Saints Saint Paisios

nagareboshi

Kingfisher
Orthodox
Now I understand what you guys meant by "we need modern saints in order to explain and navigate this new and innovative evil of our generation." It's almost like having a time machine, bringing a saint of the Desert Fathers into modernity, and asking them what they think about all this. For a long time, I had felt that the faith of the desert was dead, or even worse, that it was a LARP, but it seems to me that it still exists even into the 21st century.

The two videos I provided in the thread are a great place to start. The aforementioned book "The Gurus, the Young Man, and elder Paisios" is another must read and can be found online here:


Quote from this book (written by the young man, NOT St. Paisios himself)

"In the twinkling of an eye, I saw how this spiritual law works throughout the world. The rich and powerful, I saw, might obtain material possessions with schemes or diplomacy. Those whose education is merely scientific, though they might gain some knowledge about the outer shell of reality, will never be able to pry open the lid of materialism and existentially enter the pure waters of true life. Others pass their days cut off from the truth about life, moving in imaginary worlds of their own creation, believing, in their pride and self-centeredness, that the creations of their minds are the highest of all goods. They worship their ideas and order their lives around them, turning their own mind into their god, and so they live within a lie, in the darkness of their hypotheses, their theories, and their ignorance.Since all these egotistically believe in themselves, they are unable to make spiritual progress. Since they consider themselves to be superior to everyone else, they can’t humble themselves to receive the truth from Christ. These unfortunate souls may foolishly try to fill their emptiness with material goods, taking from those in need so that they can appear to be superior. They may try to comfort themselves through sensual pleasures.

"Those who experience and live within the most profound mystery of this world are the pure and simple of heart, who resemble babes in their humility, guilelessness, and goodness. They are the ones who will come into contact with true life and the fountain of life. They are like green trees bearing the fruit of life, light, and the truth — and this fruit, rather than material goods, is their wealth.

"I saw then that justice is ultimately triumphant and injustice self- destructive. When the unjust cause material harm to the people they exploit, they harm themselves spiritually, much more than they have harmed the others materially. These, then, are in fact the ones who are in greater need of God’s help. Divine justice filled my soul to the brim. With a profound and calm joy, I kissed the Gospel again and again. I loved everyone, and I especially rejoiced for the babes of this world."
 

nagareboshi

Kingfisher
Orthodox
More from the same book, written by the young man, not Saint Paisios.

At this point, I realized that the light created the world and every living being. The existential space in which each person dwells is itself a creation fashioned by the light, which also fills and permeates these spaces. One being decided to stay outside of the existential space created by the light, thus creating a sort of space for itself, though only by denying the light, turning from it, and driving it away. The darkness has no existence of its own, but only in that it denies the ever-existing and sovereign light. That is to say, the existence of the darkness would have been impossible without the existence of the light; though the light had no need of the darkness for existence, for its existence is self-sufficient. The light respected the free decision of its creation to reject it, and so kept its distance. In this way, a dark existential space made its appearance — the darkness, in this sense, became a reality.

The darkness resulted from the inclination of a conscious being, called Satan, who chose such a form of existence though he had no reason to. And this denial made the darkness a reality. Although this act of denial may have resembled God’s act of creation, it was not creation, but an imitation of creation performed in reverse. That is, the devil tried to behave like God, but, since he did not have the ability to create on his own, he was only capable of denying God’s creation, energies, light, and grace. He pulled away from the very borders of reality and made non-existence a way of being, thus “creating” death and darkness. For, until that time, there was neither death nor darkness, but all things were filled with light and life.

Really great explanation of Satan's metaphysical role in the fallenness of the world. The writing is very good and clearly influenced by the Holy Spirit, and I have some minor reflections to add.

