The last words of Paul (Yazigi) of Aleppo on Mount Athos – photo journal from his last Divine Liturgy

Love is not measured among virtues. Love does not count together with fasting, prayer, etc. Love is the purpose and the driving force of all virtues.

The virtues build a new person, radiating love to the world.

So, as Saint John Chrysostom says, you do not have to be among people to be the true friend of people. True friendship is love—not spatial or temporal closeness. Look at the monks: everybody looks for them, and the pilgrims come from far away to see them, because they feel the friendship of the monks: their true friendship.

This is because the monk has the most friends in the world. Why?

Because the monk radiates love. In other words, he sacrifices, gives himself, listens to others, without asking for anything in return.

This is also my experience: always when I met a monk on Mount Athos, I felt that I had a sacrifice, an offering, in front of me. This is the love that cannot be described. Perfect love: give without taking anything from people.

For this love, that’s why we do prostrations; that’s why we fast. The personality of the Christian must be self-sacrifice, self-denial.

From the last words of Metropolitan Paul (Yazigi) of Aleppo on the Holy Mountain.

The photos are from the last feast and liturgy attended by Metropolitan Paul (Yazigi) of Aleppo on the Holy Mountain. Vatopedi Monastery, Mount Athos before he was kidnapped on April 22nd 2013.

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