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Vol. 9 No.

12 August 2010

13

Confessing before Elder Paisie (Olaru)


Itc grcd rcrum d ttE fursian dk Sdrenast*irsrdite R*dus (Oau) (1SS/- 1gr) rcsJted preicdly ftonr Hs sfir.qggle b live in Gority in redrc' dndicity, ild lrrrili$. A m rrihr tns str4 'Ore annct sqy trecirdy ntlt tfe spaif ic gift d Fds Fdsius is tb de nca vtluk rirdes I'b dG not geacfr; 1D dr tE tndd lim predr- in cfrrrtr l*iUEr is tc a good dtarftt; a a deffi he is nct gifted. . - Ard yEf, he tre son:firB u*icfr c{he, }b lre grae." Ard tis grre ffi ilur slds d tt fiiUfr'l b flod( b Hm fur orsd and orfrrt Hs drcd ard rmntdlisfred Hirgs stergnemd brsias, irr dulrg nBry d tle urfi/s gte* sddhd fdmrq dri4g the dak yeas d Gcrm,r*xn
grimages to Sihdstria Monastery and the Sihla Skete, together with my schoolmates and above all, with the ever-memorable Father and Professor Constantin

By Protosyngelos Constantin

Chirili

L too, met Father Paisie Olaru, during my pil-

hill to the right of the "Bisericuta dintr-r:n Lemn"


church. Just before I had arrived, a big storm had scatterred the visitors and pilgrims who had come to see the Father. I found him on the southern part of the place, in

Galeriu, such a brilliant guide in searching and discovering spiritual treasures.

) :-:: --i sr*;ies ai the School of Theolog;' in Bucharest, being advised by experts to read the sacred texts in their original language and in my effort to acquire as many languages as possible, at one point I got to an acute existential crisis, one that made
me question the meaning of my life. Tired, confused, I decided to do a complete

a small garden among the I got near, kissed his hand, asked for his blessin,-e, and entreated him rather abruptly to hear my
rocks.

confession. He told me straight on that it wasn't

possible.

got confused by his answer and then thought that

perhaps

I had not been polite and respectful enough

and that maybe we should


have talked for a while first

confession (starting with' my childhood) before the worthiest Spiritual Father I


have ever met, Father Paisie (Olaru).

and only afterwards should have asked him to hear my confession. So I tried to

make a bit of a conversation and then asked him again to hear my confes-

In one of my per-

sion. Again, Father Paisie


rejected me.

ther Archimandrite
Nicodim Sachelarie,
said

sonal discussions with Fa-

I made at least

attempts to convince him to hear my confession.

five

he

"

Father Paisie and


l.-= :; ;7'J ?'l

Father Paisie said "no"


every time.

-:

-; ): :

''

monis anii grea sprnruai volted, I asked hrm: " IIhy R*Se (OntD d Sllftia lre:r, confessor fathers. Many Ttt dG ffi fuimia (18s/-19)), dirvulrat sririhd f;fierad treslpna not?" In a deep voice, he others would do well to replied: "f cannot, because find something else to do." I om blind." His answer so I bought train tickets in Bucharest, to go to came like a thunderbolt upon me. I thought: "God, I Moldavia. Although I rushed to catch the train, I missed could not corry his cross", no longer being able to read it. Annoyed by the incident and full of impatience, I the sacred texts of the world in their original languages ! returned to the ticket desk and decided to take the next - to ffi, that would have been a fatal blow. I admitted train that was leaving Bucharest, even if I had to that I could not bear such a Cross - " Why did you give it tour around the entire Romania. So I took the next train, to your beloved apprentice, oh, God?" but well, it was which followed the route Brasov Ciceu Onesti none of my business. In any event, I was thinkAdjud - Bac6u - Piatra-Neamt, then I took the bus. I ing: better dead than blind. walked all the way up from Agapia to Sihla. I had writThe weight of his cross shook me. However, my ten down several letter-sized pages, in tiny handwriting, selfish obstinacy brought this thought to my mind: in order to make a confession that would be as detailed "well, in fact, what I want is for him to listen to ffi, as possible before the holy man. not see me". I thought that without saying it. Then he The Father lived in a small dwelling, up on the asked me: "Do you lvtow where the worst place is?" I

Discontent. distraught. re-

t4
where

The Voice

said no, I don't know. He said: "The worst place is I am." I asked him again to hear my confession.

ten in mv notes.

thought spread through my mind: "I wonder why the Father rejects me? After all, I'm a cultivated man; he's just a simple person." The next moment I was faced with an

Wound

up by his refusal, a

Once again. surprise. After he frnished the


prayers. Father Paisie started asking me about - and tellin-e me - m)' sins. in the order that I had written them on mv papers. I t'elt like I *-as catching fire. Storms of thoug:hts and emotions \\-ere srverving upon me. However a baC tht-rugh c'&me to mind: about a half an hour after the lath.er had started telling me my own sins, I said tr. i::1 s:l:: "l )27s;t Father Paisie is a holy man, but he ls ,t',: G.-.-i."

