Elder Joseph of Vatopedi on the life and personality of Abbess Taisia
Our Church, with its rich patristic tradition, is not devoid of examples and stories on spiritual matters in order to coach its people. Both our Fathers and the martyrs have left abundant material of remarkable splendor which refers to their life stories. Their sweet smelling words and their teachings have drawn the luminous trail for the salvation of those who would like to take the narrow and steep path which leads to the Kingdom of God.
However, the enormousness of our Lord Jesus Christ’s godlike might, which is the same “yesterday and today and to all Eternity” continues, not just those days but also today and until the end of times, to promote the spiritual stature of the heroes of our faith. This is something which is very consoling and encouraging for our generation.
To the dismay of humanism and of those attitudes which deny everything, and are invented by our enemy, our living, fructified Church, endlessly promotes the splendid achievements of its children, even nowadays, not just in our tiny country but in all Orthodoxy.
The present story is a living testimony in the tradition of the sister Russian Church, which is fighting the good struggle of faith in accordance with the exact line of our holy tradition.
Abbess Taisia’s biography seems to be a bright and worthy of imitation example of vividness and rhythm to those who would like to copy her cross-carrying model. Of course it does not refer to anything new, simply because there is nothing new. But it seals our holy tradition with confidence and evaluates the merits and the contributions that our Holy Monasteries make to history.
Her special personality with the cohabiting Divine Grace even from an early age is the main element which has contributed to her success in spiritual life. The presence of spiritual Elders in her life has also become the strong weapon and means with which she used to accomplish her significant mission.
Assisted by her personality, which was steady and decisive, she managed to correctly evaluate the power of faith. Thus everything was becoming possible and achievable, even at the times when all conspired to the contrary. If however the saying that “everything is possible to those who believe” is true, then it was not possible for this blessed soul, which was dressed in the garment of faith, to be disappointed.
Indeed! How much can faith achieve if it is connected to prayer! It is true that faith and prayer, like wings, can raise the struggler beyond the laws of nature. This blessed sister has handed over herself to the realm of submission and obedience with true self- denial. The resulting deadening of her former self, granted her perseverance and patience in the face of various tribulations, since according to our Lord “it is impossible for calamities not to occur”.
The blessed deadening and suppression of her passions and especially of the monstrous selfishness, by persevering in the various temptations, have provoked quietude of thoughts and the blessed hope. Thus, divine love, through its double energy towards God and towards our fellow humans, granted this blessed Abbess the virtue to constantly sacrifice herself for the sake of others.
The brilliant achievements of this blessed soul are so timely and instructive, that I believe that ,with her blessing, she will be able to console well into the future all the faithful souls and especially the most pious ones, who have discerned the futility of this world.
Elder Joseph monk.
Vatopedi monastery 11 October 1991.
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