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How St Paisios of Mt Athos dealt with a youth suffering from homosexual desires

“The following is an account regarding how St Paisios handled the issue of homosexuality at one point in his life. This story was told by his spiritual child, Metropolitan Athanasios Lemesol, who witnessed this first-hand.

There was once a young man who struggled greatly with the passion of homosexuality. He tried everything he could to stop doing this sin, but he was unable. In many attempts to help the man, his father took him to many priests, therapists in order to find some advice that would help him. Nothing was able however to change the man. One day, he and his father decided to visit the Holy Mountain to see if they could receive some helpful advice from one of the elders there.

During his visit, the man went to a large monastery and got some advice from the elder there, but he was not satisfied with the advice. As he and his father were waiting for the boat to arrive to leave the Holy Mountain, the young man began to cry a great deal leaving the monastery feeling like the visit was a failure and he would never be saved.

A monk who was around the dock at the same time noticed the young man and his father in distress and approached them saying, “My friend, what’s wrong? Why are you so upset?” The man explained his problem to Father Athanasios, and Father Athanasios told him, “Come with me. Let’s go see my Elder. Maybe he’ll be able to help you.”

So they both went up to see the Elder Paisios, and the man explained the problem to the Elder saying, “Elder, I’ve tried everything! I cannot stop this sin! There’s no way. It’s just a fact of life for me. It’s genetic. I was born like this, gay. I’ve tried everything, and I’ve seen absolutely no progress.” Taking a moment to ponder this, the elder responded to him, “Okay. Let us just take it as a given that you are not able to stop this. Alright?

“Let us just take that as a fact. That’s out of the question now. But let’s not concentrate on the things you cannot do, and instead let’s concentrate on the things you CAN do. “Can you go to church every Sunday?” And the man replied, “Yes, Elder.” “Can you fast on Wednesdays and Fridays?” “Yes, Elder.” “Can you give alms to the poor?” “Yes, Elder.” “Can you try to say the Jesus Prayer during the day?” “Yes, Elder.” The elder then replied, “If you do all of these things, God will save you regardless of your problem.” Many others struggling with homosexual tendencies found their salvation and the consolation of their souls near the Elder.”

 

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