  • I would not say that Satan "decided to stay outside" since it suggests the "outside" space (evil) was pre-existent, which is obviously not the case, since God is not the author of evil. I would rather say, the "being" had the potential to disobey (free will), and transformed this potential into actuality by turning away from the light, casting a shadow of darkness against the light, resembling an act of creation but actually consisting only of an act of defiance. It is similar to how we see our own physical shadows when we turn our backs against the sun.
  • Since God respects people's decision to freely reject Him, the more and more you reject Him, the greater and more "powerful" this darkness becomes, and it is like a sorcerer who gets stronger by literally feeding on hatred. But even a single mustard seed of faith is enough to destroy all the darkness, like a candle lighting up a vast cave without obstruction.
  • [Speculation] Perhaps Satan knew that he had the potential to "create" by denying God, and like a typical alchemical scientist, he indulged his curiosity by "creating" the world of darkness through his denial. Originally, this all-rational angel genuinely had his own innocent wish to construct a pseudo-reality, but his pride took over when God demanded the evil to be destroyed, and like a spoiled child who refuses to put away his toys, he doubled down and became a master of the fallen world. Insofar as he knew his evil creation was inferior to the reality of God, his hatred would grow and grow, and he seeks to destroy the true reality and to replace it with his own disgusting creation. In so doing, his naive curiosity transformed into a diabolical pride to usurp the One God of all Creation. Perhaps all the fallen angels originated this way, rationally pursuing some lesser goods in improper proportions, circumstances, or in self-contradictory combinations, thereby generating evil and negative space.
 

Viktor Zeegelaar

Crow
Orthodox Inquirer
Love this short video shining light on everything that is wrong with this world, as spoken of in questions. If you think about the questions you see immediately the situation of the world. You have to turn subtitles on.

 

xmdr

Pigeon
Orthodox
Love this short video shining light on everything that is wrong with this world, as spoken of in questions. If you think about the questions you see immediately the situation of the world. You have to turn subtitles on.


Down in the comment section there was a discussion for this not being his voice, by at least 3 people. However, one of the users, who met Saint Paisios, confirmed those three to be his voice (and the one above into his thread of him singing):








Saint Paisios, please pray to God for us! Please pray to God for Roosh to get better!
 

Lawrence87

Kingfisher
Orthodox
Love this short video shining light on everything that is wrong with this world, as spoken of in questions. If you think about the questions you see immediately the situation of the world. You have to turn subtitles on.


It is truly amazing to hear the voice of such a great Saint! Not to mention that his words were precisely what I needed to hear.

Holy Saint Paisios please pray for us!
 

nagareboshi

Kingfisher
Orthodox
The Elder persistently emphasized the fact, that a man does not have the right to say, “I cannot,” he can only say: “I do not like” or “I do not want.”

When people, overwhelmed by some passion, say, that some force prevents them from doing good, they should know that this force is nothing else but their own force, which is given them for loving, but that began to act in the wrong direction. And, inasmuch as they love their passions, they naturally do not want to cast them off, because you do not wish to lose that which you love.

Consequently, when coming to hate a passion, one should find something better and elevated to replace it with. For, if a man cannot find anything better for himself, he will not know where to direct his love and his forces, and will suffer because of this.

“Very often people came to me and asked:

— Gheronta, I smoke, and cannot give it cigarettes. What should I do?

The Elder asked: — Do you want to give it up?

I hear the answer: — Yes, Gheronta, I tried many times, but in vain.

Then the Elder said: — Yes, it happens! … From this moment on, stop smoking, and God will help you.”

The person, subjected to the passion, normally objects:

— No, Gheronta, I cannot!

Then the Elder, interrupting him before he can finish the phrase, powerfully said:

— There is no “I cannot,” fulfill it and that’s all! Do not give in to the thoughts, which suggest that you will not be able to deal with this habit.

In this way, the Elder instilled in each of us, that we are autocratic. If we became the slaves of some passion, then this happened according to our own will. And, if we remain its slaves, then only through attachment to it, because we are delighted to be in servitude.

