Father Tychon Athonite Russian ascetic of the Kapsala (Golenkov, 1884-1968)
He was completely bedridden by now, having lost whatever little bodily strength he had left. Since he could no longer get up to go to the Chapel of the Precious Cross, where he had celebrated with piety for so many years, he asked me to fetch the Cross from the Altar Table as a consolation. When he saw the Cross, his eyes glistened, and after kissing it with due reverence, he held it tightly in his hand with all the strength that was left in him. I had also tied a sprig of basil to the Cross and asked him:
“Does it smell nice, Elder?”
“Paradise, my son, smells a lot better.”
At the end of his account of his elder’s life, Elder Paisios appends the following ‘prayer of the elder, which he wrote with great pain and many tears’ and would send ‘to suffering souls in Russia as balsam from the Garden of the Most Holy Mother of God’ (p. 54):
Glory to Christ’s Golgotha
Godly Golgotha, sanctified with the blood of Christ!
We beg you, tell us how many thousands of sinners, by the grace of Christ, repentance and tears, you have cleansed and brought to fill up the Bridal Cahmber of Paradise?
Oh, with Your ineffable love, Christ our King, with Your grace, you have filled all the celestial palaces with repentant sinners.
You have mercy on those here below, too and save them. And who could render You worthy thanks, had he even the mind of an angel? Sinners, come quickly. Holy Golgotha is open and Christ is merciful.
Fall before Him and kiss His holy feet.
He alone, as the merciful one, can heal your wounds!
Oh, how happy we shall be when Christ the most merciful counts us worthy, with great humbleness, fear of God, and burning tears to wash His spotless feet and kiss them in love! Then Christ, the merciful, will be pleased to wash away our sins and will open unto us the gates of Paradise where, in great joy, together with the archangels and angles, the Cherubim and the Seraphim and all the saints, we shall glorify the Saviour of the world eternally, our most sweet Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, the Trinity Undivided and of One Essence.
Hieromonk Tychon, The Holy Mountain.
By Elder Paisios the Athonite, From the book Athonite Fathers and Athonite Matters)