In our own days, knowledge has increased, but unfortunately logic has shaken people’s faith from the foundations and filled their souls with questions and doubts. So it is only natural that we should be deprived of miracles, because miracles are experienced and cannot be explained by logic. The simplicity of fathers in the ‘Garden of the Mother of God’ (Mt Athos) drew God-fearing people like bees and nourished them, while, they, in turn transmitted this spiritual blessing to others for their benefit. Wherever you went, very simple stories of miracles and heavenly events were heard, because the fathers considered them perfectly natural.

When I was a beginner at a Monastery on Mount Athos, I was told by the God-fearing Elder Dorotheos than an elder of great simplicity used to come to help at the monastery infirmary. He, who was so simple, thought the “Ascension”, the feast which the monastery celebrates, was a great female Saint (e.g. Saint Barbara). When he prayed with his prayer rope he used to say, “Saint of God, intercede for us!”

One, day a sickly brother had arrived in the infirmary and since there wasn’t any nutritious food there, the elder hurried down the steps leading to the cellar, opened a window overlooking the sea, stretched his arms out and said, “Ascension, my Saint, please give me a little fish for my brother.” Immediately a large fish jumped out of the sea and into his hands. The others who saw him were astonished, but he simply looked at them smiling, as if he were saying “What’s so strange about what you’ve just seen?” And then look at us. We may know everything about the life and martyrdom of the Saints, or about when and how the Ascension took place and yet, we cannot even catch a tiny little fish!

These are the strange and paradoxical things of the spiritual life, which the reasoning of intellectuals that are centred on themselves and not on God, cannot explain, because their knowledge is of this world and sterile; their spirit is ill with secularism and their mind void of the Holy Spirit.

Athonite Fathers and Athonite Matters & Spiritual Counsels, Volume 1: With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man by Elder Paisios of Mount Athos (Holy Monastery “Evangelist John the Theologian”)

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