Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

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Saint Paisios of Mount Athos
Ὃσιος Παΐσιος ὁ Ἁγιορείτης
Born (1924-07-25)July 25, 1924
Pharasa, Cappadocia[note 1]
Residence Konitsa; Mount Athos; Sinai Peninsula; Souroti
Died July 12, 1994( 1994-07-12)[note 2]
Monastery of St. John the Theologian, Souroti
Venerated in Eastern Orthodox Church
Canonized January 13th, 2015 by Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople[3][4]
Major shrine Monastery of St. John the Theologian, Souroti
Feast July 12 (ns)[2][5][6] / June 29 (os)[7]
Influences Saint Arsenios of Cappadocia
Tradition or genre
Athonite Monasticism

Saint Paisios of Mount Athos (Greek: Ὃσιος Παΐσιος ὁ Ἁγιορείτης), born Arsenios Eznepidis (1924–1994), was a well-known Eastern Orthodox ascetic from Mount Athos, who originated from Pharasa, Cappadocia. He was respected for his spiritual guidance and ascetic life and many people worldwide highly venerate Elder Paisios, especially in Greece and in Russia.[8][9][10]

Venerable Elder Paisios was canonized on 13 January 2015 by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,[3][4] and the church commemorates his feast day on July 12.[5][6]

The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church decided at its meeting of May 5, 2015 also to add the name of the Venerable Paisios of Mount Athos to the Menology of the Russian Orthodox Church, establishing his feast day on June 29/July 12, following the Menology of the Orthodox Church of Constantinople.[7]


On 25 July [O.S. 12 July] 1924, Arsenios Eznepidis was born in Pharasa (Çamlıca), Cappadocia, shortly before the population exchange between Greece and Turkey. Arsenios' name was given to him by St. Arsenios the Cappadocian, who baptised him, naming the child for himself and foretelling Arsenios' monastic future. After the exchange, the Eznepidis family settled in Konitsa, Epirus. Arsenios grew up there, and after intermediate public school, he learned carpentry.

During the civil war in Greece, Arsenios served as a radio operator. In 1950, having completed his service, he went to Mount Athos: first to Father Kyril, the future abbot of Koutloumousiou monastery, and then to Esphigmenou Monastery (although he was not supportive of their later opposition to the Ecumenical Patriarchate).

Arsenios, having been a novice for four years, was tonsured a Rassophore monk on 27 March 1954, and was given the name Averkios.[11]

Soon after, Father Averkios went to the (then) idiorrhythmic brotherhood of Philotheou monastery, where his uncle was a monk. While there, he was in obedience to Elder Symeon. On March 12, 1957, Elder Symeon tonsured Father Averkios to the Small Schema, giving him the name Paisios, in honour of the indefatigable Metropolitan of Caesarea, Paisios II, whose native village was Pharasa.[12]


  • 1958: Father Paisios was asked to spend time in his home village to support the faithful against Protestantism.
  • 1962: Father Paisios went to Saint Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai.
  • 1964: On his return to Mount Athos, Father Paisios took up residence at the Iviron monastery, then at Katounakia. His failing health may have led him to leave Katounakia.
  • 1966: Father Paisios had an operation, and part of his lungs were removed. During this time, his friendship with the sisterhood of Monastery of St. John the Theologian in Souroti, began. Elder Paisios would place the relics of St. Arsenios the Cappadocian in this monastery.
  • 1966: On January 11, 1966, Father Paisios received the Great and Angelic Schema from Elder Tikhon, at the Hermitage of the Holy Cross, of the monastery of Stavronikita.[13] After Elder Tikhon's repose on September 10, 1968, Fr. Paisios resided in that hermitage.
  • 1979: Elder Paisios moved to Panagouda, a hermitage belonging to Koutloumousiou Monastery. It was here that his renown grew. Between prayer and assisting his visitors, he only rested for two or three hours each night.
  • 1993 Oct 5: Elder Paisios left Mount Athos for medical attention. Despite his wish to be gone only a few days, he was diagnosed with cancer requiring immediate surgery, and after recovery, he was transferred to the Monastery of St. John the Theologian, Souroti.
Despite wishing to return to Mount Athos, his health did not allow it.
  • 1994 Jul 12: Having received Holy Communion the previous day, Elder Paisios reposed. He was buried at the Monastery in Souroti, next to the church of St Arsenios the Cappadocian.

