Ascetics in the World – Volume 1
English Translation by Fr. Nicholas Palis
Published by Saint Nicodemos Publications
Asceticism involves self-denial. It means to struggle against physical and spiritual temptations in order to grow closer to God. We often think of the ascetics as hermits and as monastics, living alone in deserts and caves and as people who achieved sainthood because of their great struggles. However, Ascetics in the World shows us the lives of mothers and fathers, priests and workers who lived in the world, yet were able to grow so close to God through their daily sacrifices that they even performed miracles.
The book consists of 45 different stories from around Greece. One particular story focuses on a close friend of St Paisios. Her name was Keri Pareti, and her story is in the final chapter. Keri Pareti was born in 1921 in Konitsa, Greece. As a young child she loved the Divine Liturgy so much that she would sneak out of school to go to church services. She was captured by the Italians during WII, and when she was freed after the war she worked for free at an orphanage in Konitsa. Her daily asceticism was to go to the Divine Liturgy each day, even if she had to miss out on her nightly sleep in order to walk to the nearest church that was holding a service.
The book describes many miracles that allowed her to experience the Liturgy daily. Her love for God and His worship was so great that He gave her divine grace to continue her struggle. St Paisios called her a blessed soul and considered her his genuine spiritual sister. In a letter that he wrote to an acquaintance he said, “Keri, according to me, is a Saint.” This book is full of amazing stories which inspire us in our daily struggle to live as ascetics in the hope of also receiving the Grace of God.
Source: Lychnos April – May 2019