Elder Paisios and the Paralysed Man
A paralysed man named Constantine visited Mount Athos in 1981. He had been suffering from a chronic neurological syndrome for 30 years which confined him to a wheelchair. At the Monastery of Grigoriou, he met a rich businessman who offered to pay for him to be operated on in America. Constantine became very excited at the idea of being healed but he went to ask Elder Paisios for his opinion.
He met the Elder at Karyes and spoke to him about this situation. The Elder crossed his head with the relics of St Arsenios of Cappadocia. The following is the account of Constantine himself of what happened next:
“Then he grabbed my puny, paralysed legs. Kissing them, he said, ‘These little legs – they’re going to take you to paradise, and you don’t realise it.’ And then he added, ‘Don’t go to America – they’ll make you a guinea pig!’ Then, he looked me in the eye and said, ‘Get up so we can take a walk.’ I thought he was joking. He said it again: ‘Come on – are you getting up or what?’
He took me in his arms, helped me off the bed, and we began walking. He was praying with tears in his eyes, saying something I couldn’t make out. I felt like I had wings, and, seeing myself standing, I started weeping from emotion.
Finally, he set me down in my wheelchair, sat next to me, and said, ‘Listen, my child – God doesn’t want you to get better ever. In fact, you’ll get worse. But you should know that the people who surround and serve you are all being saved without realising it – they help, and they’re helped. You become a means for the salvation of their souls. This is what God is asking from you.’”
Source: Elder Paisios of Mount Athos, by Hieromonk Isaac, pages 607 – 608.
Source: April– May 2014 Lychnos Edition