Monastic life[edit]

In 1958 Elder Paisios was asked to spend some time in and around his home village so as to support the faithful against the proselytism of Protestant groups. He greatly encouraged the faithful there, helping many people. Afterwards, in 1962, he left to visit Saint Catherine's Monastery on Sinai where he stayed for two years. During this time he became beloved of the Bedouins who benefited from his presence both spiritually as well as materially as the Elder used the money he received from the sale of his carved wooden handicraft to buy the Bedouins food.

On his return to Mt. Athos in 1964 Elder Paisios took up residence at the Skete of Iviron before moving to Katounakia at the southernmost tip of Mt. Athos for a short stay in the wilderness there. The Elder's failing health may have been part of the reason for his departure from there. In 1966 he had an operation removing part of his lungs. It was during this time of hospitalization that his long friendship with the then young sisterhood of St. John the Theologian in Souroti, just outside of Thessaloniki, began. During his operation he needed a large amount of blood and a group of novices from the monastery donated blood to save him.

In 1968 he spent time at the Monastery of Stavronikita.

Prophesy & Controversy[edit]

A number of controversial political statements and prophecies have been credited to Elder Paisios. These include the prediction that a war with Turkey will lead to a restoration of a Greater Greece, including Albania, Macedonia, and Byzantium (Istanbul), and the mass conversion of Turks from Islam to Orthodox Christianity. Many have compared Paisios to Nostradamus.[14]

On 21 September 2012, a Greek citizen was arrested on charges of malicious blasphemy and offense of religion[15] for the creation of a satirical Facebook page called "Elder Pastitsios the Pastafarian". The page, which has since been taken down, satirised the commercial exploitation of Paisios's legacy.[16][17] The matter was raised by a member of parliament belonging to Golden Dawn.[17][18]


The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate canonized Elder Paisios on 13 January 2015.[3][4][note 3] Paisios' sainthood happened quickly according to church standards, and was the second-fastest sainthood in recent church history.[19] On Sunday January 17, 2015 many faithful from across the Balkans went on pilgrimage to the monastery in Souroti, which St. Paisios helped found in 1967, culminating five nights of continuous prayers. Archbishop Damianos of Sinai, abbot of St. Catherine's Orthodox Monastery in Egypt's Sinai peninsula since 1973, was also present at the ceremonies.[19][note 4]

On Sunday January 25, 2015 the first church to be dedicated to Saint Paisios the Athonite was consecrated in central Limassol, Cyprus, in the neighbourhood of Ekali, across from Tsirion Stadium.[20] The sacred service began at 6pm with the reception of the holy relics of Hieromartyr Heraclides, Bishop of Tamassos (September 17), of Saint Cosmas of Mount Athos,[note 5] and of the New Martyr George of Cyprus (April 23). These were placed respectively in the three altars of the new church, which was thus dedicated to Saint Arsenios of Cappadocia (November 10), to Saint Paisios of Mount Athos (July 12), and to the holy Martyrs Barachisius and Jonah (March 29), given that the church in Pharasa, Cappadocia, which was Saint Arsenios' and Saint Paisios' village and place of birth was dedicated in honour of the Martyrs Barachisius and Jonah.[20]


Translated into English
  • Saint Arsenios the Cappadocian, translated into English and published in 1989 and 2001 by Holy Monastery "Evangelist John the Theologian", Souroti, Thessaloniki, Greece.
  • Elder Hadji-Georgis the Athonite, translated into English and published in 1996 by Holy Monastery "Evangelist John the Theologian", Souroti, Thessaloniki, Greece.
  • Athonite Fathers and Athonite Matters, translated into English and published in 1999 by Holy Monastery "Evangelist John the Theologian", Souroti, Thessaloniki, Greece.
  • Epistles, by Elder Paisios of Mount Athos, translated into English and published in Feb 2002 by Holy Monastery "Evangelist John the Theologian", Souroti, Thessaloniki, Greece; distributed in the U.S.A. by St. Herman of Alaska Monastery.

Orthodox Hymn[edit]


