Yandex Metrika
Three narratives from the elders of Mount Athos

Humility and prayer: what the elders from Mount Athos say

Mount Athos


“Elder, how can we have a pure heart?”

“By exercising humility, seeking peace, sacrificing ourselves, being unselfish, confessing our sins, asceticising, and praying, especially by saying Jesus' prayer - these are all the actions that make us pure and cleanse our hearts from all things unnecessary.”

“Elder, is Jesus' prayer enough to make us pure?"

“No, you cannot become pure just by saying Jesus'Prayer. One must do so with humility and appropriate exertion. If you pray, but are not humble or exert yourself, your prayer is useless. Conversely, if you do the rest, but neglect the prayer you are not going anywhere. Ascetise and pray for God's help, and your heart will become pure. Asceticism and prayer should go hand in hand.”


One present-day elder from Mount Athos said, "Humility is like a spring: the more you strain it, the higher you fly. The more you humble yourself, the more you grow in the spirit.

"Seeing someone whom they dislike or envy, some people exclaim, "I saw him and went in a rage. I wish I never saw him again." In their heart, they feel a searing pain of the same kind that will torment them in eternity, many times more intensely. It would be best for everyone if we never experienced this pain. God forbid!"


Four church fathers, Romanian by origin,  ascetised in cells around the Chapel of the Most Holy Theotokos at Pantokrator Monastery on Mount Athos. They led a virtuous monastic life, but three agreed to leave their cells and move elsewhere because there was no water where they lived.

They asked the fourth to join them, but he refused. No amount of persuasion could change his mind. Instead, he implored his other three brethren to pray together so that God would give them some water, which they all needed badly. He had been praying for it all the time, his eyes full of tears. Now he was praying to God and the Mother of God that his four brethren would not leave. The Good Lord heard his prayers and saw his deep faith and contrite heart.

The Mother of God appeared to him in a dream. She showed him where to dig for water. The four fathers dug where she said and found a holy spring that still exists today in Kapsala. It is dedicated to the Nativity of the Most-Holy Theotokos.

The three fathers who wished to leave finally left, but nobody knows the name of the fourth monk, who prayed and received help from the Lord and the Mother of God.                                                                                                                                                                                                      


July 12, 2022
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