tears in front of him.

Another incident of the Theotokos’ visible intercession for the elder also happened while he was waiting at the pier of the Iberon monastery. Both incidents had many similarities, but also substantial differences.

The elder was waiting for the boat, exhausted after the all-night vigil.

“I had not eaten much and was not feeling well. I feared that I was going to faint in plain view of the monastery workers. So I pulled myself together and hid behind the piles of wood planks. Again, I was ready to petition the Mother of God for Her intervention but stopped myself. You reckless man, – I said to myself – Is it true that you appeal to the mother of God only when you need bread?! No sooner had I said this than the Mother of God appeared to me Herself and brought me hot bread and a bunch of grapes. Do I need to say what happened next?”

After hearing this story, a man whom Elder Paisios had delivered from an incurable illness exclaimed in astonishment:

“Elder, when you ate the grapes, were there any leftovers? The vine?”

“Yes, the vine and the seeds,” replied the elder with enthusiasm.

Elder Paisios continued: It was Sunday. Again, I felt exhausted, and it occurred to me then that some fish for lunch would be good for me. I did not desire it out of gluttony, but only as medicine, I went to a neighbouring cell, and on my way back, I saw a huge bird that looked like an eagle. It was flying so low above the ground that I bent down to avoid a collision. I feared that the bird could be a temptation from the devil, so I hurried straight into my cell.

After some time, I needed to exit my cell. Where the bird had nearly hit me, I saw a big live fish. It was still trembling. I crossed myself, gave my thanks to God and picked up the fish. But after the miracle that happened, how could I eat it?”

The sight of the miracle gave elder Paisios strength. He put on his shoes and took the God-given fish to Elder Philaret and Father Bartholomew to receive their blessing. To remind himself about this gift and the providence of God for him, the elder drew on his bed an eagle with a large fish in its claws.

Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds

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