This year marks 23 years since the death of Elder Paisios of Mount Athos and 40 years since he visited Australia. To honour his memory, St George Church in Thebarton, SA has scheduled a series of events for Tuesday 11 and Wednesday 12 July.
“Elder Paisios visited Australia in 1977 after a formal invitation was extended to him by His Grace Archbishop Stylianos and was accompanied by theologian and later the Abbot (Ηγούμενος) of the Iveron Monastery of Mount Athos and Archimandrite, Vasilios Gontikakis,” says Very Rev Diogenis Patsouris ΟΑΜ and director of Saint George Greek College, in an interview with Neos Kosmos.
“Personally, I was truly moved by his humility and peacefulness which was reflected onto his face,” says Rev Diogenis, who extends an invitation to everyone to attend the special events to honour Paisios’ life.
Approximately a year ago, a Greek family from Adelaide donated a significant amount of money towards the erection of a shrine to house the religious icon of St Paisios, which is now in St George Church.
Elder Paisios (Arsenios Eznepidis) originated from Pharasa, Cappadocia of Asia Minor and was one of eight children in his family. Soon after completing his military service, young Arsenios went to Mouth Athos for the first time and showed incredible dedication and interest towards the Greek Orthodox religion and according to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople scripts, Paisios contributed significantly towards the revival of monastic living, which was witnessing a severe decline during the 1960’s.
Paisios was unanimously accepted by the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church and was canonised on 13 January 2015 by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He is now known as Saint Paisios and is included in the Greek Orthodox Church Hagiology.
Saint Paisio , who passed away in July 1994 from metastatic pancreatic cancer, was well-respected for the spiritual guidance he offered to people who visited him. He is also widely known for a number of controversial political statements and prophecies that are still referred to.
Elder Paisios in Australia
According to webpage fanarionblogspot.com Archbishop Stylianos had a high regard for Paisios due to his deep spirituality and he instigated the monk’s visit to Australia. Paisios’ visit Down Under didn’t attract much attention, mainly because the monk was not widely known to the general public at that time. Nevertheless, Archbishop Stylianos visited Paisios at Mouth Athos often and the two used to discuss spirituality and various other religious matters.
“Saint Paisios also had immense respect for Archbishop Stylianos, therefore, he accepted his invitation to visit Australia where he expressed an interest in becoming a monk in Australia at a monastery that he suggested be built between Sydney and Canberra. After his suggestion, Archbishop Stylianos established monasticism in Australia.
“We have been blessed to have been touched by Paisios’ great presence in Australia,” concluded Rev Patsouris.