Saint Paisios loved Our Most Holy Theotokos very much and had the Blessing to see the her many times throughout his life.
“The Virgin Mary looks a lot like the Icon of the Virgin Mary of Jerusalem. She is exactly the same. I have seen her many times and I don’t know of any other Icon resembling her so much.”
“All you will need to do is one thing: kneel and say, ‘Through the intercessions of the Theotokos, Saviour, save us’, and you will have a great protection.”
Saint Paisios, when he wanted to go Pray to the Panagia, would cut a few flowers from outside his hut and would take them to her Icon. “How can I go empty-handed to supplicate her?” he would say.
Elder Paisios, in this society we live in, what must we do to be saved?
And the Elder, in response, narrated the following incident:
“Listen, my children: At the beginning of our century, a huge fire broke out on Mount Athos and threatened the Monastery of Saint Panteleimon. Then 2000 Monks and 3,000 workers working there, took what they found in front of them and went out to face the fire. But they could not. Then the fire spread to Vatopedi. Hundreds of Monks and workers who were there could not, nor could they, stop it. The fire destroyed everything. Then the fire went on and reached Philotheou. Only 15 Monks and as many workers lived there at that time. Frightened, they took the shovels and ran outside to face the fiery flame that ate everything.
But a respectable Elder stopped them and said: “Where are you going brothers? Thousands of people in Vatopedi and Saint Panteleimon could not put out the fire and we, some thirty people, will save the Monastery?”
“And what shall we do, Elder? How will we be saved?” the brothers asked.
“We can not do it alone. Embrace Glykophilousa (“Sweet-kissing” or “Loving Kindness” Icon)! She is in front and we are behind!” the Elder told them.
So they did. In a short time, the fiery flames reached outside the Monastery, burned everything, but did not advance even a millimeter through the walls of the Monastery!
And Saint Paisios added:
“I know that evil like uncontrollable fire threatens you and your children. But hug Glykophilousa and do not be afraid! She has the power to put out the fire that threatens our home! She has the power to put out the fire that threatens our children! She has the power to extinguish the fire that threatens our Soul! Because the Virgin Mary is the Mother of God and the Mother of the whole world and no fire is greater than Her Love !!! Her hands are wings, and no calamity is stronger than her Protection! Embrace Her!”