Let Not Your Hearts be Troubled

Every now and then, Gail and I receive essays from our readers which we are asked to publish. As much as we appreciate receiving them, we can’t publish every one.

However, every now and them a sweet hearted gem is dropped in our laps, one which speaks to the innocence of the Christian faith and which speaks to the moment. This is one such posting from one of our dear readers on the occasion of Saint Paisios’ birthday.

St Paisios, pray for us! Let our hearts not be troubled and let us remember that the present travails are sent by God to purify us. He still is and always will be, on His throne.


May It Be Blessed – July 25, birthday of Greek Orthodoxy most celebrated Saint, born Arsenios Eznepidis, later tonsured in Great Schema robe as St. Elder Paisios.

In 1994, as he lay dying in Thessaloniki, people in shock, witnessed him floating above the Church he founded, waving at them!

Later, there were countless stories of Paisios’ miracles; his tomb and home pervaded by sweet fragrance, many people’s lives saved, healed.  Many vouch seeing him alive again!

Yes, these are the supernatural marks, the promise Jesus gave us, “we too, can do the things HE did”. Human beings who reach Theosis.  Saints.  Many witnessed his face shining, as ineffable golden light; monks saw him covered in blue light; nuns saw him levitating above ground, changing time and space in his company.

Paisios could also be fun.  They say he used to wonder why thousands of pilgrims traveled to see him, referring to himself as a mere pumpkin while the public thinks he’s a watermelon!

Elder Paisios was said to be visited on Mt. Athos regularly by angels, Jesus, the Theotokos, Saints, even the centuries old King Constantine. When Paisios was going through hard decisions regarding the Church, it is said he was granted visitation of a 3rd century martyr, Euphemia.

And how unique is this, among saints; after Paisios was visited from heaven by
St. Euphemia knocking on his cell, hours talking things over, he later writes
her a poem of his affection…

How refreshing, though a hermit, he was not a dried up spring; there he did not
struggle against the ‘divine feminine’, no, his ’divine masculine’ allowed Eros and met with St. Euphemia beyond time and space!

p.s. people: let not your hearts be troubled over losing Hagia Sophia; beloved
Paisios assured us this would happen but in the future, Russia will go to war on
Turkey and give Hagia Sophia back to the Greeks.
May It Be Blessed!

– by Paisia
[small schema monastic]


  1. Sage-Girl says


    He also wrote several books, the one about St. Arsenios happened to be his own parents’ spiritual father + baptized him as a baby giving him his own name Arsenios. ?
    When St. Arsenios lifted up the baby, the Holy Spirit illumined him + exclaimed, “this child will become a monk + a Saint!”

    Years later, while living on Mount Athos + after monk Paisios finished writing ✍️ book on his beloved St. Arsenios, he looked across his cell + saw the living human form of Arsenios standing there — he reached out to embrace him + described it as the most real + ecstatic experience until St. Arsenios vanished.
    Such otherworldly experiences were actually quite common for dear Elder Paisios.

    ??May His Memory Be Eternal!??Axios !

  2. John Sakelaris says

    We can see accounts on the internet of prophecies made by St Paisios.  They do include a prediction that there will be war between Russia and Turkey, that Russia will win the war, that US/NATO efforts to support Turkey will be defeated, that Constantinople (with Hagia Sophia) will be returned to the Greeks, and that many Turks will become Christian. 

    Wow, that is a lot.   

    Any history of Russia-Turkey interactions, whether viewed over the last few years or the last five centuries, would be a story of numerous Russian conflicts with Turkey (sometimes with Turkey getting support from powers to the west), as well as equally numerous times when Russia pulled back from confronting Turkey (often due to Russia having sudden distractions, crises, or temptations elsewhere).    Or as Timothy Ware once described Russia’s role as protector of the Orthodox world,”It was to prove both worthy and unworthy of this vocation.” 
    At this time, the “Russia Today” website is playing this very cautiously.    Their articles show efforts to tell both the Muslim as well as the Christian side, hardly an indicator that war is imminent.   

    What are we to say about all of this?   

    • George Michalopulos says

      John, you raise some salient points regarding how Russia is being judicious during the present crisis.  Sobriety is called for and is apparently heeded in the Kremlin.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Hellas will rise again!

      • Michael Bauman says

        Here in Wichita one of the prominent radio hosts ended each of his shows saying: “Save your Confederate money friends, the South will rise again!”   Anybody got any old nummis lying around?  Somebody going to start the GLM for the destruction of Turkey?
        I am with Austin on this one.   

