SAINT PAISIUS AND THE HOLY MOTHER
The Elder Ephraim, the Abbot of the Vatopedi Monastery relates to us the following stories told to him by Saint Paisius. "I believe that some of you have read the life and works of St. Paisius. What is so unusual about this holy man? That which sets him apart from other human beings is his total sacrifice for his fellow man. He would offer himself as a whole burnt offering for the welfare of his fellow man. I remember him telling me once when I was visiting him: He said, “My child, something happens to me that if I tell you what it is you would think I am crazy. But what can I say, it just happens to me. Up until 1974 I had such great love for God that when this love for God overwhelmed me I would suddenly fall down and become unconscious. I would remain in that condition for a long time praying and then the feeling would leave me.
“After 1974 this same intense love I had for God was also expressed toward my fellow man. I feel such love for my fellow man that I would pray for them with such intensity that people would ask me, what is wrong with you? For example, I would pray in my cell for people who had communicated with me about their problems. Some of these people were having marital problems and others were having problems with their health. After getting these messages I would then travel in the Spirit to Sidney, to Melbourne, to Monaco, to Cyprus and to Athens. I would invisibly visit these troubled people in the Spirit, I would bless them with the sign of the Cross and they would be filled with a sense of peace. I would also pray for the sick in the hospitals and for those in the intensive care units. I would visit them invisibly in the Spirit and see them personally. I would bless them and they would become healed. Nobody was aware of these visitations for I would visit them invisibly in the Spirit. And this happens many times.
In fact, I would like to tell you something else that has not been recorded anywhere. Neither has what I have already told you been recorded anywhere. A theologian visited Mt. Athos who had some theological concerns about one of the hymns of the Church. In fact he visited during the first fifteen day period of August when we honor the Holy Mother of Jesus. There were five pilgrims in this group visiting the Holy Mountain. He was telling his fellow pilgrims the following: “We chant the following; 'Oh you Apostles from far away are called together to come to the village of Gethsemane to bury my body’. This theologian said to his friends: 'is it possible for the Apostles from the far reaches of the world to be brought together to be present at the funeral of the Holy Mother? I cannot believe that. I respect the Holy Mother but that I cannot believe that happened. Maybe the Apostles were present at the burial in thought or with their hearts but not physically present.”