The Wise and Courageous Metropolitan Paisios II of Caesarea (1776-1871), the Spiritual Predecessor of Saint Arsenios of Cappadocia

Paisios was born in Farasa of Cappadocia in 1776 or 1777. In 1804 he grew to become abbot of the Honorable Forerunner Monastery in Flaviana (Zincidere) and a teacher of the School for Priests (Seminary). He helped the Ecumenical Patriarchate in very unhealthy occasions. He fought zealously to forestall proselytizing actions towards the Romans, noticed to the development or restore of temples, based faculties, orphanages and ladies’ faculties.The head village of Cappadocia was the saint-bearing Varasos, higher often known as Farasa, which was the birthplace of two nice Saints of the Church, Saint Arsenios of Cappadocia and his religious successor Saint Paisios the Athonite. And, as Mr. Lazaros M. Kelekidis writes in his guide “Farasa of Cappadocia”, it was Saint Paisios who made Farasa identified and due to him the entire world discovered that there within the depths of the East, there was a spring of inexhaustible Roman Orthodox spirituality, a beacon that shone with the unfading gentle of Orthodoxy.

In the nineteenth century, Farasa additionally produced one other essential ecclesiastical determine, a Hierarch of the Ecumenical Throne not notably identified these days, whose braveness, prudence and religion enormously helped his flock in Cappadocia, but in addition the Ecumenical Patriarchate in notably unhealthy occasions. This was Metropolitan Paisios II of Caesarea.

Son of the priest and teacher Papa-Anastasios Kepoglou, he was born in Farasa in 1776 (or 1777) and acquired the secular title Peter. His preliminary training was taught by his father, who, when Peter turned 16, took him to the Monastery of the Honorable Forerunner in Flaviana (Zincidere), the place he continued his research “on the toes” of Abbot Germanos, the sensible teacher, which his scholar later known as “the sunshine of the East”.

Flaviana (Zincidere) is a city that’s 15 km from Caesarea. Until 1922 there was a quite a few Greek (Roman) Community, whereas close to it was the Sacred Monastery of the Honorable Forerunner, seat of the present Metropolitan of Caesarea. On August 29, an excellent Christian competition was held within the Monastery.

The Monastery additionally housed the Flaviana School for Priests (Flaviana Seminary), the one one in the entire of Asia Minor. The School was compelled to droop its operation for monetary causes. However, due to a fervent patriot, the Chios service provider Theodoros Rodokanakis, it operated and not using a drawback from 1882 to 1916, and was renamed the “Rodokanakio Seminary”.

The Monastery of Flaviana is described by G. Askitopoulos in his memoir in regards to the Monastery of the Honorable Forerunner in Flaviana as follows: “The well-known and historic Monastery of the Forerunner in Flaviana was two hours away from Caesarea, 9 hundred and ninety-four kilometers from Constantinople, and is situated in a fertile and picturesque place, which is surrounded by vines and gardens and is bathed by steady waters, coming from the Argeas. Because of its good, wholesome and funky location, this Monastery turns into the summer time residence of the inhabitants of your entire surrounding nation yearly. The Flaviana Monastery grew to become well-known, as a result of inside its environment the tutorial and philanthropic institutions of Cappadocia have been concentrated in 4 splendid and imposing palaces, erected due to the courageous contribution of not solely the wealthy kids, but in addition due to the contribution of the philanthropic inhabitants of the East and serving as orphanages for each sexes, a highschool, a central ladies’ faculty and a faculty for academics.” In the identical guide, G. Askitopoulos doesn’t disguise his respect and admiration for Metropolitan Paisios II, referring to him with the phrases: “The nice and skillful helmsman of the Church of Caesarea Paisios.”

Two years later, Peter acquired the monastic schema, and was renamed Paisios, whereas in 1804 he grew to become abbot of the Monastery and a teacher of the School. In 1832 the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate elected Paisios Metropolitan of Caesarea, most-honorable of the most-honorable and exarch of all of the East.

In the Patriarchal Seal of his election (below Patriarch Constantine) he’s described as “God-revering, simply, outwardly educated and inwardly well-educated, adorned in deed and speech as a lot as doable”. This description doesn’t exaggerate within the slightest.

