THE EPISTLES OF ELDER PAISIOS OF MOUNT ATHOS
The Epistles collected in this volume were addressed to the abbess and sisters of the Holy Monastery of Saint John the Theologian in Souroti, Thessaloniki, Greece. Although these Epistles were written to monastics, the counsels contained in them can be of inestimable benefit to everyone.
"Kindness softens and opens up the heart, as oil opens a rusty lock.
Those who come close to people in pain naturally draw near to God, because God is always by the side of His children who are in pain.
When someone gives his heart to God, then the mind of this man is also seized by the love of God. He is indifferent towards worldly things and continually thinks about the Heavenly Father, and being divinely in love, he glorifies his Creator day and night like an angel."—Elder Paisios, from his Epistles
Elder Paisios’ Epistles constitute a handbook of Orthodox spiritual life. One senses in them the authenticity of the grace-filled life that produced them. The God-inspired discernment of the Elder, together with his profound and all-consuming love for God and man, emerges from each line. Deeply grounded in the wisdom of the ancient Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church, and partaking of their life of holiness and ascesis, Elder Paisios passes on this patristic wisdom to our own times in a manner that is direct and accessible. His words powerfully touch the heart, kindling in it the same divine love that abundantly filled the Elder.
"Ask for repentance in your prayer and nothing else, neither for divine lights, nor miracles, nor prophecies, nor spiritual gifts—nothing but repentance. Repentance will bring you humility, humility will bring you the Grace of God, and God will have in His Grace everything you need for your salvation, or anything you might need to help another soul.
Things are very simple, and there is no reason why we should complicate them. If we regard matters in this way, we will feel the Jesus Prayer as a necessity and will not grow weary. We will be able to repeat it many times and our heart will feel a sweet pain, and then Christ Himself will shed His sweet consolation inside our heart.
Thus prayer does not tire but invigorates. It is tiresome only when we do not enter into its meaning and do not understand the sense given it by our Holy Fathers. Once we comprehend the need of God’s mercy, the desire of this hunger will compel us, without pressuring ourselves in prayer, to open our mouth like a nursing infant, and we will feel, simultaneously, all the security and joy of a baby in its mother’s embrace."—Elder Paisios, from his Epistles
Hardbound. 256 pp.