    • anonsayswhat says

      There are recent prophecies stating that Erdogan will fall from his position before Turkey engages with Russia militarily. Turkey at that time will have invaded Greek territory. I assume it will be a drastic strategy for seizing economic zones – for future drilling sites. But their actions will also impede on the interests of the Russians in some manner. Nevertheless Saint Paisios told many Christians not to fear. The Turks would not accomplish anything significant.
      Elder Joseph of Vatopedi Monastery stated, “… and Greece, although she has a government, does not, in reality, have a government, as such. She lacks strength, and the Turks will come here. This will be the moment when Russia, too, will move her forces, in order to repel the Turks. Events will develop thus: when Russia goes to Greece’s aid, the Americans and NATO will attempt to prevent this, in order that there might be no union, no merger, between two Orthodox nations… The Vatican will also participate greatly in all this, in order to impede the growing role of Orthodoxy and prevent such unification.” (Interview: October 26, 2001)
      Very interesting that Elder Joseph spoke about the Vatican’s role. We see their works already along with their ecumenist allies within our Church.
      As it stands now it seems Russia and the US are playing tug-of-war for Turkey’s favor. With the latest stance Turkey has taken with the Agia Sophia, which “enrages” many ecumenist bishops all over the world, as I believe it stems from a fear that Russia perhaps is supporting this, as retaliation for what was done in Ukraine. Also perhaps note that it throws a wrench in the whole ecumenist movement as well. Have Christians and Muslims around the world clash. Was it not recently the Patriarch of Syria/Antioch allowed a Muslim cleric to speak blasphemy in the Church?

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Elder Joseph seems to have it pegged.

      • Sage-Girl says

        Yay for Elder Joseph!! Another gem of Orthodoxy — 
        p.s. I wonder how Erdogan will fall…
        notice, the wheel of fortune ? keeps turning?

  3. Sage-Girl says

    John Sakelaris :
    … ”what are we to say about all of this?”
    ?Ah, that is the question John — St. Paisios was a Saint not afraid to make a political statement!
    Listen: check ? ‘Sandra – the Prophecy Lady’; wow, she makes some intense salient points on St. Paisios prophecy… 
    “Turkey has been harassing Russia like someone using a stick to poke a sleeping bear. ??So far they’ve gotten away with it. This time, however, Turkey made a big mistake. Oops, Greece is an Orthodox country! This provides Russia with an excuse…
    Shortly after invasion of Greece, Russia will swoop into Turkey!  This is not an attack, it’s all out War!  It is said by another Orthodox prophet that Russia will not spare even one missile! When Russia enters with troops everything is destroyed except Hagia Sophia the gem… St. Paisios tells us 1/3 of population of Turkey is destroyed, 1/3 converts to Christianity …”

    • Sage-Girl, you had me—until you said: “Sandra – the Prophecy Lady’; wow, she makes some intense salient points on St. Paisios prophecy…” Not sure who Sandra–the Prophecy Lady is? Some kind of a Gypsy fortune teller?

      • Sage-Girl says

        I tried to cut/paste this prophetic old lady who’s devout Catholic + loves St. Paisios + commented on his prophecies on Hagia Sophia … I found her by accident online researching Constantinople.
        Look her up: “Sandra the Prophecy Lady”
        she’s no gypsy + does not charge anyone, so spare me the cliches. This wise old woman is an intellectually sophisticated, patriotic American ?? + deeply spiritual; she was born with clairvoyance (+ you’re not ) + you Orthodox better remember:
        the Bible is full of gifted people having supernatural experiences.  She’s also a Trump supporter. Read up on her essays  

        • Sage-Girl, you say that this lady is “…deeply spiritual; she was born with clairvoyance (+ you’re not )…”  That’s quite a bold statement. How do you know that I’m not clairvoyant? Can you see into my mind, and my life? I’m the one that must be ‘clairvoyant’, because I always do predict that you’ll have some kind of a ridiculous answer to something. Sorry, but I’ll stick to Orthodox sources, not Roman Catholic, or anything that has to do with astrology or soothsayers.

          • Sage-Girl says

            Alex, “how do I know your not”? Haha – You would’ve told us something in the future by now, that’s how. But seriously, let’s not forget the many disgraced, defrocked priests + bishops who “outwardly” looked + sounded Orthodox but degraded the Faith.

            What is “outward” is not always what is “inward”. That’s what I’m trying to enlighten you on… maybe that Sandra lady is more Orthodox than me + you together? Notice she appreciates + agrees with our Orthodox Saint, she’s open minded. Only God knows Us!

            Even in my many years researching NDEs (Near Death Experiences), I recall how often the angels or when Jesus appeared, they’d show them up in Heaven their “Life Review” of EVERYTHING they ever did, said + thought + this made them realize how unfair, + judgmental they were… they even discovered that those they deemed holy were not + those they dismissed were holy…

            ??As my genuine holy Elder always mumbles to us, “Humble down, humble down…”

            • < sigh. double sigh. >

              • Sage-Girl says

                ?yes sigh …
                sigh all the way to doing your Orthodox Jesus Prayer on your beads … something miraculous can happen, that’s the heart of our Orthodoxy – 
                Your welcome.

                • No Sage-Girl, I’m sighing at your answers. They can be quite good at times, then quite strange. And, I prefer to use a regular prayer rope as opposed to beads. (I find that beads make too much noise as I concentrate on my prayers.) I’d give it a try.

                  You’re welcome.

                  • Sage-Girl says

                    You’re welcome too Alex ?!
                    Interesting to note: we Orthodox use prayer ropes + guess what — so do ALL religions?  We have to keep in mind, there’s always exceptions to the rule; there’s real gems to be found in every spiritual tradition – this awareness never leaves me cause I’ve met some pure  luminous beings from all walks… + likewise, we all heard of some bad apples in our Orthodoxy – right?