But when we fall in love with our freedom and our being with Christ, then from that moment on, when we want it, we become free from passions and become God’s children. This proves, that we are autocratic. Moreover, Christ gave His commandments to ordinary sinners and, consequently, slaves of sin. He commanded them to get freed from the yoke of sin and to come nearer to Him. He said to the fornicator: “Do not sin,” to the thief: “Do not steal,” and to the wrong-thinking: “Do not judge.”

If we were involuntary slaves, then God would not command: “Leave that place and come to Me,” for we would have been unable to fulfill it. Therefore, if He tells us, that we should leave them on our own, this means that we voluntarily submit to our passions, love them and long for them. But at the moment that we start hating them and turn our love to God, then we are immediately freed.

Thus, it is necessary to:
- realize, that we voluntarily gave ourselves to passions and are therefore sick,
- hate our passion, which is destroying us,
- love God and virtues.

This will put us on the path to moral freedom and true happiness.
 

Magnus Stout

Woodpecker
Orthodox
Good recommendations and videos. I hope someone has downloaded them for archival purposes? Perhaps upload a few to BitChute?

As an aside, while I generally prefer reading eBooks, we are reaching a point where two things are in order:
  1. start moving your spiritual eBooks out of Kindle. You can do the necessary web search. Hint: "cailbre" is the best program for managing ebooks and you are looking to "unlock" the DRM (this is a legal "fair use" if you paid for it).
  2. consider using a "Book Scanner" for your most precious paper books.
Paper books are great, but can be bulky during times of travel. Additionally, copies can be rapidly circulated for teaching purposes if in electronic form. I've been using a DIY book scanner for over 10 years. It only takes me about an hour and a half to scan a regular book. Post-processing (cleaning & formatting into PDF or EPUB) normally takes about the same time.
 

DRIIIVER

Sparrow
Orthodox Catechumen
Now I understand what you guys meant by "we need modern saints in order to explain and navigate this new and innovative evil of our generation." It's almost like having a time machine, bringing a saint of the Desert Fathers into modernity, and asking them what they think about all this. For a long time, I had felt that the faith of the desert was dead, or even worse, that it was a LARP, but it seems to me that it still exists even into the 21st century.



Quote from this book (written by the young man, NOT St. Paisios himself)

"In the twinkling of an eye, I saw how this spiritual law works throughout the world. The rich and powerful, I saw, might obtain material possessions with schemes or diplomacy. Those whose education is merely scientific, though they might gain some knowledge about the outer shell of reality, will never be able to pry open the lid of materialism and existentially enter the pure waters of true life. Others pass their days cut off from the truth about life, moving in imaginary worlds of their own creation, believing, in their pride and self-centeredness, that the creations of their minds are the highest of all goods. They worship their ideas and order their lives around them, turning their own mind into their god, and so they live within a lie, in the darkness of their hypotheses, their theories, and their ignorance.Since all these egotistically believe in themselves, they are unable to make spiritual progress. Since they consider themselves to be superior to everyone else, they can’t humble themselves to receive the truth from Christ. These unfortunate souls may foolishly try to fill their emptiness with material goods, taking from those in need so that they can appear to be superior. They may try to comfort themselves through sensual pleasures.

"Those who experience and live within the most profound mystery of this world are the pure and simple of heart, who resemble babes in their humility, guilelessness, and goodness. They are the ones who will come into contact with true life and the fountain of life. They are like green trees bearing the fruit of life, light, and the truth — and this fruit, rather than material goods, is their wealth.

