Tuesday, January 22, 2013


From the age of eleven [says Elder Paisios], I would read the lives of
the Saints, I would fast and keep vigil. My older brother would take the books
and hide them, but that didn’t stop me. I would just go into the forest and
keep reading there.
Later, when I was fifteen, a friend of my brother named Costas told my
brother, “I’ll make him willingly give up all this nonesense.” He came and
explained to me Darwin’s theory of evolution. I was shaken by this, and I said,
“I’ll go and pray, and, if Christ is God, He’ll appear to me so that I’ll believe. I’ll
see a shadow, hear a voice—He will show me a sign.” That’s all I could come
up with at the time.
So, I went and began to pray and make prostrations for hours; but
nothing happened. Eventually I stopped in a state of exhaustion. Then
something Costas had said came to mind: “I accept that Christ is an
important man,” he had told me, “righteous and virtuous, Who was hated out
of envy for His virtue and condemned by His countrymen.” I thought to
myself, “since that’s how Christ was, even if He was only a man, He deserves
my love, obedience, and self-sacrifice. I don’t want paradise; I don’t want
anything. It is worth making every sacrifice for the sake of His holiness and
God was waiting to see how I would deal with this temptation. After
this, Christ Himself appeared to me in a great light. He was visible from the
waist up. He looked at me with tremendous love and said, “I am the
resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in Me, even if he dies, he shall
live” (Jn. 11:25). He was holding the Gospel in His left hand, open to the page
where the same words were written.
With this event, the uncertainties that had troubled my soul were
overcome, and in divine grace I came to know Christ as true God and Savior
of the world. I was convinced of the truth of the God-man, not by men or
books, but by the very Lord Himself, who revealed Himself to me even at this
young age. Firmly established in faith, I thought to myself, “Come back now,
Costas, if you want, and we’ll have a talk.”

—from the book Elder Paisios of Mount Athos—
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