                    • Gail Sheppard says


                      Very true. There are “luminous beings from all walks”. The problem is, we can’t really know where all their power is coming from. Nor can they.

                      Again, we know where God is (He is in the Church); we do not know where He isn’t (He may or may not be with these other luminous beings). Satan, himself, can appear as a beautiful angel of light. We are encouraged by the Holy Fathers to keep our distance from mystical things because we do not have the spiritual discernment to tell us what is and is not of God (well, most of us don’t). Outwardly, they can look the same.

                      Instead, we are encouraged to cling tightly to the Church. We know God is in the Church. When we hear of one of our Saints levitating or appearing to people after their death or prophesying, or whatever else they’ve been known to do, we accept it. When other mystics do the same thing, we keep our distance, as our adversary prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

                      And he’s not stupid. He could empower those luminous human beings whom we think are the exceptions.

                      Many of us come from a New Age background or at least dabbled in it before turning to the Church. I used to read Tarot cards for fun and was literally begged by bonafide witches to join their ranks. My mother-in-law was one of them. I’m talking a real witch with demonstrable power and the nicest middle-aged woman you’d ever want to meet. She thought I had some kind of power and though I knew enough to steer clear of what she was into, she left me her tarot cards when she died.

                      By that time, I was in the Church and I immediately mailed them to a spiritual man who had lived in monasteries around the world. He did not want me touching them. He picked up the envelope at the post office and went to Church without opening it. His priest, a very spiritual man, stopped the Liturgy and told him to take the envelope out of the parish immediately, without even knowing what was in the envelope! My friend took them out to the desert to burn them. After 3 hours, they still would not burn. He became violently ill in the process was taken to the emergency room where he almost died. They did every test imaginable and never found out what made him so sick.

                      And my mother-in-law was such a nice, “luminous” woman, who seemingly used her powers for good. That’s what I thought.

                      Before she died she kept telling me to get rid of the cat. I went up to the third floor of her townhouse a day or two before she passed and she again mumbled something about getting rid of “the cat”. I reminded her she didn’t have a cat. Just then I saw a tabby cat run into the room and jump through her closed window. I looked out the window in disbelief. There was no cat.

                      Gotta stay away from these people and their world.

                    • <p>Sage-Girl, I’d take note about what Gail has said. The experiences from her past are a big eye opener, and I totally believe her. My father is a retired priest, and he has told me similar stories. He once performed an exorcism on a young woman that was into reading Tarot cards, and other strange stuff from non-Orthodox religions. When he was finishing up the prayers his stole started to fly up into his face. He pushed it down, then it happened again. He blessed the woman with his pectoral cross and it stopped abruptly. Whatever was in the room with them left.</p><p>He also told me about a Romanian couple that would show up to church every once in a great moon. They called him up one day and said that there was a big black dog that kept appearing all over their house. He went over and blessed the house—every single corner—and left them with holy water. They never saw the big black dog ever again. Not coincidentally, the couple started coming to church much more often.</p><p>He never told me the names of the people because that would be a breach of privacy. And, frankly, I wouldn’t want to know.</p><p>Someone earlier suggested you look into the readings of Fr. Seraphim Rose, and I heartily concur. He had a very good grasp on the workings of New Age and other eastern religions, as he had been involved with them before he found the ultimate safe harbor—the salvation of the Holy Orthodox Church.</p>

                    • Sage-Girl, I’d take note about what Gail has said. The experiences from her past are a big eye opener, and I totally believe her. My father is a retired priest, and he has told me similar stories. He once performed an exorcism on a young woman that was into reading Tarot cards, and other strange stuff from non-Orthodox religions. When he was finishing up the prayers his stole started to fly up into his face. He pushed it down, then it happened again. He blessed the woman with his pectoral cross and it stopped abruptly. Whatever was in the room with them left.He also told me about a Romanian couple that would show up to church every once in a great moon. They called him up one day and said that there was a big black dog that kept appearing all over their house. He went over and blessed the house—every single corner—and left them with holy water. They never saw the big black dog ever again. Not coincidentally, the couple started coming to church much more often.He never told me the names of the people because that would be a breach of privacy. And, frankly, I wouldn’t want to know.Someone earlier suggested you look into the readings of Fr. Seraphim Rose, and I heartily concur. He had a very good grasp on the workings of New Age and other eastern religions, as he had been involved with them before he found the ultimate safe harbor—the salvation of the Holy Orthodox Church.

        • Michael Bauman says

          “Spiritual, not religious”?  
           Itching ears:  2 Timothy 4
          “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
          Call on the life giving mercy of Jesus Christ in all things sustaining the life of the Church and all will be well.  

      • Sounds like the nickname you would give to the crazy lady at coffee hour.

        I did a google and it appears that this Sandra lady is a Roman Catholic waxing on about Fatima, etc. I’ll give that a hard pass, thanks.

        • Sage-Girl says

          Basil, you didn’t read her essay on Hagia Sophia + her awareness + deep respect for Orthodoxy’s St. Paisios + his predictions — it’s a brilliant take not just on Hagia Sophia; she also had insightful things on Joe Biden + President Trump. . .

