Saint Paisios: “…the reality is that none of us die…”
Saint Paisios of Mount Athos Answers the Questions of his Young Visitor
The young man then asked the saint: “The Lord taught us to pray to God the Father. The Orthodox Church, however, also prays to the All Holy Theotokos and the saints who were simple human beings. Is this the right thing to do?”
The saint responded: “ All of the prayers go to our God. When we pray to the All Holy Theotokos and the saints we ask them to pray for us to our Lord and their prayers have great power.”
The young man at that point interrupted Saint Paisios and said: ” Yes, but the All Holy Theotokos and the saints were people who died. They can’t hear us and they are not omnipresent. Does God become angry and irritated when we pray to them?”
(of note the young man later explained that the minute he uttered the words “Yes, but..” he felt a divine power sharpening all of his senses and enabling him “absorb” everything the holy elder had to say)
My child, the Saint answered, the reality is that none of us die, we are all alive in the eyes of our God. When someone dies, they die for us; those who have stayed behind on Earth. He did not die in the eyes of our God. And if the departed person has become close to God and interacts with Him, he learns from Christ that we have asked the departed person to pray on our behalf and so he prays, and Christ listens to his mediation and is delighted. The prayer of a righteous person has great power.
From the article “A conversation with Saint Paisios” published in the journal “Osios Gregorios” a publication of the Holy Monastery of Osios Gregorios of Mount Athos 20th edition (1995), page 66
Translated by Anna Pipinos, Elias Pipinos and Margarita Pipinos.