The three friends and the King, a letter by blessed Elder Arsenios Spileotis and Hesychast

Elder Arsenios Spileotis (1886-1983), fellow struggler for more than 40 years with Saint Elder Joseph the Hesychast ( 1897-1959)

Mount Athos,

My dear child, P. I wish you the best. I have received your letter and I am pleased for your good health.

You did a good deed with the money you have sent me, because I needed it. I am working in the garden and I have been trying to carry water with a small tin because we did not have enough money to buy pipes. With these monies I will now buy the pipes and will be able to rest a great deal. I pray that you have the proper reward from God and that our Christ will give you the eternal goodness and also for us to be together in Paradise. Amen. Amen.

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I will now tell you a story from the Fathers.

Once there was one man who had three friends. He had a nice time every day with the first friend.

He had a second friend. He was also having a good time with him, but not as good as with the first one.

He unfortunately had a third friend. He would see him occasionally but his heart would not warm up to him.

In the meantime, the King took him to court for a crime he had committed.

He ran to his first friend. “My friend, the King wants to take me to court. I must have done something”.

Then the friend told him. “I am not getting out of my house”.

He ran to the second friend in desperation. He also told him: “I can only go as far as the King’s courtyard, but I cannot get in”.

He ran to his third friend ashamed. “How can I tell him? I have never thanked him”. But nevertheless he tells him: “My friend, the King has asked to judge me, can you help me?” This friend eagerly went to the King and helped him.

This is a parabola. The three friends are: The first is the money, the assets in the house. The second is the parents, the siblings, the relatives. The third friend is charity.

When death comes the first friend, that is the money, the assets, would not get out of the house. The second friend are the relatives; they only go as far as the cemetery. The third friend, charity, goes straight to our Christ and helps us.

Arsenios, monk. Amen.

Source: Ιωσήφ Μ. Δ., Ο Γέρων Αρσένιος ο Σπηλαιώτης (1886-1983) Συνασκητής Γέροντος Ιωσήφ Ησυχαστού, γ’ έκδοσις, 2004, (M. Joseph of D., Elder Arsenios Spileotis (1886-1983) fellow ascetic of Elder Joseph the Hesychast, Letter 3/p 204-205, Translation from Greek by Olga Kokkinos, journalist

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