Thou, O Father, didst say with words enlightened by the Holy Spirit that many saints would have desired to live in our times, in order to strive for salvation.
For Thou didst herald to us, who live in darkness, that the time is almost ready and that those that now struggle valiantly to win their salvation will receive a martyr's reward.
For this we thank God, Who with mercy looked on His people, sending His Saint for our enlightenment, and thus with voices of joy we gladly sing to our All-Gracious Master the song: Alleluia![21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Pharasa is on the road connecting Kaisareia (Kayseri) with Adana, while on the side of Ala Dağ there were some narrow crossings leading to Niğde. Therefore, although Pharasa was isolated from the regional urban centres, it was connected by road with most of them."[1]
  2. ^ "It was eleven in the morning on Tuesday, July 12, 1994 – the date according to the Old Calendar was June 29, the memory of Saints Peter and Paul, first among the Apostles. He was laid to rest behind the church of Saint Arsenios."[2]
  3. ^ "The Holy and Sacred Synod convened today, Tuesday, January 13, 2015, with His All-Holiness presiding for its regular monthly meeting, for the purpose of examining various items on its agenda. During this session, the Holy and Sacred Synod:
    a) unanimously accepted the proposal of the Canonical Committee to incorporate the monk Paisios of Mt. Athos into the registry of the Saints of the Orthodox Church..."[3]
  4. ^ "Saint Paisios spent two years with us (at St. Catherine's)...We are praying for God's and St. Paisios' enlightenment, so that Greece may be saved," he said.[19]
  5. ^ It is unclear which Saint this refers to:


  1. ^ Karachristos, Ioannis. "Pharasa (Ottoman Period)." Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World, Asia Minor. 9/9/2005. Retrieved: 20 January 2015.
  2. ^ a b Hieromonk Isaac, 2012: p. 322.
  3. ^ a b c d Announcement (13/01/2015). Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople - News Releases. 1/13/15. Retrieved: 20 January 2015.
  4. ^ a b c (Greek) Και επίσημα άγιος ο Γέροντας Παΐσιος. ΣΚΑΪ.gr. 13/01/2015 - 16:31. Retrieved: 20 January 2015.
  5. ^ a b (Greek) Όσιος Παΐσιος ο Αγιορείτης. Ορθόδοξος Συναξαριστής. 12/07/2015.
  6. ^ a b Ecumenical Patriarchate Officially Entered Elder Paisios among the List of Saints. Ecumenical Patriarchate - Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and South East Asia (OMHKSEA). January 13, 2015. Retrieved: 20 January 2015.
  7. ^ a b The Russian Church Adds the Name of the Venerable Paisios of Mount Athos to its Menology. PRAVMIR.COM. 11 MAY 2015.
  8. ^ Hieromonk Damascene. Elder Paisios the New of Mount Athos (Part 1). Orthodoxy and the World ( Mar 25, 2005, 01:00.
  9. ^ Bishop Alexander (Mileant), Ed.. An introduction to the life and counsels of Elder Paisios the New of Mount Athos by Hieromonk Damascene. Missionary Leaflet EA38, Holy Trinity Orthodox Mission, La Canada, Ca.
  10. ^ (Russian) On the glorification of Elder Paisios. Православие и мир. (
  11. ^ Hieromonk Isaac, 2012: p. 65.
  12. ^ Hieromonk Isaac, 2012: p. 85.
  13. ^ Hieromonk Isaac, 2012: p. 163.
  14. ^ Fairclough, Gordon. Greeks Seek Strength in the Powers of a Revered Monk to Predict Events. The Wall Street Journal. Dec. 3, 2012 12:11 a.m. ET.
  15. ^ (Greek) H Δίωξη Ηλεκτρονικού Εγκλήματος συνέλαβε 27χρονο ημεδαπό για κακόβουλη βλασφημία και καθύβριση θρησκευμάτων, μέσω του Facebook. Ελληνική Αστυνομία (Greek Police Web). Αθήνα, 24 Σεπτεμβρίου 2012.
  16. ^ Greek police arrest man behind Facebook page satirizing 'mystical' priest. September 25, 2012 (08:42).
  17. ^ a b Apostolou, Nikolia. "Blasphemy in democracy's birthplace? Greece arrests Facebook user.". The Christian Science Monitor. 
  18. ^ ?, ?. "Συνελήφθη ο Παστίτσιος, ήρθε ο... Παρίσιος". 
  19. ^ a b c Greek Orthodox Church names monk as St. Paisios. January 18, 2015 9:04 pm. Retrieved: 15 February 2015.
  20. ^ a b (Greek) Εγκαίνια Ναού για τον Όσιο Παΐσιο στη Λεμεσό. ΠΕΜΠΤΟΥΣΙΑ | ΠΟΛΙΤΙΣΜΟΣ ΕΠΙΣΤΗΜΕΣ ΘΡΗΣΚΕΙΑ. 25 Ιανουαρίου 2015. Retrieved: 28 January 2015.
  21. ^ Akathist to our Holy Father Paisius the Athonite. St. John the Wonderworker of San Francisco Church (ROCOR), Colchester, Essex England (Orthodox England). Retrieved: 21 January 2015.


External links[edit]