Thoughts on the feast day of Elder Paisios Velichkovsky

Of our spiritual growth and inner transformation in Christ

December 16, 2021

feast day of Elder Paisios

Two weeks ago, we commemorated Saint Paisios Velichkovsky. He takes the credit for reintroducing the tradition of spiritual doing in the practice of the Russian Orthodox Church. He lived at an unfortunate age when the teachings of the church fathers on spiritual life were losing influence. Fasting and church worship were becoming less meaningful and more ritualistic. Having spent many years as a spiritual disciple on Mount Athos, he established several monasteries in Moldavia, and his spiritual children became teachers of the Optina elders.

Elder Paisios returned spirituality to church life. He put in the centre stage the inner being of the person, not his visible accomplishments. We appreciate the difference that he made because the reason for our coming to God is to transform ourselves from within. We need to learn how to keep track of our thoughts and sentiments, how to question them and discuss them in our confessions.

Elder Paisios

At some point, we will all face up to eternity. But to have eternal life, we must already learn to live a full life in love and faith. We are all vulnerable to deception, illnesses and all kinds of depravity. But we are at Church. Christ is in our midst, and He will never abandon us. He is the One who gives us strength. If there is one thing we need to fear, it is stepping away from Christ and treating our human wisdom and fears as the ultimate truth. Where there is Christ, there is life.

The Church is where people gather in the name of Christ. They partake of His Body and Blood and thereby defeat the world of the flesh. Every liturgy is like a bomb blast in the darkness of Hades. It is the victory of God, the source of life. Here, Christ joined us together with His love into a single, undivided Church. In it, we are invincible. All its saints are praying for us. No matter how hard the secular world may try to divide us and put us apart, we will stay together because Christ is in our midst. "Where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them."

Archpriest Andrey Lemeshonok

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1 month ago
Why the picture of St Paisius Eznepides and not an icon of St Paisius Velichkovsky?
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