"I saw then that justice is ultimately triumphant and injustice self- destructive. When the unjust cause material harm to the people they exploit, they harm themselves spiritually, much more than they have harmed the others materially. These, then, are in fact the ones who are in greater need of God’s help. Divine justice filled my soul to the brim. With a profound and calm joy, I kissed the Gospel again and again. I loved everyone, and I especially rejoiced for the babes of this world."
Beautifully written. The ignorance of this apostasy ridden world of the spiritual realm of our existence leads to all manner of delusions and self-aggrandizement and ultimately the destruction of our souls. It is such a shame to see how fanatic adherence to the physical aspects of our existence has rapidly increased, and with it the fear of death, only to be eclipsed by the fear of losing worldly possessions and comforts. God have mercy on us and grant us the strength to love Him above everything we see and feel and to fear Him only.
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Moderator
Orthodox
After Chernobyl, crops were irradiated and people were testing their vegetables before eating them. "When Saint Paisios was asked, he said that we should do the sign of the cross and eat fearlessly, which he himself did first, setting an example. Were he alive today, it would be inconceivable for us to see him wearing a mask and gloves, carrying a little bottle of alcohol [methylated spirits] in his pocket and avoiding people or speaking to them from a distance. He would surely be pacifying he people, he would be helping them put away fear, and most of all he would be saddened by the closing of the churches."
 

nagareboshi

Kingfisher
Orthodox
Really rare moment of St. Paisios approving of modern innovation :)

- Is it correct, Geronda, for people to wear T-shirts with pictures of saints on them?
- If the picture is on a T-shirt or jacket, it is fine; it does not do any harm. It is certainly better than putting on a picture of the devil! But if they print the picture of a saint on their trousers, that is inappropriate; it's impiety. Some pious people like this kind of thing [holy T-shirts]. When the Patriarch Demetrios visited the United States, T-shirts had been made with pictures of him and the Church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.
- Was it out of piety that they did that?
- I would think so. Why else? They were Orthodox Christians after all, not Jews or Muslims!

Spiritual Counsels, Volume 1, p316.
 

nagareboshi

Kingfisher
Orthodox
Saint Paisios, Spiritual Awakening:

"We have a responsibility"


An atheist to the bone had come to my Kalyvi once. ... [They debated about iconoclasm.] He then went on to support the present situation. And then I really became angry with him. "How can the present situation be acceptable to you?" I told him. "Judges afraid to judge; indictments against criminals withdrawn because someone or another threatens them. Who is running the country? Are you comfortable with this situation? If you support such people, you're a criminal yourself. Why did you come to me? Get out of here!" And I sent him away.

- Geronda, aren't you afraid to speak like that?

What is there to be afraid of? I have already dug my grave. If I had not dug my own grave, then I would be concerned about the person who would tire himself digging it. As it is now, someone only has to throw in a few shovelfuls of soil...

I have in mind another atheist, a blasphemer, who has said the most blasphemous things about Christ and the Panaghia, one who is permitted to appear on television. Even the Church does not take a stand to excommunicate some of these people. Such people should be excommunicated, but the Church seems reluctant to do so!

- Geronda, what would be accomplished with an excommunication when these people do not believe in anything anyway?

It will at least show that the Church has taken a stand on the matter.

- Geronda, is the silence of the Church an indication of approval?

Yes. Someone wrote some blasphemous things about the Panaghia and no one spoke up. Then I told someone, "Did you see what so-and-so has written?" And he told me, "Well, what can you do with those people? You'll get soiled if you try to deal with them." They're afraid to speak up.

- What did he have to fear, Geronda?

That people might write something about him and ridicule him in the press. And so he tolerates blasphemous things about the Panaghia! We want others to pull the chestnuts out of the fire so that we can have our peace of mind. This indicates a lack of love. Then man begins to act out of self-interest. This is why we see an all-too-familiar spirit today: "Get to know so-and-so because he will then speak well of you. Be on good terms with so-and-so because he will then speak well of you. Be on good terms with so-and-so and he will not speak badly of you, and so forth. After all, we must be taken for fools, we must not become victims." Another person remains indifferent and does not speak up. "I do not speak out," he says, "so that I won't be written up in the newspapers." In other words, most people are completely indifferent. For a long time, no one would write anything, but now some little effort is being made. Years ago I had scolded someone on the Holy Mountain. "You are over-patriotic!" he retorted. Not too long ago he came back to find me and say "They have destroyed everything, family, education..." And I, in turn, told him, "You are over-patriotic!"

