One day, a man from Kalamata who lived in Athens was driving to Ioannina, when he was involved in a serious head on collision. His car was literally smashed to pieces, and he suffered a serious head injury. He was taken, unconscious, to the hospital and placed in intensive care. While he was in this condition, he saw an elderly monk in the midst of a bright cloud. The man didn’t have any particular relationship to the Church, but a few days before an acquaintance had told him about a grace-bearing monk named Elder Paisios. So, in his surprise, he impulsively addressed the unknown monk, “Are you Elder Paisios?” The elder didn’t answer him. He smiled, gently caressed his head, and said, “Don’t be afraid, you’ll be fine!” The man regained consciousness. Though he was con-fused by the strangeness of what had occurred, and although he didn’t know the identity of his miraculous visitor, he believed his reassuring words. The man described with unmistakable conviction what he had experienced to his doctors― who, surprised by the humanly inexplicable improvement in his condition, confessed that they had witnessed a true miracle.
After he was discharged, he looked in the window of a bookstore he was passing, and he was surprised to see a picture of the monk who had saved him on the front cover of a book. He had discovered the identity of his benefactor, and, being full of gratitude , he bought the book and read it.
Moved by what he read, in January of 1998 he made a pilgrimage to Panagouda, and this is when he offered his account. The elder’s intervention, in addition to saving him from certain physical death, radically changed his life. He sought out a spiritual father and went to confession, abandoning the worldly life despite intense opposition from his relatives.
“I can’t keep doing the same things,’ he said, with tears in his eyes. “The elder’s bright, smiling face is always coming to my mind.”
Elder Paisios of Mount Athos
©2012 For the English Language by The Holy Monastery Saint Arsenios the Cappadocian