|Holy Apostle Zacchaeus (Feast Day - April 20)|
By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas
Saint Zacchaeus, as is known from the Gospel reading that is read every year in the sacred churches before the Triodion, is mentioned in the Gospel of Luke (19:1-10), that he was a chief publican and wealthy man who sought to see Christ. When he heard that the Lord was to pass through Jericho he climbed a sycamore tree, because he was of a small body stature, in order to see Him. Christ saw him and said: "Come down quickly, for I must stay at your house tonight." Indeed, He even called him out by name, even though he had never met Him nor seen Him before. Zacchaeus immediately came down and welcomed him with joy, while those present began to grumble and complain because the Lord went to stay in the house of a sinner, as if they were sinless. But Christ went to the house of Zacchaeus first because He visits, without discrimination, all those who want Him and desire to seek Him with faith, and secondly because He saw the heart of the chief publican inflamed with true repentance and the desire for correction. Indeed, Zacchaeus actively showed his repentance, when he publicly proclaimed that he would give half of his property to the poor and those he wronged he would give a return fourfold. For this reason he was made worthy to hear from the mouth of Christ those most sweet words: "Today salvation has come to this house."