The cell of Panaguda: what Paisius the Holy Trinity said to the people who came to him
Today, July 12, is the memorial day of Rev. Paisius Svyatogorts (1924-1994), Athos Schema-monk, one of the most respected Greek elders and spiritual luminaries of the 20th century. We publish a chapter from the book “Radioman of the Mother Church” by Archpriest Pavel Kartashev (Moscow: Nikaia, 2018), telling about the life of the monk on Mount Athos.
At the beginning of March 1979, Reverend Paisius left the cell of the Honest Cross on Kapsala and went to live in the cell of Panaguda, which means “little Panagia,” the little All-Holy. He did not reveal the reason for the transition to anyone. Before making a decision, he prayed fervently. And the location of his new cell could not be called accidental: it was a twenty minute walk from Karyes, the center of Athos, and within walking distance of three monasteries: Kutlumushsky, Iversky and Stavronikita. Thus, the burden of receiving for the night the pilgrims who had flowed down to the old man was distributed among the three monasteries.
Panaguda was uninhabited for a long time before the saint entered, and therefore needed to be repaired. Father Paisius was already weak and sick by that time. Then he especially suffered from intestines, and later, in the 80s, suffered from intervertebral and inguinal hernia. In 1979, in Panagud, he had to remember his younger years and his construction, primarily carpentry, talents. It was necessary to replace the doors, windows, part of the ceiling and the floor, to overhaul the wall that supported the gallery. The elder, without shortening his prayers and not weakening his fasting, did all these works within three months. But he did not unfold the overhaul, but only repaired and forged the necessary: so that only life did not interfere.
I started by saying that I enclosed the area around the cell with a fence from a chain-link net. For the little church I really worked hard, but in my cell I broke the broken glass with polyethylene and covered it with tin. Everywhere, except the temple, the rotten boards were simply covered with a hardboard, and the half-collapsing wall under the gallery was covered with galvanized sheets. He believed that the money from needlework is better to distribute to the needy or buy more crosses for blessing than to spend it on bricks. When he was advised not to accept people temporarily, he and his assistants would not finish the roof, because autumn is approaching (and the pilgrims have already discovered where he moved, and reached for him along the paths in rows) —he did not agree. How do you imagine that? – he objected. – One with pain from Crete, the other with misfortune from Komotini, and I'm sitting on the roof and nailing nails?
People who came to the Holy Mountain in the 1980s, went exactly to Schemamonk Paisius. Talks on the boat to Daphne, on the bus to Karies and on the way to Panagudu were mainly about the amazing old man. Athos, in response to those of its inhabitants, who witnessed the events, did not recall this picture: a crowd of men of different ages, in which both young men and boys flashed, stretched along the road and moved in one direction. The closer the pilgrims approached Panagud, the more often they met signs written by the elder himself, asking not to disturb other cells or arrows: to Paisiyu's father — go there. From the Panaguda's wicket across the entire courtyard, to the gallery on the second floor, a nylon cord stretched. People pulled, the bell rang, and the old man sometimes went out right away, sometimes after a while and rarely did not go out at all. This is to those who, he said, came from idle curiosity. Or to such a traveler that turned his heart into a barn and can not accept the words of salvation.
The elder attached to the fence an announcement with a proposal to state in writing their needs. He assured that by reading the note, he would try to help more than words, by prayer. Nearby was a can of pencils and paper, and at the other gate there was a box with the Turkish Delight and the inscription above it: “Blessing. Eat.
But people did not come for Turkish delight and not to write notes: they wanted to talk with the man of God. We sat for hours at the fence, lay on the grass, and strolled along the path. “Gerond,” they shouted, losing patience, “please come out!” “Gerond,” the brashs allowed themselves, “finish praying, God won't be offended!” “We really need, gerond, please open!”
What made his usual day and night? The cell vigil ended and, as he explained, its battery was discharged. He tumbled onto his boards in a sheaf. But I fell asleep for two or three hours: I had to get up early and, before the first morning call, I had time to read the monastic rule, and then the daily circle of services, by the word book. Then there could be no time until evening: he will talk with people for twelve or thirteen hours. He took most often in the yard, seated guests on hemp. In the evening, he collected garbage, washed mugs, filled the box with Turkish delight. In winter, he scooped ashes from the stoves, washed the floors of clay, which pilgrims put on their shoes, brought firewood. And after, before the start of the night vigil, he was sorting letters, trying to read everything. Piles of topics grew up on the table: these are letters of divorce and quarrels, these are mental disorders, here are drug addicts, and this is cancer …
People came different: believers and doubters. Atheists made their way through, and even such professional pranksters who came out with the intention of looking for fanaticism and stupidity in Panagud, and then make fun of it in the newspapers. Visits and non-Orthodox. A Catholic journalist, having entered into a brief controversy with the reverend, asked: unless the Orthodox will be saved? God is with everyone. The elder agreed that God was with everyone. But can a journalist tell how many people are with God? Sin has now become fashionable.
