A Brotherly Dispute (from the Life of St. Paisios the Athonite)

I would like to tell about an episode, which reflects the monastic rules concerning the relationships of a monk with his relatives.

When Elder Paisios became a monk, from the very beginning he entrusted the care for his relatives to God. Every time someone of his brothers or sisters tried to come to his, he began to scold them. Of course, the elder loved all his relatives, and that great love was the very reason why he decided to let God care about them, but not himself.

When the elder came to the monastery of St. John the Theologian, his sister never missed an opportunity to come there and see him. She loved him very much and always worried about him. Sometimes she sewed clothes for him or just bought some and went to the monastery. At his turn, the elder handed out all the clothes she brought to him and never wore it. When his sister saw that he did not wear what she had brought she asked what he did with those clothes. The elder always answered that he handed it out as a blessing. He scolded her for frustration she felt when she found out that her brother had handed everything out. He even called her greedy, allegedly because she brought too little. Thus he tried to make her get tired and stop visiting him.

Once she came to the monastery of St. John the Theologian. When the elder saw her, he resented:
- What do you want again? Why are you here? Have I not told you that you stop coming?
- But why, father? – she replied. – How can I bother you? So many people come there! They are standing in queue, and I am standing with them, without no exceptions. And I have one more thing to say to you: I come there not for you, but for the sisters.

The elder answered her:
- I is better for you not to come at all, because you are tempting them.
- How can I tempt them?
- I tell them about absolute withdrawing from the world and that they should not maintain relations with their close people. Are you are always rolling around here. It will be fair if they ask me, “Then why do you meet with your sister all the time?” And I will not find any excuse for myself. This is why I am asking you not to come!

That was a real joy to observe such a brotherly dispute.

An excerpt from the book “Chosen Vessel”



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