    • Michael Bauman says

      …and Hal Lindsay rejoices 

      • Wow, Hal Lindsay…I haven’t heard his name mentioned in years! (I had to look up to see if he even was still alive. And, he is—still at 90 years old.) I remember all of those infomercials that he did in the late 70s and early 80s to sell his books and cassette tapes. If I remember correctly, he made all of these strange prophecies/predictions, and how Soviet Russia was such an evil force, and that it would bring about the end of the world. (Yes, Soviet Russia, or those in power at that time, were very evil!) But hey, the world is still here!

        • Michael Bauman says

          Alex, indeed.  I am sure he is a wealthy man.  But I wonder how many people had their faith wrecked?   Dealing in prophecies is a dicey business.  We Orthodox are supposed to be sober minded even in the midst of great miracles.  There is a luminosity to the world that allows us to perceive things beyond the normal but we are still, as sinful human beings, easily mislead by phantasms of our own longings and imagination AND demonic delusions as well.  Just because stuff comes from a saint does not mean it is true.  
          My late wife was sensitive to the time flow and could occasionally see things in the future.  She always stressed that anything she saw was highly conditional.  Locking into the future as if it were immutable was self defeating.  Repentance changes everything don’t you know.  

          • “Locking into the future as if it were immutable was self defeating…”
            Shakespeare’s Macbeth could testify to that…

          • Michael, I had a classmate in high school that was Pentecostal. Nice guy, but a bit daft in the head. He’d occasionally stop by our lunch table and start talking about the ‘Rapture’ and Hal Lindsay’s prophesies. We’d politely listen to him, then tell him that he needed to find some other pigeons to convert. (Almost all of my lunch buddies were Orthodox—kids of Russian, Greek and Serbian descent. One guy was from a conservative Lutheran family, so we ‘adopted’ him into our group.)

  4. Being of Greek heritage, grandparents came in the 1890s, I have all the feelings regarding Agia Sophia, magnificent structure, centuries of use as an Orthodox temple and other aspects. I respect the prophecies of St Paisios and the other saints also.
    My concern is when all this happens, will the great temple be turned over to the Orthodox Church of Greece or other administrative unit ie EP? Orthodoxy in Greece from all reports is in an embarrassing example. So will Orthodox Turkey become like Greece? Or will another major influence come in to save Turkey?
    Or will the GOA with US “aid” come to the rescue”
    Maybe we should “Pray for the conversion of Greece”, or for Russia to become the tool used to restore Orthodoxy. Or that God will raise up a holy leader.
    But mostly pray constantly for mercy and may God’s will be done.

  5. Austin Martin says

    My (ethnically Greek) spiritual father says that the reason the Greeks made him a saint is because he told them what they want to hear.
    If St Paisius’s prophecy about Constantinople comes true, I will eat a shoe. I will take a shoe, cut it into bits, put it into a blender with some kind of liquid, and drink it as a slurry.
    That’s how ridiculous I think his “prophecy” is.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      That sounds absolutely shoelicious!

    • Sage-Girl says

      get a new spiritual father — St. Paisios “told them what they want to hear”? How Disgraceful – your so called elder is extremely Rude + ignorant… + probably jealous he will Never reach his heights!
      St. Paisios many times said things we did NOT want to hear

    • These prophecies of Saint Paisios probably amount to about 1% of what he said. There’s books and books of his spiritual teachings and enough evidence of his holiness of life and impact on others to show why he’s a saint.
      Your spiritual father is a great example of the cynicism that pervades many of our clergymen these days. Doesn’t fill me with confidence.

      • Michael Bauman says

        I, for one, am not questioning his holiness or the prophesies. I am questioning our ability to properly understand them in the proper context. I also do not know the context of the prophesies, etc. I am totally unable to evaluate them in a discerning manner so I would prefer to concentrate on the other 99% as that will be far more profitable.

        • I agree. The thing is with prophecies from modern elders – or even older saints – is that, in many cases, they might not even be real. Forgeries abound. I, for one, don’t care for prophecies and stick to the Church’s patristic and liturgical texts for my eschatology.

      • Sage-Girl says

        Granted it’s Not easy to find a spirit filled elder to personally guide one, even the well known Elder Joseph the Hesychast went through long hard struggles to find one or two … so did our “superstar” Saint Paisios; he was disillusioned by some but kept on; his closest being Papa Tikhon.
        What’s inspiring + amazing is these struggles led them to becoming the Mega Elders to so many!????
        Never give up till you find him or her. The nun Mother Gavrilia of Greece always repeated in her biography Ascetic of Love  — two things:

         “One must always look for an Elder, soon as my Elder died I immediately looked for another; we must be under guidance of a holy one”.  

             2.  “Everything that happens, I mean      EVERYTHING … God is allowing it!”                

        • Michael Bauman says

          While a “Spirit filled elder” is a significant part of monastic tradition for the rest of us it can be a distraction at best, a delusional exercise at worst.
          “Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them.”
          The fact is most of us would not prophet from one if we had one.
          I have had the blessing of seeing Archmandrite Zacharias talk in person. He carries holiness but I rather doubt that I have the obedience or humility to be a worthy student if his for any more than the 60 minutes or so I was blessed to experience.

