Some have made mention of an alleged letter written by St. Porphyrios to St. Paisios the Athonite. In their ignorance, this non-existent “letter” is used to slander St. Paisios the Athonite. The basic accusation is that St. Paisios was not discerning of the times, but undiscerning and excessive, and even that he was influenced by Protestant publications (!) or talking points to form his teaching on eschatology and the signs of the times. This supposed “excess” is aid to have prompted St. Porphyrios to rebuke St. Paisios teaching and behavior. Some who have believed these rumors and been deceived into slandering the Saint have been led to raise the alarm and warn the Faithful that a “Protestant Ethos” is infecting the Church.
Upon learning of these false accusations Orthodox Ethos reached out to the immediate disciples of St. Paisios who are known to be faithful to their Elder. They doubted the existence of such a letter. Moreover, it was obvious that St. Paisios did not heed the supposed “admonition” of St. Porphyrios. These disciples of St. Paisios entirely rejected the claim.
After speaking with OE, a researcher who had initially helped to bring the supposed “letter” to the attention of English speaking Orthodoxy brought the truth of things to the attention of a prominent web blogger who had made the original post (in English) in 2012.[i] He pointed to an important retraction by Met. Neophytos, who had made the original statement used in 2014.[ii] This researcher has reached out to Orthodox Ethos and regretted that he assisted in making this falsehood well known in English. He asked the blogger to remove the misinformation. Instead, unfortunately only an update was made to the post, and that toward the bottom, and thus it appears that the blogger is still somewhat supporting the slander.
This letter has been and always was a falsehood. The excuses of those who fear and retreat any struggle coming from the spirit of the antichrist in our times are uncomfortable with the saint’s teachings. Therefore, we see how they fall into error and resist those who love and preach the truth. In their delusion, some of these people have slandered the saints. For Orthodox Christians there are few things which are more worthy of tears than slandering the Saints and likening their teachings to those of the heretics. We pray that the slanderers repent and repudiate their previous position.
The truth of things was always apparent, in plain sight, for all who would simply humble themselves before the Life and Witness of St. Paisios. His teachings on the last days were very important to him in his outreach to faithful Orthodox Christians. Hieromonk Isaac writes in his biography (pg. 270): “Foreseeing that it would be needed in the future, as well, he wrote it in his own handwriting and signed it, so that the record of the views he had expressed, which he held until the time of his repose, could not be altered.”
For more detail on this, Fr. Zechariah Lynch does a superb treatment on the most egregious example of this stance by Ben Cabe.[iii]