SOULcast #163-Teachings from elders

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About the great Basil

One of the elders said that when St. Basil came to a church, after the proper teaching, he said to the abbot:

“Do you have a brother here to obey?”

“They are all your servants, and they are striving for salvation, my lord.”

“Do you have anyone who really listens?” He brought him a brother who served St. Basil at the table, and after the meal he poured them to wash his hands. And St. Basil said to him: “Come let me wash you, too.”

And he got him to pour water on her. Then he said to her:

“When I enter the sanctuary, come and make me your deacon.”

And in doing so, he made him a priest and took him with him to the episcopate for his obedience.

Keywords: Saint Basil

1 Avva Dulás, the disciple of Avva Visarion, said: as we were walking on the beach, I was thirsty and I said to Avva Visarion: avvo, I am thirsty. And he said to me, ‘Drink from the sea.’ And the water softened and I drank. I also filled the vessel so that I would not be thirsty even later. Seeing the old man, he said to me: – What are you doing? “Forgive me, lest I be thirsty later.” And the old man said: “God here and God everywhere.”

2 Another time when he needed to, he prayed and crossed the Hryssóroas River on foot, and so on. Wondering and apologizing, I asked him: – How did you feel walking on the water? – I could feel the water up to my heel, the rest was hard.

3 Another time, going to an old man again, the sun went down at dusk. And the old man prayed, saying, Lord, I beseech thee, shut up the sun, until I come to thy servant. And so it was.

4 Another time I came to his cell and found him standing in prayer, with his hands outstretched to the sky; and he did so for fourteen days, and afterward he called to me and said, Come with me. And I went into the wilderness. Because I was thirsty, I said: avvo, I’m thirsty. He took my coat and went like a stone’s throw; praying he brought it to me full of water. Going on we came to a cave, where we entered, finding a brother seated and making a rope, who neither turned to us, nor greeted us, nor did he want to talk to us. The old man said to me: get out of here. Now the old man is not convinced that it is good for him to talk to us. We traveled to Lykó until we reached Abba John, whom I greeted by praying. Then they sat down to talk about a vision he had had. And Abba Visarion said that the commandment came out34 (apophasis, possibly also “discovery”, revelation. The meaning is probably “it was revealed to him that a commandment will be given”). pagans.) to demolish pagan temples. And so it was, they were torn down. On the way back, I went to the cave where I had seen my brother. And the old man said to me: let’s go to him, God didn’t tell him that he could talk to us. When I entered, I found it perfect. The old man said to me: Come on, brother, let’s bury his body; that’s why God sent us here. And wrapping him up to bury him, we discovered that she had been a woman. The old man marveled and said, “This is how women overcome Satan, and we in the cities are ashamed.” Then, praising God, the defender of those who love Him, I left.

5 Once a devil came to Sketis and even prayed for him in the church and the demon did not come out, being stubborn. The clergy said, “What shall we do to this demon?” No one can drive him away except Abba Visarion; but if we call him, he doesn’t come to church either. We do this: as he comes to church at dawn before everyone else, we put the sufferer to sleep in his place. And when he comes, let’s sit in prayer and say, “Wake up, brother, avvo.” So they did, and when the old man came early in the morning, they stood and prayed, saying, “Wake up my brother!” The old man said to him: Get up and go out. And immediately the demon came out of him, and was healed from that hour.

6 Avva Visarion said: I spent forty days and nights standing between thorns, without sleeping.

7 A brother who had made a mistake was removed from the church by the priest. Abba Visarion stood up and went out with him, saying: I am also a sinner.

8 Abba Visarion also said: For forty years I did not lie down, but slept on a chair or standing.

9 He also said: when you are at peace and do not fight, then humble yourself more, lest, when joy comes from without, we should boast and be given to the fight again. For often God for our weakness and helplessness does not allow us to be confronted, lest we perish.

10 A brother who lived with others asked Abba Visarion: What should I do? And he said unto her, Hold thy peace, and compare thyself with the rest.

11 Abba Visarion said when he was about to die: the monk falls to be like cherubim and seraphim, only eyes.

12 Abba Visarion’s disciples said that his life had been like that of a bird in the air, a fish in water, or a animal on land, undisturbed and carefree. He had neither the care of the house, nor the desire to own a place, nor the lust for tasty things, nor the building of houses or the gathering of books. But he showed himself completely free from the passions of the body, nourished by the hope of the future, strengthened in the city of faith, endured all like a man caught in war, here and there, always naked in the cold, burned by the flame of the sun, always on outside. He wandered through the precipices of the wilderness, and liked to be carried often into the depths of uninhabited dust, as if by the sea. If he happened to come to tame places, where monks led public life, he wept sitting in front of the gates, and mourned like a shipwrecked man on the shores. Then, if any of the brothers came out and got him he found himself sitting like a beggar among the poor lay people, he said to him with pity as he approached: why are you crying, man? if you lack any of the necessities, go to great lengths, just go in and divide our table, you will only be comforted. And he replied that he could not stay under the roof, “until I find the fortune of my house,” saying that he had lost many fortunes of all kinds. – That I fell into the hands of pirates and my ship broke, I fell from my rank, becoming insignificant as I had been. The one who, moved by these words, came in and took a loaf of bread, gave it to him, saying: take this, father; the other God, as you say, will return to you, the land and the people and the wealth of which you have spoken. Then he creaked with even bigger groans, shouting: I don’t know if I could find the lost ones; but I rejoice all the more, always endangering myself to death, having no rest because of my immeasurable troubles. For I must wander tirelessly in order to finish my run.

Keywords: Abba Visarion

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