          • Sage-Girl says

            MB – that’s sad you don’t believe you’d prophet from having the guidance of a genuine Elder. But truth is, that’s the heart ? of Orthodox tradition — it’s what makes us different from Protestants + Catholics.

            Bringing our body to a building (church) on Sundays + receiving Eucharist is Not enough; it’s wonderful, yes, but it’s Not enough … well, “not enough” for those aspiring to reach Theosis. For monastics, it’s unheard of not to have personal, guidance of an Elder or Eldress

            Nevertheless, our “goal” essentially as Orthodox, IS Theosis — not just being moral upright citizens. That’s the mainstream churches line of thought complete with SJWs . So it’s not just for Monastics but ALL of us. I’ve talked to many people over the years from various Orthodox churches + learned how they think from my Cathedral study group + discovered they don’t know meaning of Theosis + sadly, many don’t really believe in Afterlife or divinity of Jesus; to them it’s nice to meet on Sundays socially.

            They simply never had the Abba/Disciple relationship. That’s fine … but those who want to attain Theosis it’s imperative to seek the personal guidance of a true Elder.

            • Sorry, but that is just guruism.
              The heart of Orthodox tradition is the Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who trampled down death by death and gives us His most pure Body and Blood for the remission of sins and life everlasting. Receiving the holy mysteries IS enough, when accompanied by a devout life and continual struggle for moral improvement. Not enough for those looking for theosis? Sorry, but you probably haven’t read where Saint Athanasius says that theosis is adoption as sons by God, i.e. baptism and reception into the Body of Christ.
              Now, there’s a place of eldership and spiritual fatherhood in Orthodoxy – an important place – but Orthodox Christians can be saved and achieve great heights without it. All it takes is a humble and contrite heart. Did you read about the Alexandrian cobbler? He never had an abba, yet he surpassed all the ascetics in Egypt for his holiness of life.
              Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov wrote that there were no elders left, but not to despair, as we could still be saved if we kept the commandments and followed the writings of the Holy Fathers. That says to me that elders are not essential for our salvation, despite the obvious benefits of having a spiritually discerning guide.
              Don’t get me wrong. I love monks, monasteries, and monasticism, and probably would have become one myself if I hadn’t met my wife, but this guruism that has crept into Orthodoxy needs to go.

              • Sage-Girl says

                Basil, I agree some don’t really need an Elder — even the famous St. Francis never had a spiritual father as well as some Orthodox Saints you mentioned.  But I suspect, these are special, advanced beings who don’t need anyone’s guidance, but rest of us DO need it cause temptations of secular world are pulling on us, they pull us into fascination with the world…
                IF we’ve discernment, we can see whom to give our trust — thank goodness, I found a pure Orthodox teacher — call him my guru, I don’t care, but if you want to be a virtuoso you need a master violinist to train you.

                • MomofToddler says

                  Sage-Girl, Orthodoxy does not have a Saint Francis.  The Saint Francis of the Roman Catholic faith is considered within traditional Orthodoxy to have been in prelest/delusion.  
                  This link has Fr. Seraphim Rose’s words on St. Francis of Assisi: http://remnantrocor.blogspot.com/2014/10/prelest-of-francis-of-assisi.html   (This blog is run by someone who no longer attends a canonical Orthodox church, but still a good resource for hard to find articles.)
                  Here is a video of the same article by Fr. Seraphim Rose set to music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ra17xm0yn3E
                  Have attended Catholic school in my youth, I feel that having an proper Orthodox understanding of St. Francis is very important.  

                  • Beat me to it!

                  • Sage-Girl says

                    ?Thanks I’ll check it out — wow for a long time I really thought we Orthodox were in alignment with those famous Catholic saints …
                    now I see why years ago after a Catholic friend gifted me a tiny little statue of Virgin Mary I had offered it for blessing to my Orthodox priest + he said we can’t bless Catholic symbols 

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Sage-Girl, I want to thank you. Your conversation on elders made me reflect on what they actually do. In the process I realized I do have one of sorts.  He would be horrified if he knew I looked to him that way. He is just a simple priest who loves God.  His exploration of the faith has been enormously helpful to me. His words bring me to repentance often, soften my heart and lead me into joy

              • Katherine says

                Basil, I completely agree with your post of July 30 at 2:28 P.M. in response to Sage-Girl’s post of July 30 at 3:36 A.M.  Her comment about “…receiving the Eucharist is Not enough;…” along with a number of her other comments on this site make me question the guidance that she is receiving under the “pure Orthodox teacher” she found.

              • MomofToddler says

                I agree with you on the “guruism.” Saints and Holy Fathers are very important, but some people seem to cross the line.

  6. Austin Martin says

    If the prophecy does come true, what are the chances that the pope will be invited to stand in the altar during the opening liturgy?
    The EP is in no position to be managing such a building. It would instantly become a “monument to our shared human experience” or “a very ecumenical place” like the St Nicholas Shrine. And then flocked by idiot tourists like Jerusalem. After all, it was last a uniate church, so it’s only fair that the Catholics can use it part time (so the reasoning will go). Ecumenical Patriarch Elpidophorus isn’t going to offend wealthy western pilgrims by denying them communion.
    “The Shrine of Holy Wisdom”. That sounds about right.