Another time, talking on a similar topic, the monk recalled the Sinai Monastery, where the Bedouins live next to the Orthodox brethren. The hegumen entrusts the affairs to both of them, but if he absents himself, to whom will he give the keys? Of course, they answer the old man, the monks. Well, all of us on earth are the children of God. However, the grace of God gave only Orthodox. But the most terrible enemy of Orthodoxy, convinced the old man, not the Pope, not the Freemasons, not the Communists and not the sectarians. There is an enemy even worse than Satan. This is the worldly spirit; stupid breath of progress, comfort and relaxation, it is this that displaces the desire of spiritual work, love and faith from Orthodox Christians.
People came different, others completely insensitive. They asked to make a miracle to believe them. The elder is very upset. He saw that idolaters would not strike a finger for the sake of Christ.
“What a cheap! – he lamented. – Believe if you really see a miracle? No matter how wrong! They will say that this is witchcraft or will come up with some other explanation for their justification. ”
Panaguda and people with a pure heart, but with the mind lost in the thickets of information, reached it. One professor insisted that he, an educated man, to believe that there is a God is in no way possible.
“So what are you,” the old man shook his head, “more stupid than a lizard?”
He immediately called for a lizard, moving between the stones. She approached and froze, as if listening for why she was called. “Tell us, is there God?” Asked Father Paisius. The lizard stretched its neck and began to make movements similar to a nodding head. The professor watched, not moving, and tears flowed from him.
The elder was able to change the severity of mercy. The evening was coming, and at the appointed time he was closing the gate on the lock. But once a young man raised the net, crawled under the fence and went to the cell. Paisiy's father was going to chase him away: “You climbed like a thief here!” The young man sadly agreed that he climbed like a thief: “But apart from your prayers, gerond, I don’t want to steal anything.” If the monk saw that the “trespasser”, and indeed every pilgrim, has a serious problem or a “good concern” appreciated by him – that is, a sympathetic and repentant soul, he immediately softened and set aside his plans. So this time, the thief-in-prayer tenderly said: “Well, blessed soul, come in, sit down. Tell me what happened to you. "
Speaking with pilgrims, the old man repeated the same lesson: an incorrigible egoist will remain in eternity with the object of his love, that is, in perfect solitude. Therefore, here on earth, we must hurry ourselves and “distribute” ours. He himself tried to live that way. Once the lumberjacks — they were chopping near Panaguda — loaded so much wood onto the mule that the poor animal began to kneel. As a youthful old man, he quickly ran up to the mule and began to unload the excess.
– Careful, Gerond! – he heard from behind. – You have a hernia!
The elder unloaded the mule, immediately felt a sharp pain, but smiled and asked:
– And what have you not helped? Don't you have a hernia?
– I was afraid that the mule will kick.
– Eh, brother, a mule from us was waiting for help: they do not lag under such a weight.
Such cases forced the monk to speak and repeat: “If a person thinks only of himself, then he is not even a person. Why is it needed then, such a life? ”
The elder tried to convey to people that abortion is a nightmare, the worst sin. At Bright Week in 1984, he had a terrible vision. He opened the stony and gloomy desert, shaking from the heartbreaking cries of children killed by their own mothers. That year, abortion was legalized in Greece. The monk argued that when the commandment of God is broken by one person, he is alone and responsible. But if a crying sin becomes a state law, then the whole nation is punished by God. Father Paisius was indignant and sad. And when Greek President Konstantin Karamanlis, who signed the criminal law, arrived on Athos, he asked the monasteries of Svyatogorsk to close the gate in front of him.
A hermit and hermit, he became a social fighter and warrior when it was necessary to protect Christ and His Church. In 1988, he took part in a crowded protest rally against the blasphemous Scorzese film The Last Temptation of Christ. The rally in Thessaloniki gathered tens of thousands of people from all over Greece, and the old man who was present as one of the most respected clergymen, was embraced, in his words, by “sacred enthusiasm”. The Greeks were then able to achieve a ban on the movie.
“I am glad,” Father Paissy said, “that many people threaten me with reprisals. Because I am not silent. Plans are destroying them. Marxists and Zionists, masons and Satanists … Is it bad if God honors martyrdom? ”
But the elder's constant, daily “social work” consisted in consoling people, in wise counsel, in urgent warning, in helping in afflictions and ailments. He sent the sick first to the doctors, while he himself prayed. Encouraged the patient to seriously pray and participate in the sacraments of the Church. He urged me to begin with repentance, with correcting myself. And then he inspired something very important: Christ makes the whole – truly heals – when it feeds the soul and flesh of man with repentance with His Most Pure Body and Blood.