...

- Geronda, are we then always to confess our faith?

Discernment is needed. There are times when we should not speak out, and other times when we should confess our faith with courage, otherwise we will bear a responsibility for not speaking out. During these difficult years each one of us must do whatever is humanly possible; whatever is not humanly possible, leave it to God. This way we will have a clear conscience that we did what we could. If we do not resist these evil things, our ancestors will rise up from their graves against us. They endured so many hardships for the homeland and what are we doing for it? Greece, Orthodox Christianity, with her Sacred Tradition, her Saints and heroes, is under attack by the Greeks themselves, and we do not speak out! It is a terrible thing! I told someone, "Why don't you speak out against what so-and-so is saying?" And he replied, "What can one say; that person is totally depraved!" "If he is totally depraved, all the more reason to speak out and strike him down." They do nothing, they let him go on with his depravity. I actually spat at one of the politicians in disdain. "Say, at least, that you do not agree. Be forthright. Your attitude is that as long as you're all right, everything else can be ruined."

If Christians do not confess their faith, if they do not react, such people will do even worse things. But if they react, then they'll think twice about it. But I suppose many Christians nowadays are not made for battles. The early Christians were tough nuts; they transformed the world. And during the Byzantine period, if even one Icon was removed from the Churches, the people rose up in protest. Here Christ was crucified so that we may be resurrected, and we remain indifferent! If the Church does not speak up so as to avoid a conflict with the State, if the metropolitans do not speak up in order to be on good terms with everybody -- and especially with those who help them with the church foundations, if the monks of the Holy Mountain do not speak up for fear of losing their subsidies, who is going to speak up? ...
 

nagareboshi

Kingfisher
Orthodox
St. Paisios on non-organic foods, hormones, GMO, and space travel. Incredible that this "uneducated" man in the 1980s was able to see through the tricks and teach people about nutrition, which we are only relearning for the first time now. From Spiritual Counsels.

In the past, cancer was rare. Back then people led a natural life. God still allowed for illness, but that is another matter. People ate natural foods and were strong and healthy. Fruits, onions, tomatoes, they were all pure. Now even natural foods can make people sick, because everything around us is contaminated. If everything had been so contaminated in the old days, I would have died. Being a monk, I ate only what I grew in my garden -- leeks, lettuce, onions and cabbage. And yet I lived on this diet for a long time and was healthy. Today we have fertilizers and pesticides. Look at what people eat today! This anxiety, along with the unnatural foods produced today, brings on diseases. When scientific knowledge is used indiscriminately, thousands of lives are ruined.

-- Geronda, how did people in the past bear the rigours of asceticism better, and remain so healthy? Did their diet help?

Yes, because back then food was pure. Do we need to wonder? They ate everything only when it was ripe and ready. Now they harvest fruits and vegetables before they're ripe, and to keep them from spoiling, they keep them refrigerated. Fruit is gathered while still green; it is not left to ripen on the trees. In the old days, it would get ripe on the tree. Fruit would either fall from the tree or drop in your palm the moment you touched it. But besides eating good-quality, healthy foods -- bread and butter and milk were very nutritious foods for children -- people also used common sense and could tell if they got sick because of something they ate. Today, our food is adulterated. And on top of that, people do not think, do not use common sense.

....

Today, haste has invaded the world, and we have become impatient. In the old days, people knew they could eat tomatoes by the end of June; they were not concerned. They would wait until August to eat a watermelon. They knew in what season they would eat melons or figs. But today we prefer to import tomatoes from Egypt since they ripen earlier there, rather than eat local oranges which are already ripe and contain the same vitamins. Try telling someone, "Come on, why don't you wait for the tomatoes to ripen and find something else to eat now?" But no, he'd rather eat tomatoes from Egypt.

....