    • anonsayswhat says

      I think you’ve misunderstood what the repercussions of such events will be. This event between Russia and Turkey will be the spark for the greater war, the world war. The Vatican from what I understand, will be insignificant. Now what will become of the current EP or how they’ll function, who knows…  There will be a Grand Synod around that time as well to heal the many wounds created over the years. It’s very possible that many new bishops will be elected to replace the “duds” that are in position today.
      Here’s a condensed video of Metropolitan Morphou, if you understand Greek.  Even Bishops in the Church are refuting the prophetic words of Saint Paisios. He also speaks about other similar prophecies with who said them, and the reasons why these events will occur.

      • Sage-Girl says

        There’s Always jealous bishops + priests regarding the great ones — these types all lack humility + all lack Theosis …
        they inspire nobody + the Church collective is full of them — absolutely full of them, which is why pews are getting emptier + monastery visits plentiful. Hopefully, they’ll resign + be good accountants etc

  7. Michael Bauman says

    While a “Spirit filled elder” is a significant part of monastic tradition for the rest of us it can be a distraction at best, a delusional exercise at worst.
    “Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them.”
    The fact is most of us would not prophet from one if we had one.
    I have had the blessing of seeing Archmandrite Zacharias talk in person. He carries holiness but I rather doubt that I have the obedience or humility to be a worthy student if his for any more than the 60 minutes or so I was blessed to experience.

  8. Sage girl, hello. 
    You say that in order to achieve Theosis it is imperative to seek the spiritual guidance of a true Elder. This statement implies that theosis is not possible or likely otherwise.
    As a lay person, I belong to a parish. This is the Body of Christ, the Church, the ark of my salvation. We have a pastor, our father confessor, who lovingly shepherds us to always follow Christ. He guides us,  prays with and for us. We confess our sins and He gives us help and direction. We have brothers and sisters in Christ who struggle together, pray together. 
    I don’t believe that our most merciful God allows us to ever lack anything that is necessary for our salvation or theosis. 
    I think there is a real danger in running here and there looking for a “true Elder”. If I cannot be faithful to the good guidance of my pastor, then I have plenty of work to do right where I am and no time to waste.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I’m not saying this has anything to do with anything, but I love the following story.

      Basil extended his hand to reveal a strange offering: a handful of raw beef. More suggestive was the timing. It was Lent, a time when Christians abstain from meat.

      “Why do you offer me meat? I am fasting like any other pious Christian!” the Czar replied. Many had been put to death for far less, but Ivan, too, revered Basil as a holy man. It was rumored he even feared him.

      “God prefers that you devour meat instead of innocents,” Basil stated simply.

      And with that, a frail, naked beggar reminded one of the most powerful men in the world that he was not above God’s law. We don’t know exactly what practical effect this rebuke had on the monarch or his treatment of his subjects. Legends tell of a repentant Czar, but it’s hard to know for sure what resulted. The Czar was unpredictable in his own right, often vacillating between repentance and cruelty, himself the victim of a traumatic childhood.”

      If nothing else, it teaches us humility.

    • Sage-Girl says

      ?Hey Tanya:

      It’s obviously edifying for you just going to church etc., wonderful to hear (especially when so many parishioners keep leaving church), but for some of us, it’s Not enough — we’re all different: what works for you cannot work for others. Maybe that’s why monastics leave the world, while rest of us stick around …

      ?I’ll share a story from Saint Elder Paisios:
      ”There was a married man in America, an Orthodox with children, who rarely went to church; his wife left him the children for a dissolute life; she lost her mind, became a prostitute … he tried to bring her back but she was adamant; the man wept and prayed nonstop. One night he got on his knees, broke down in tears asking God what to do — all of a sudden the roof disappeared – Light filled the room, the uncreated Light of God descended upon him in its glory! He was changed – he heard of wrote to the Saint on Mount Athos. Elder Paisios invited him to see him and declared thereafter: “Not even monks or nuns receive such light, yet a worldly married man, who rarely went to church, was deemed
      worthy for his heart”?

      • Sage girl, lovely story, but not seeing how it connects to the topic of elders. You rightly say  we are all different. But you also say that it’s obviously edifying for me just to go to church but that for some (you) it is not enough. Can’t you see how insulting this is? Can’t you see how you minimize others when you say these things? 

        • Sage-Girl says

          the Elder Paisios story is to remind us not to get stuck on what external form our individual spiritual walk takes … that married man who was granted to see Uncreated Light of God clearly shows despite his rarely attending church, despite his not having an Elder, he still had a massive mystical experience that not even most monastics reach …
          So I’m now saying, in the end, though I encourage most Orthodox to seek an Elder or Eldress, perhaps it’s not necessarily so as it certainly wasn’t for that blessed married man. 

