As Prophesied, We Cannot Distinguish Men from Women - Saint Paisios the Athonite

Originally appeared at: Третий Рим

Today, men have become so effeminate that it is often impossible to distinguish them as men. In the old days, at a distance of five hundred meters it was possible to distinguish a man from a woman. Now sometimes you can’t tell the difference even up close. You don’t understand: is a man in front of you? a woman? Therefore, the prophecy says that a time will come when it will be impossible to distinguish a man from a woman. 

Elder Arseny once asked a long-haired young man: “So what are you? Are you a boy or a girl?” The Elder himself could not understand this. They used to cut their hair like this on the Holy Mountain, but now they come as they are... But I cut their hair, with the same scissors I use to trim wool when I weave rosaries. Do you know how many people's hair I have already cut off? 

I cut their hair in the courtyard behind the altar wall. When such long-haired people come, I tell them: “That’s good! I have several bald friends and I promised to glue hair on for them. Show me some love, let me cut your hair! What can I do? I gave these people my word...”

- Do you agree, Geronda?

- It depends on how you tell them about it. I don’t fly at them shouting: “What an embarrassment! Shame on you! You don’t honor this sacred place!”, but I say: “Listen, guys, with this hair you are insulting your manhood. If you see, how a guardsman of the honor guard marches along the Place de la Concorde with a lady's reticule, how do you look at that? Well, tell me, is a reticule befitting a guardsman? Let's cut your hair!" And I cut their hair. 

Do you know how much hair I collect! Sometimes, if one of them balks and starts all sorts of “whys” and “whys,” I answer: “Why ask why? Am I not a monk? So I perform monastic tonsure. After all, this is my job.” It's all about how you present it. The guys laugh, and that's what I need. After that I cut their hair. No, I don’t change names when "tonsuring". . . . And how happy the parents of my “tonsured” people are! Do you know how many grateful letters I receive from parents? Oh! Only for this will God forgive me!

Nowadays it is fashionable to cut the hair on the head and leave a ponytail at the back. “Hey, eagles!” I ask, “what’s the point of these tails?” “We,” the “eagles” answer, “leave our tails so that people pay attention to us.” “You are weirdos, weirdos,” I tell them, “but people today have so many problems that they won’t pay attention to you, even if you pay them for it!” And others, big guys, wear earrings in their ears. How many times have I taken these earrings off of them!

- And some, Geronda, wear only one earring.

- One earring is worn by anarchists. One earring in the ear is a symbol of anarchy. They don't wear this earring to decorate themselves like women. They pierce their ear and wear an earring as a sign of protest. Once a father came to my kaliva with his twenty-two-year-old son - long-haired, with a beard and an earring in his ear. “Earrings are indecent for guys,” I told him. “Many people misunderstand you. I don’t need to explain this, but people don’t know that you are anarchists, and they understand it incorrectly.” Then he took off the earring and gave it to me. It was golden. I said, “Give it to the jeweler so that he can make you a cross.”

- Some, Geronda, even wear an earring on their nose.

- This means that the devil put a ring in their nose. Only the bridle is not visible. And some wear wide gold chains around their necks - in several rows. I gave one a beating, took off all his trinkets and said: “Give this gold to some orphan. Or give it to your mother so that she can give it to some poor person.” After I brought him into a more or less godly form, he asks me: “What should I do?” “Start with this,” I say, “put on a cross on a modest chain.” 

Just think - men wear gold jewelry! He stands in front of you, all sparkling with gold, on his neck there are two or three rows of thick gold chains - princesses don’t even wear those, he stands and complains about what problems he has! And that’s exactly the problem! His problems are the penance he bears. I remove these trinkets from some of them myself, and I tell others to do it themselves. People have lost their measure. They have become completely worthless. Some people wear zodiac signs around their necks. 

“What is this?” I ask one. “This is the first time I’ve seen this.” “This,” he answers, “is a little animal, my zodiac sign.” But at first it seemed to me that this was an icon of the Mother of God. “Well,” I say, “are you also animals from the zoo, if you wear these signs of the zodiac?” Oh, wonderful... The inner chaos bulges out. Let us pray that God will enlighten the youth and preserve some of the leaven.

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