His pastoral and charitable work was huge. Outside the Flaviana Monastery there have been at all times sacks of bread leavened by the monks, meant for poor passers-by. He fought zealously to forestall the proselytizing motion of the Papal and Protestant missionaries who have been attempting to seduce the Romans, whereas he took care to construct or restore the temples, to determine orphanages, faculties and ladies’ faculties, to publish books, to nominate academics. There are additionally references to his written work, nevertheless it must be researched in archives and libraries. Where his contribution proved notably essential, nonetheless, was in fixing the troublesome issues that the Patriarchate confronted every so often, both with the Ottoman state authorities, or with the heterodox communities of the state.

The Patriarchate selected in nearly each troublesome scenario to ship Paisios to signify it to the Sultan. And this, each due to his prudence and knowledge, for which the Turks additionally revered him, and plenty of issues have been solved due to his recommendation, but in addition due to his braveness, a braveness that was really stunning. Saint Paisios the Athonite mentions a typical element: when some sophisticated drawback was to be mentioned, he would come earlier than the sultan with a rope tied round his waist. He was, says the Saint, decided to be hanged by the Turks, it was as if he was scary the sultan, saying to him: “Don’t search for a rope and be a idiot; if you wish to dangle me, I’ve the rope prepared.”

A attribute incident the place the prudence of the Metropolitan solved a significant issue of the Patriarchate, was the dispute that arose with the Armenians over the cemeteries of Baloukli. The Armenians claimed it as theirs, having even secured the assist of the Grand Vizier, however the Greeks (Romans) insisted it was theirs.

The Sultan, not eager to displease the Vizier, however neither the Patriarch, discovered himself at an deadlock. So he requested the Romans if there was anybody amongst them who may say with certainty to whom the cemeteries belonged. The Romans informed him about Paisios, nonetheless clarifying that his superior age didn’t permit him to make such a journey. Then the Sultan ordered him to be conveyed in his private carriage, which was finished. The Sultan informed him that he had been knowledgeable of his knowledge by all, and requested him if he knew to whom the cemeteries of Baloukli actually belonged, since both sides claimed that they belonged to it.

Instead of one other reply, the prudent Hierarch answered him with a parable: A sure father had a big property with gardens, however as soon as he was killed by robbers, they seized his property and threw his orphans on the road. “So, in response to the legislation of the Koran, polychronemene,” he completed, “in an effort to do justice, do not you assume the property ought to be returned to the rightful heirs?” “Certainly,” replied the Sultan. “The property have to be given to the orphans and those that grabbed it have to be punished.” “Do you consider that?” the Metropolitan requested him. “Of course I consider so,” replied the Sultan. “So are you able to write it and provides it to me, sealed along with your royal seal?” The sultan agreed and did what Paisios requested, who requested that the sultan’s advisors additionally signal, which was finished.

As quickly because the previous Metropolitan took the firman in his palms, he boldly mentioned to the Sultan: “With this paper, polychronemene, you grant me all that your ancestors seized by pressure from my ancestors: the City and all of Asia Minor, from finish to finish!” The sultan was shook, shocked and enraged, however the courageous Hierarch calmly reassured him. “You’re not proper to fret. I’m very previous, I do not even have the energy, and I’m on their lonesome within the palace. So I am unable to harm you. Take again your bull, then, and order that Baloukli be given to the Romans, as a result of it belongs to them. All this was Roman.” The Sultan admired the previous man’s knowledge and braveness.

Thus the sultan ordered that Baloukli be given to the Patriarchate and ordered that Paisios be taken again to his Metropolis within the royal carriage and with all of the honors.

Saint Arsenios, his Spiritual Successor

Paisios II fell asleep in 1871, at a really previous age. He was buried within the narthex of the Church of the Honorable Forerunner of the Flaviana Monastery and plenty of known as him “Great”, for his work and his knowledge.

He had ordained as a deacon his relative the hieromonk Arsenios, our well-known nice Saint, the predecessor of Saint Paisios the Athonite, and despatched him to Farasa, which he had by no means forgotten.

According to the testimony of an previous man from Farasa, quoted by Lazaros M. Kelekidis in his guide “Farasa of Cappadocia”, about Metropolitan Paisios the older individuals mentioned that he was the good father and advisor of the individuals of Farasa, till Saint Arsenios got here to Farasa.

When he despatched him, Metropolitan Paisios was already superior in age. And the previous individuals of Farasa unanimously admit that he made probably the most appropriate selection. He despatched to Farasa a worthy shepherd, who lived an ascetic life and reached a full measure of sanctity.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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