  9. Michael Bauman says

    Basil, I wholly agree with you… 

  10. Michael Bauman says

    Sage-Girl, it may be sad and if you have found one, that is wonderful.  But if my salvation is dependent on finding an elder, I will not be saved.  They are in very short supply in Wichita, Ks.  
    What I do have is a faithful and wise priest, an exceptional Bishop and a strong worshipping community within whom I am the least.  I have a loving wife who was brought to me by God. I was granted the witness if seeing my late wife be taken by our Lord during the celebration of His Resurrection in 2004 about 40 days after she reposed surrounded by my priest and other members of our community singing and interceding for her soul.  She never had an elder.  She was, in fact, estranged from the Church due to health reasons and the actions of a seriously defective priest in our first parish.  Yet, there she was, being lifted up with our Lord.   
    My living wife, not yet in the Church at the time, had to suffer watching her husband die and agonizing death after failed heart surgery.  She did a believer’s Baptism and he was conscious enough to decide whether he wanted to stay or go. He died shortly thereafter. 
    You can think if you want that my late wife and my living wife’s late husband are not saved because they did not have an elder.  
    I can only say to you what Hamlet said to Horatio: “There is more in heaven and earth than is dreamt of in your philosophy”.
    What sets us apart from everyone else is the intimate availability of our Lord through living a Sacramental life and calling on His mercy when we sink… As we most assuredly going to do. 
    I find you to be a faithul Christian and that is a wonderful thing.  But, as my Godfather told me… “There is always more”
    I have no doubt your blessings will exceed mine.  

    • Michael Bauman,
      What you have written to Sage-Girl is correct.  It is also what makes Orthodoxy beautiful and True. We are on different paths, yet the journey’s final destination is the same for all. Some have visions, some don’t. Some have heavy crosses, some don’t. What is important is to choose what within Orthodoxy keeps one on the mark towards Christ, and Theosis. Monks and elders are not for all as spiritual fathers, but for some the awakening that comes from their direction is as the great  as the visions you have experienced. 
      I know Orthodox Christians in my circle/family who  some considered saints(memory eternal)who rarely attended Church services, yet would give their last crumb, some militant in attendance and fasting, yet quite selfish and some who fell short in all ways, but their Faith in Christ are all the same, regardless of their shortcomings. The mysteries of Orthodoxy, and the Mercy of Christ, not to mention miracles, and signs, is what keeps me from going solo(without any religion). Many in the Church are corrupt, even evil, but His Mercy and His Church, His Truth is spotless. We all must learn forgiveness, as we pray for our own. Our Truth cometh, be ready to act upon it…
      However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell things to come.(John 16:13)

      • Sage-Girl says

        Yes you said it: ” Many in the church are corrupt, even evil …”  And this turns a lot of us off from trusting in the church. But thanks for quote at bottom of your post. It really helps … after all, the church is the bride of Christ ?

        • Sage-Girl,
          Our truth and His Truth, are almost always in contradiction. I believe we only understand(accept) bits and pieces, to help us along the path, and not stray away too far.  At our repose we will be surprised the difference between our worldly “truth” and His, most likely shocked and ashamed, how far apart we are. 
          So far as the corrupt and evil in our Church, we must accept it. It will always be there till the end of time. Carefully, very carefully, expose it, only if without a doubt guilt is 100%, and again still verify. Not rushing to judgment.  Nothing worse than accusing an innocent person. Something today, that is happening, more and more.
          Most can’t handle the level of truth given to us by monastics. All respect to non monastic clergy, but living in this world, as compared to the monastic world are night and day. To forgive others is key, and remaining in the Orthodox Church, and receiving His Body, and Blood, key, at least for me, a spiritually weak person.

  11. Sage-Girl says

    ?Gail – I tried replying to your post way above here but found no ‘Reply’ feature on your post where you describe your late mother in law the witch? That’s some story!  Hilarious and that cat! Oh the Tarot cards — so funny; long ago I too learned symbols of Tarot when I studied C.G. Jung psychology; he used Tarot in therapy. I recall once bringing Tarot to lunch + asked my platonic man friend, an atheist, to pick a card; he scoffed + said he didn’t believe that stuff, but picked one anyway — he picked the Devil card!
    Years later I heard he was murdered in his own home by a business partner!!  Then when I returned to the church, my priest Fr. John gave a talk asking us if anyone played with those cards to come + give them to him to destroy. So next night at our bible class I gave him my old deck of Tarot + also let him pick a card… he picked the Hierophant!!
    Gail you know exactly what that means! lol?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Tarot cards are laid out in a specific configuration where each card represents a different aspect of the person’s life. The devil card generally means you’re materialistic. Even the death card doesn’t necessarily mean death. It can mean a dramatic lifestyle change or something like that depending upon the position. It also matters whether the cards are right side up or upside down. Also, the person for whom the cards are being read impact the meaning. – I definitely would not be able to tell you what the Hierophant card means in a “pick a card” game. I haven’t played around with them for decades.

      Just out of curiosity, why would a priest who believes these cards are so dangerous they should be confiscated, want to play a “pick a card” game?

      My mother-in-law being a witch and that spirit cat are definitely not funny. I cannot think of a single thing that is LESS funny than what I described. I did tell you someone close to me, a family friend of 40 years, almost died because of all this, right?

      I don’t think Jung got very far with tarot cards but I wouldn’t know. https://marykgreer.com/2008/03/31/carl-jung-and-tarot/

      • Ok, I’m calling shenanigans.

