The Monk Paisii of Khilendaria

Commemorated on June 19

      The Monk Paisii of Khilendaria was born in the year 1722 in Bansko into a pious family. One brother of the monk Lavrentii, was hegumen of Khilendaria Monastery, and another was noted as a generous benefactor of Orthodox temples and monasteries. But the Monk Paisii himself went through his obedience at Ryl'sk Monastery. In 1745 at age 23, Saint Paisii went across to his brother in the Khilendaria Monastery on Mount Athos, where he took monastic vows. On the Holy Mountain the ascetic matured spiritually; he deeply studied Holy Scripture and he was vouchsafed the priestly dignity. In the year 1762 the Monk Paisii wrote: "The History of the Slavo-Bulgarians" a book, upholding the Christian faith and awakening the national self-awareness of the subjugated Bulgarian nation. Amidst the darkness of foreign oppression the monk again re-kindled the lamp of Orthodoxy, lit formerly by the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Kirill and Methodios (Comm. 11 May). The time and place of the blessed end of the monk from that time is unknown. On 26 June 1962 the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church under the presiding of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and with the participation of all Their Eminences the Metropolitans, expressing indebtedness to the merit of Saint Paisii before Church and native-country, made decree to venerate Paisii of Khilendarsk and Bulgaria in the rank of monastic saints and it directed that celebration of his memory be made on 19 June, "when, according to the universal-Orthodox Mesyatseslov / Saints-Kalendar, there is celebrated the memory of the Monk Paisias the Great". The name of Saint Paisii is borne by a state university in Plovdiv and many institutes and schools in other cities and villages of Bulgaria, which testifies to the deep veneration of the ascetic by the Bulgarian nation.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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