On January 13, 2015, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople officially entered PAISIOS EZNEPIDIS (1924-1994) among the list of saints whose memory the Orthodox Church celebrates.
Saint Paisios pray for us!
Apolytikion in the First Tone
The offspring of Farasa, and the adornment of Athos, and the imitator of the former righteous, equal in honor, O Paisios let us honor O faithful, the vessel full of graces, who hastens speedily to those who cry out: glory to Him Who gave you strength, glory to Him Who crowned you, glory to Him Who grants through you healings for all.
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
The most-famed ascetic of the Holy Mountain, and the newly-enlightened light of the Church, let us praise him with hymns with all our heart, for he leads the faithful towards a perfect life, filling them with rivers of gifts, therefore we cry out: Hail, O Father Paisios.
On this day (July 12th), the memory of our venerable Father Paisios the New,
of the Holy Mountain, who reposed in peace in the year 1994.
Paisios, the tree of Mount Athos,
You were shown to be full of fruit, O Most-venerable one.
On the twelfth, Paisios reposed.
Rejoice the communicant with the Venerable, the pride of Athos, the adornment of Monastics, Rejoice the new teacher of the Church, O godly-minded Paisios, our boast.
Saint Paisios of Mount Athos was born in Cappadocia on July 25, 1924. Almost immediately his family was forced to flee with the general exodus of Greek refugees from Asia Minor. They settled in Eperos in North Western Greece. He first visited Mt. Athos in 1949 after his time in the army. He returned in 1950 and, after a short time in the neighbourhood of Karyes, settled in the Monastery of Esphigmenou. In 1954 he was tonsured there as rasophoros monk with the name Averkios. That same year he moved to the Monastery of Philotheou, which at that time was still idiorhythmic. The elder observed in later years that one could even live a more ordered and stricter ascetic life in an idiorhythmic monastery than in a cenobium if one was under close supervision of a good spiritual father. After two years he was tonsured to the small schema in Philotheou and given the name Paisios. In 1958 Fr. Paisios left the Mountain and went to the Stomio Monastery of Konitsas north of Ioaninna. He stayed there for four years and in 1962 went to Mt. Sinai where he lived in the Skete of St. Epistime on Gebel Mugufa. In the two years that he stayed there he gave himself to strict physical asceticism which he later said was the breaking of his health. In 1964 he returned to Mt. Athos and lived in the Cell of the Archangels in Iveron Skete. He was hospitalized in 1966 and while on the mainland became acquainted with the nuns of the Hesychastirion of St. John the Theologian, whom he helped greatly in years to come and where he died and was buried. In 1968 he went to Stavronikita Monastery and was tonsured to the great and angelic schema by Papa-Tychon of the Kelli of the Holy Cross. After Papa-Tychon’s passing he left the kelli to Geron Paisios and the elder remained there from 1968 to 1979. In 1979 he moved to the kathisma of Koutloumousiou Monastery known as Panagouda near Karyes. At his request the kathisma was made a kelli and the elder was given an omologo/life-lease. Many of his monastic spiritual sons settled nearby in kellia or in kalyvia of Koutloumousiou Skete, but the elder lived alone. Many, many pilgrims came to visit him there. He finally died and was gathered to the Lord on July 12, 1994.
Saint Paisios’ life is distinguished for his excessive asceticism, vigils, fasting, and ceaseless prayer. These did not subside with the multitudes who resorted to him for help, nor with the illnesses which―especially during the last part of his life―unintentionally perfected and completed his earlier intentional asceticism. Of course, his asceticism has become known to us in spite of his deep humility, as it was apparent in the rest of his behavior. For one’s behavior is the only firm foundation and seal of sanctity. Saint Paisios’ wondrous life, which has been brought to light by Christ’s love for His Church, exactingly followed the footsteps of the Saints of old in all its manifestations. These are complete obedience and the seizing of one’s will at the start of the monastic life in a cenobitic monastery, complete asceticism and silence, the completion of prayer (as much as is humanly possible), the guidance of other souls and the institution of “schools of virtue” (monasteries), the spiritual education of spiritual guides embellished with gifts similar to his, the gift of clairvoyance and discernment, the gift of healing, the zealous defense of Orthodoxy against heresies and blasphemy, God-pleasing prayer for the whole world out of love (both for his earthly nation and every soul), the gift of consoling and of simplicity. In addition, in the general consciousness of the Church, even while he was still alive, he was considered a saint according to the example of the ancient ascetics.
Photos of Saint Paisios at his Kellion on Mount Athos