Elder Paisios was a very simple man, who believed in the Gospel, lived a monastic life and taught the Orthodox ascetic tradition.
His knowledge was limited to the elementary level. Nonetheless, he was distinguished for his “graceful” simplicity and his intense agony for helping his fellow human beings, who were seeking a spiritual mentor.
He was an example of a person dedicated to God, by removing his personal aspirations and personal wills. Obedience, exercise, humility, piety, decency and, above all, love and long-suffering, were a way of life for him, but also lessons for those who sought a reason for consolation or a solution for their personal problems.
Thoughts. The Elder attached great importance to thoughts. He always said that everything starts out with good thoughts, which are suppressing the bad ones. Let’s think positively about our fellow man rather than negatively, because otherwise cunning and obstinacy bear down on man. In fact, he said not to trust our own thoughts and to give space to God’s will, because anyone who does this, comes out ahead.
Decency. The Elder always said that people must also offer noble love. “Whatever we offer or do,” he said, “it must be done with decency and respect, and not by force and in a self-serving way. We should not follow out of fear but have goodwill and benevolence instead, just like Christ, when He came to this world.”
Divine Justice. He constantly said that if man wants to resemble the Saints, he must apply Divine justice rather than the human one. The human justice, according to the Elder, is blind and exists to prevent evil and wicked people. Divine justice, however, aims to serve the weak person and those in need. When we apply God’s righteousness then we avoid disputes, condemnations and the differences with our fellowmen.
Divine Providence. Divine providence is inscrutable and unexplored, it aims at the salvation of man and at eternal life. He pointed out that we should not take care of the “living” things, because God provides for us in order to give us what we desire, many times before we even ask for it, as long as our mind is on Him and we pray. When something bad happens to someone, it is a bestowal from God and not sent by him, so that he educates people as a result to His Economy of Salvation.
Humility. Humility for the Elder was the fundamental element of human salvation and, in general, the element that brings about good relations between people. He even said that God “cannot” help when man is not humiliated, and He then attempts to bring about humility through passions. Without humility, he continued, there cannot be Divine Grace, we close our hearts from Christ and what we had initially “won,” we quickly lose it.
Obedience. Full obedience, according to the Elder, brings humility, which is the beginning of all good. “We should obey, even when we are wronged, for God replies to injustice with patience,” he often said. “Today, everyone is impatient, but the patient ones, according to Christ, will gain the Kingdom of Heaven,” he concluded.
Prophecies. The Elder also made several prophecies. Unfortunately, however, many have preyed on Elder’s teachings, by saying many things, either for their own benefit or for national morale, which he never mentioned, something that saddened him while he was still alive. Most of his teachings were related to the events that had to do with Constantinople, explanations on the prophecies of Cosmas of Aetolia, and to the Antichrist.
*The article was originally published in Greek in ikivotos.gr