Cases of healing through the prayers of the elder to God, during his life and after his death, formed a long list. Sometimes the patient received help immediately, often at a distance. And it happened that the old man seemed to accompany and take care of the person who especially needed it. For example, one young woman from the island of Thassos, hopelessly ill with cancer, he supported and strengthened for many years. Sentenced to death by medical reasons, she, after the blessing and prayer of St. Paisius, did not die, but returned to an active life. And only came to him twice a year in Suroti, as at the doctor's office, and carefully asked: “Geronda, how are I doing?” And in response I heard: “Do not be afraid, well you are doing business … Do not forget about saint Panteleimon.
The old man helped at a distance (the Grace of God through his prayers and, often, in his image) sick both physically and mentally. The woman who took her husband out of the hospital so that he died peacefully at home could not be diagnosed, and in despair she asked God to let her know that the old man appeared with her husband and, falling asleep, said: "Check his teeth!" the clinic found in a patient a huge cyst with pus. Two days later, the man recovered completely. And before that he was in hospital for seven months.
The monk tried to dissuade one, as he put it, "freak" from Athens from suicide. Did not work out. The young man left the Holy Mountain with a deadly thought in his head. At night, sat on a motorcycle and accelerated on a mountain road to fly into the abyss. For a few tens of meters to the precipice the motorcycle stalled. The youth clearly saw Reverend Paisius in front of him. “Janis ..! Said the elder. “What are you thinking?” Dazed, the motorcyclist returned to Athens, then hurried to Athos and told everything to the monks from Kutlumush monastery. When one of them began to persistently inquire from an old man, who was trying to evade asking what had happened, he finally gave in and answered: “About the guy that he was in danger, he did not know. However, often, when I pray, I say: God, You know the need of everyone – take care of those who suffer, like the Good Father. And it happens, I find myself in places where I have never been before. So I got up in front of this guy, on the road. "
A sensitive spiritual healer, the monk Paissy prescribed, according to the word of the ancient fathers, cauterization to another sinner. And he treated the other gently, not at all cursing, but cheering. All together, despondent or losing conscience, awakened from insensitivity – to love the truth and purity. Sometimes he proceeded to his treatment as if by chance. People sit in the courtyard of Panaguda on stumps, and the elder asks: how is it going, in the world? Answer: normal. – “It’s not normal at all,” says the elder. “Such a need for prayer for peace, I’m even going to abandon the kitchen garden, I don’t have enough time.” Believers are worse than the infidels have become! Change on the fabric tags, cheap for the expensive issue. An employee to give birth to his wife – they will not let him go on vacation, nor will he raise his salary for processing. ”
The pilgrim who was sitting on one of the stumps was covered with a scarlet blush. The elder followed the treat, and the accused, from the repentance that overwhelmed him, suddenly began to speak loudly: “The holy man is what he said about me!”
But sometimes it did not immediately reach. The Reverend distributes to pilgrims cookies: he gave one to another and did not give to the third, but threw it on the ground in front of him, and even faked it with a toe, turned it over and invited: help yourself! “It’s in the dirt, Gerond!” The guest replies, thinking that his father is joking. – “And you yourself do not feed people with dirt?” Asked the monk and continued the treat. The man whom Father Paisius singled out did not immediately understand anything. I had to explain everything to his brother on the way from Panaguda: you are selling dirty videotapes! What is not clear?
When the sinner returned the next day with a question – what to do now? – the elder advised him first of all to close the shop with pornocassettes, then to confess, and then to take the blessing for useful work. As a result, a manufacturer of reinforced concrete slabs came out of the poison dealer – he built houses, hospitals and temples.
In a large company of pilgrims who once filled the courtyard, the old man called out one: Lampakis, come here! The person was named Lampis, and Lampakis was only called his mother as a child. He even flinched. Father Paisius sat him beside him, suggested Turkish delight, stroked his head. Lampis could not resist: "Gerond, you better not touch me, I am a beast, I smelled of sins."
“I know,” replied the monk. “And I also know that when your friend broke up, you began to support his family and educated his children.” He paid the flight for a man with a heart attack. On the mountain, St. Paraskeva kicked the sheep out of the temple, and gave the shepherds money so that they would not drive there anymore. And this little chapel restored.
“This is nonsense,” answered Lampice.
– We think in our own way, God – in His own way.
– I have a lot of sins …
“A lot,” the elder agreed. “But on the other side of the scale are good works.”
The monk brewed Lampis coffee, took a photo with him, which he did extremely rarely, and let him go with the renewed, who decided to correct what his conscience had done.
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