avalanche of questions: "Wat are you looking for, coming to me, a simple and uneducated man?" - the Father said. also calling me by my name -"llht' don't vou go to con-fess to and talk v'ith vour illusn'ious pro-fessors and guides - Father Staniloae. Father Galeriu and all rhe other onesl" I t'elt like I g'as in anLrther u'orld. in his presen"e. Spa"e. time. and the depth c-rf his u'crrcs *'oulC take .-rn neu'dimensions. as thev seemed to come trom another realm. Surprised again - this time b1' the fact that although I had not told him my name, where I was studying, and who my teachers were - I was amazed by the precision of the information he had given me. I looked around - saw no one else, no electric cable. neither a telephone one - let alone the fact that I had not shared u'ith an-vone m1'plans to go and confess to Father Paisie.

.\t :-rrs't. i :hc:iglt it u-as mere coincidence, that he _rust h.ar:ecsc ttr kitl\\' a lerr things about me but ther:. u-hen. -1-< :mutes mtc it. he s'as telling me word

tbr sr.rd ereryrhrng I had rrlnen u: m1'oun papers. I


sot almost resolted - that u'as just too muchl... \\'ith a sad voice. he told me: "-lf' dear son. nov why do you still doubt, even now?!' I understood then that it was me who was the blind one, the stupid one, the one with a heart like stone, the stubborn, the proud one and all the other things that he u'as accusin_e himself of rn order to help ze u'ake up to humiliq'. repentance. and tears. From that moment on. he changed his confession method. He told me u'hat u'as in my'mind, heart, and what was written in my papers. for almost three more hours. At one point, he stopped. as if irritated, upset by my silence but also in order to discreetly hide the gifts that were dwelling in him. and told me: "First you troubled me for one hour to listen to your confession - now sqv v'hat vott have to sq'." I replied: "Father, you told me etenthing I have nothing more to say." Then he called me like my mother used to call me as a child: then he told me the names of my parents, getarls r:gar,i.u:g even'one 's lit-e. Hundreds ar.c h.un'ired-r oi names. \\l,rch :::'aie :ne th-rrji that the most temble instirutions. *'hose spe.-t:ic _'\,-:' ',\'5 ;\-- J3cord the smallest detail in one's personal lile s'ere nere jokes compared to the overwhelming amount of information that Father Paisie gave me that day. The climax of my surprise was when he started tellin_e me about my future. too. He guided me through the u'av in u hich the histon' of St. Stephen the Great should be presented at the Puma \lonastery'. in order not to upset the political authorities. so hostile to the Church both back then and nou'. The moment he started sa1-ing the releasing (forgiveness) prayers, I felt like tastin,e the joys of

I understood then that he u'as a charismatic

Father.

that he kneu' everything. and that he had the gift of foresight from God. I insisted, once again, trying to make him look at me. "You know, Father, I am poor, I have made a great deal of effort to travel all the way up here for confession." He replied: "I lonw you missed your train in Bucharest. I lmow you have come here after taking a big detour through Brasov, Ciceu, Adjud, Bacdu, but - I cannot." And then it seemed to me like he was diverting our discussion, referring to how diffrcult it u'as to mor.e some rocks. I understood that u'hat he acrualll meant was the state of my heart. u'hich u'as like a stone ar:C that, in fact. he referred to the Prophet. \\'ho savs: "I;l rour hearts o.f stone be changed at lea-rl into heans at' .flesh, so that God can then renett them". The pou'er of his inner pra).'er u'as crushing the stone of m1- hardened
heart.

cclleagues. relatives. friends. teachers; their names, 3{3S. frrriSsions. significant details about them and
L1!h,3r

r:3n\

What a bitter taste caused by his refusal and my wounded ego alike. I decided to give it one more try. This time. he justified his refusal by saying: "I qnt a tenible person. so stubborn. and rcn' proud." I understood that he kept shou'rng me the mrrror of my inner life. I decided to give up. This thought came to my mind which said: "Sfop troubling this man of God. Stop wasting his prayer time. Kiss his hand, ask for his blessing, and go." No sooner had I finished thinking it, that Father Paisie surprised me again, by saying: "Now, my dear son, now I can hear your confes-

Heaven beforehand. I forgot evelvthing he told me about my future right away, but u'hen the events oc-

sion."
He took me by the hand, led me into his dwelling with tiny windows, put on his epitrachil and phelon, lit

a candle, and started saying the confession prayers by heart. In the meantime, I took out all my papers from my pocket, as I wanted to make a full confession. I was trying to catch a ray of light from the candle and the little window, to be able to read everything that I'd writ-

curred later on in my life, the Holy Father's words would come back to mind every time. They were like testimonies that took shape over time, across a span of almost 30 years, right down to details of mathematical precision that Father Paisie had told me about. Words cannot describe the reality and the deep joy I felt as Father Paisie was saying the forgiveness
prayer.