“Angels are a light for monastics, and monastics are a light for the world.”
Blessed is the life of those who dwell in the desert, winged as they are by divine eros.
Elder Tychon the Athonite-Russian ascetic of Kapsala
(a pure flower into the Garden of Our Most Holy Lady where he flourished, fragrant in his virtues)
The Russian ascetic, Father Tychon said, “God blesses with one hand in the morning the entire world, and uses both hands to bless the humble man. A humble person is above the whole world.”
As Elder Paisios writes, he celebrated spiritually every day with his rule of prayer which combined the mourning of the Cross and the brightness of the Resurrection, with his great ascesis and almost no human consolation in the hollow of Kaliagra where he gazed at heaven and lived the joys of Paradise with the angels and saints. When anyone asked him, ‘Do you live all alone in the desert?’ the elder would reply:
‘No, I live with the angels and archangels, with all the saints, with the Mother of God and with Christ.’
In 1968, he [Elder Tychon] had a presentiment of his death, because he continually referred to death. Even the little bodily strength remaining had now deserted him.
It was afternoon on the eve of the Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos, September 7, 1968 and three days later, on September 10, he rested in the Lord.
On the second to last day, the Elder said to me:
“Tomorrow I will die and I want you not to sleep, so that I can bless you.”
I felt really sorry for him that evening, because he tired himself out with his hand on my head all the time, for three hours, blessing me and embracing me for the last time. To express his gratitude for the little water I had given him in his last days, he said to me:
“My sweet Paisios, we will have love between us unto the ages of ages, my child. It is precious, our love. You will make your prayer here and I will make mine from heaven. I believe that God will have mercy on me, because being a monk for sixty years, my son, I was constantly saying: Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me.”
He also said:
“Now I will be celebrating in Paradise. You pray here and I will come and see you every year. If you come and live in this cell, it will be a joy to me, but whatever God wants, my son. I also have provisions for you, tinned food for three years,” and he pointed to six small tins of sardines next to him and another four tins of squid, which somebody had brought him a long time ago and had remained since then where the visitor had put them. (With me those tins would not have lasted even a week.)
The Elder again repeated:
“You and me, we will have precious love unto the ages of ages, and I will come every year and see you.” And all the while tears were streaming from his eyes.
Thus, his sanctified soul departed, leaving behind his body and a great emptiness. Of course, his departure left us with pain in our souls, because his very presence took away pain and imparted comfort. The elder will now visit us from heaven and will help us all the more. In any case, he himself promised he would: “I will come and see you every year.”
May the prayers of Father Tychon and all the known and unknown saints help us through the difficult times in which we live. Amen.