By Elder Paisios the New of Mount
Editor’s Note: Below
we present excerpts from a letter of Elder Paisios to the nuns of the Holy
Monastery of the Evangelist John the Theologian in Souroti, Greece, written on
the Feast of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple, November 21,
1975. These excerpts have been taken from the book Epistles by Elder
Paisios (Souroti, 2002), which contains the entire letter. The explanatory
footnotes are from the same book, written by the book’s editors.
"May the Holy Entrance of the
Theotokos into the Temple benefit us"
Glory to Thee, O Lord, Glory to
Thee, O Holy One, Glory to Thee, O King...
I once again thank the Good
God Who does not loathe me, His detestable child, but as an affectionate Father
always provides His blessings for me, even more so on feast days like today,
the day of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple. All those who devote
themselves to God, in imitation of the Panagia (Panagia: one of the names bestowed upon the Most Holy Mother of
God by Greek Orthodox Christians. Literally, "All Holy.") keep
this day with particular reverence.
Today’s blessing I thought of sending to my Sisters, since I had nothing
else to send, for brothers are obliged to send blessings to their sisters,
especially when they are journeying. It is not important whether the blessing
is great or small, because they appreciate more the brotherly concern and
security they feel through this manifestation of love. With this thought I
resolved to send these few spiritual "nuts."
Naturally, if I had a good spiritual state, the blessings would be greater
and of a better quality and they wouldn’t have those thick shells and small
kernels, as you will see. You will notice that some of these are similar, yet
they still differ slightly, as do walnuts from hazelnuts. Others are of the
same kind, however, and since they are small, one must eat many of them, yet
not in order to gorge oneself. Besides, the blessing is not meant for
I wish I had many to send you. Unfortunately, in this foreign land I have
shown no spiritual progress, unlike other Fathers who have labored hard with philotimo
(Philotimo, according to Elder Paisios, is
the reverent distillation of goodness, the love shown by humble people, from
which every trace of self has been filtered out. Their hearts are full of
gratitude towards God and their fellow men, and out of spiritual sensitivity
they try to repay the slightest good which others do to them) and were
spiritually enriched. I have fulfilled the proverb: "A lazy young man is a
poor old man." Only now, of course, have I come to my senses, but what is
the use? Now my physical strength has left me and I can no longer work. The
only thing I am left with now is hope in the great mercy of God and, by your
prayers, I hope to find mercy without charge.
I wish you with all my heart spiritual advancement and divine enlightenment,
that from now on you may understand the things that, unfortunately, I only
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