      • Sage-Girl says

        Back then at Jungian Institute I bought a book on Tarot – it was on Archetypal symbols by Jung – unless it was written by another Jungian analyst — anyway I found it at the time fascinating 

      • Sage-Girl says

        Gail – but that “devil card” my friend picked from Tarot deck can indeed mean evil – destruction … + that’s exactly what befell him.  BTW: I understood the Celtic spread but I also used One Card pick.
        p.s. I tried for years to evangelize my murdered friend; he was an atheist with good heart but kept unholy company + it was the death of him. So his picking that devil card was synchronistic describing his mindset as C.G. Jung coined it. Oh + despite what article says, I did hear at Institute that Jung used Tarot during therapy 

        • Gail Sheppard says

          It’s time to drop this. Respectfully, let’s move on.

          • Alleluia, Gail. Alleluia.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Sage-girl, Gail and I talked about this last night,  Discussions involving Tarot cards and other New Age/occult phenomena are not productive in the least.  Indeed, they can take the blog down paths that are deleterious for all involved. 

            We here in the Orthoblogosphere –all of us:  you, me, the guy behind the tree–have bigger fish to fry.   I ask that we all please concentrate our efforts on higher things. 😉 

  12. Sage-Girl says

    Geo/Gail, just for record:

    some posts lately are not in sequential order —

    some posts have no Reply feature to respond —
    so message gets lost having to respond 9 posts below it

    sometimes above the comment box ? there’s no display line [B for bold or I for italics] …
    *Just sayin

    • Gail Sheppard says

      You have to be more specific about what’s out of order.  

      You won’t see a “Reply” feature when you get too deep into a specific thread.  After 10 deep, there is no more room for a reply.

      If you move the bar on the right further up, you should see the box for bold, italicize, etc.

  13. Michael Bauman says

    At Liturgy this morning about half the congregation was children under five and it seemed like the mothers herding them were all in long dresses with simple white headscarves.  Each with a young husband next to them.  
    …and we are one of those “worldly” Antiochian parishes don’t you know.  

    • Sounds great. There’s hope for us all.
      I have found that all the “Antiochian” (read: American converts that attend an Arabic diocese) families that I have met have been very traditional: modest dress, homeschooling, many children, etc. It’s encouraging.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Michael, I for one never bought into the nonsense that the AOANA was more “worldly” than the GOA or OCA or whoever. The reality is that outside of the Old Calendarists, all of the canonical NC jurisdictions were on an equal footing regarding worldliness.

      Still, if I may, what you are experiencing, i.e. humble, Christ-like families, modestly dressed, etc., is a growing phenomenon over the past few years. If anything, COVID has accelerated this trend and will continue to do so. Seriously, the things I thought were important six months ago, things like pan-Orthodox unity, building projects, symposia, etc., are immaterial. Right now, the only thing that’s important is finding a godly priest and parish or falling short of that a good home-church situation. And hoping that the bishops won’t sell us down the river again.

      It’s not that “the end is nigh” but something has ended and I believe that that is worldly Churchianity.

      • You’re dead right, George. I’ve traveled quite a bit and have been to a number of OCA, GOA and AOCA parishes. A number of them were quite traditional while others somewhat whishy-washy. It’s quite the rolling of the dice. Everyone needs to find a home with a good priest and parish where they and their families can grow spiritually.

      • Michael Bauman says

        George are you aware that the OCA blesses parishes to follow the Old Calendar at times?  Fr. Moses and his parish in Missouri are on the Old Calendar.  They requested it when they were received.  

        • George Michalopulos says

          I didn’t know that.

        • And, most, if not all, of the OCA parishes in Alaska are on the Old Calendar, too. (At least they were a few years ago, unless something has changed.)

        • Can you imagine the challenges for a bishop that has a mix of both old and new calendar parishes? Where am I going to be today and what is today? Fast or feast? How to handle the changing flow?
          What a mess. Different calendars within my own family. Aarrrgh.

          • And no, today is not talk like a pirate day. Wait, let me check all of my calendars….

          • Michael Bauman says

            Tanya, most of the Old Calendar parishes in the OCA are small.  Theotokos Unexpected Joy which is Fr. Moses’ parish does not get many visits from the bishop.   BTW, Fr. Moses and Magdelena need your prayers.  Fr. Moses is going to have a second surgery om his amputated leg. First one not healing well and in a lot of pain.  

        • Joseph Lipper says

          I know of a number of OCA parishes on the Old Calendar. I’ve visited them in California, New York, Virginia, Washington D.C., even in Eastern Pennsylvania. Most of these were allowed to remain on the Old Calendar, but some of the newer parishes have made special requests at their inception, usually being slavic parishes that use liturgical slavonic. The OCA is not monolithic in this regard, and neither is Orthodoxy in general.

          It does cause some practical and logistical confusion though, and it’s hard to explain to someone outside of the church about the rationale for this calendar difference among the various Orthodox churches. The priest who baptized me years ago told me that Orthodoxy is one of the world’s most disorganized religions. If you have a problem with organized religion (like the Vatican), then maybe Orthodoxy is for you.