Tomatoes now start out green in the evening, and by morning they are completely red and plump! I once complained to a government official about this matter. "Having hothouses is one thing, but using hormones to ripen the fruit, tomatoes, and so on, overnight is going too far. People who are hormone-sensitive will be harmed." They have harmed the animals too: chickens, cattle, they are all affected. They use hormones to make a 40 day old animal look like it is 6 months old. Can anyone who eats this meat benefit from it? They give hormones to cows, and they produce more milk than the farmers can sell. As a result, the milkprices fall, and the producers go on strike and pour the milk on the streets. In the meantime, we have to drink milk with hormones. Whereas if we left everything the way God made it, things would be fine and people would have real, pure milk to drink. Notice how hormones make everything tasteless. Tasteless people, tasteless things, everything is tasteless. Even life itself has no taste.

....

What has happened to us? We believe that we will correct God with our inventions. We have turned night into day in order to make hens lay more eggs! And have you seen those eggs? If God had made the moon shine like the sun, people would have gone crazy. God created the night so that we may have some rest, but look at what we have come to!?

We have lost our peace of soul and mind. The hothouses and the use of hormones in fruits and vegetables and in animals have made people impatient. .... There is even an aeroplane which covers the distance between France and America in three hours. But when someone goes from one climate to another with such great speed, it's not good for him. Even the sudden change of time itself can be confusing. Rush here, rush there. We will end up in a rocket. One press of a button and it will be launched in space. And then it will burst open, and a madman will emerge! Where are we going? Straight to the madhouse!

St. Paisios also talks about how synthetic wool has replaced real wool, which causes itching and allergies. He himself was sensitive to the fake wool.
 

nagareboshi

Kingfisher
Orthodox
St. Paisios on empathy and excuse-making. p144, Spiritual Counsels vol 2

Someone goes to tell his sorrow to someone else who does not want to listen and be deprived of his joyfulness. He may pretend to be in a hurry to go somewhere, or he may change the subject in order not to be upset. This is utterly satanic. It is as if someone is dying next to me, and I move further away so that I can keep on singing. Where then is the scriptural verse, "Weep with those who weep" (Romans 12:15)? Especially when it concerns serious ecclesiastical issues and, as a Christian, one does not share the anguish of another, then that person does not participate in the Body of the Church.

Q: When I don't excuse others for some action of theirs, does that mean I have a hard heart?

You don't excuse others but you excuse yourself? Then, tomorrow Christ will not excuse you. Your heart can become hard as a rock in an instant if you are not careful, and it can equally become tender. You must acquire a maternal heart. You see, a mother will forgive all things, and sometimes will pretend not to see certain mischief. Be patient with others and excuse them; tolerate others so that Christ will tolerate you.
 

Blade Runner

Hummingbird
Orthodox
The problem is that in the 1980s the level of nonsense wasn't nearly as high, nor the demonic activity. Should we tolerate damaging, abusive behavior? Certainly not.

What about the people that in life, all they do is complain? I love St. Paisios but these comments show how difficult the world is in terms of discernment, day to day.
 

Eusebius Erasmus

Ostrich
Orthodox
The problem is that in the 1980s the level of nonsense wasn't nearly as high, nor the demonic activity. Should we tolerate damaging, abusive behavior? Certainly not.

What about the people that in life, all they do is complain? I love St. Paisios but these comments show how difficult the world is in terms of discernment, day to day.

The world offers more temptations now than in the 1980s. All the more reason to make excuses for others!

St. Paisios is correct here.
 

Blade Runner

Hummingbird
Orthodox
We should be harder on ourselves than others, yes. I don't think the advice apart from that is very helpful. Just my take. That doesn't mean St. Paisios isn't a holy man (he obviously is) it just means that that advice in this short context I find fairly blasé. I could be wrong, of course. Maybe it is helpful to others. How are we to act in kind when our own brother and sisters believe we are disobedient to god and careless about "their health" when we object to the injections and masking?
 
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