In the cell of Saint Spyridon of Trimuthus, there lived a ninety-year-old layman who told this story.
It was 1940, and we were at war with the Nazis. I was the commander of a Greek destroyer ship, and we were standing by at an anchorage off Korfu Island. We had run out of ammunition, and we were defenceless. All of a sudden, we came under attack from three Nazi bombers. In this hopeless situation, I appealed to God as my last hope.
Soon, I saw at the stern a bishop in full habit. He was diverting the bombs falling from the Nazi planes from our ship with his staff. The attackers ran out of bombs but could not hit us once. I recognised who our helper was. It was Saint Spiridon of Korfu. When the attack was over, we praised the Lord and His saint.
A terrible thunderstorm hit Katounakia on Mount Athos. In the middle of the storm, the church fathers from the Danilea Skete observed an ascetic walking up a trail. He noticed a veneration cross felled by the wind. Disregarding the storm, he stopped at the cross and began to lift it. A bolt of lightning struck within two steps from him, damaging fifty metres of a water pipe. But the cross and the monk were unharmed. In the face of the wind and the storm, the fearless and faithful monk did not leave until the cross was back in place.
The Venerable Paisios of the Holy Mountain had been standing in prayer for hours in the small domestic church of the Honourable Live-Giving Cross. He felt no fatigue. Far from it: the longer he was standing, the more freshness and lightness he felt in his body. something was filling him with unspeakable warmth, sweetness and joy.
In a moment of distraction, he thought, "Two of my ribs are missing. I had better put on a sweater to keep warm. I will stop for a while, put on my sweater and continue. No sooner had he acted on this thought than his legs felt fluffy, and he collapsed on the floor. It took him almost an hour to get back to his feet, reach his cell and get into bed.
Remembering this incident, elder Paisios observed: "My motive was natural and fully human, but the implications were staggering. I fear to think what the consequences might have been if I had acted on pride or some other evil motive."
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