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WSJ: Greeks Turn to Elder Paisios for Hope

While the crisis is taking over Greece for the fifth year in a row, and recession and unemployment are estimated to further rise in 2013, people in Greece are turning towards faith for solace and power to endure what is next to come.

Looking for a miracle that will bring hope to the financially broken country, Orthodox monk Elder Paisios has become a famous figure over the last two years with people flocking to his grave to pray for strength to overcome their everyday problems. The monk who has long been known for his unique monastic spirituality and his predictions of the future, has now become mainstream with books on his sayings and way of life taking over bookshelves and offering comfort in these times of need.

Wall Street Journal Europe published an extensive report on Elder Paisios and his growing popularity. The monk who lived as a hermit in Mount Athos is well known for his miracles and his predictions of the economic crisis. To many his prophecies are now coming true, in a manner similar to Nostradamus’ predictions.

“Figures like Paisios represent the shaman, the magician of the tribe,” Alexandra Koronaiou, a sociologist at Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences in Athens told WSJ. “They are the incarnation of a transcendental, invisible power.”

Elder Paisios is expected by many to be canonized, although Church officials decline to comment on it. The WSJ report also referred to the arrest of Phillipos Loizos for creating a Facebook page that poked fun at Greeks’ belief in the miracles and prognostications of the late monk. The 27-year-old man was charged with blasphemy and insulting religion, but as he explained he only did so to satirize the commercialization of the revered monk.

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