Monday, June 13, 2011

Saint Iakovos, Who Was Deluded To Worship Satan

St. Iakovos the Ascetic (Feast Day - June 13)

Saint Iakovos had such love for Christ, and so little regard for the things of this world, that he liquidated his entire estate and gave the proceeds to the poor without spending any of the money on himself. He gave himself over to a life of poverty, fasting and prayer. His life won him the praise of the people. Later, instead of closing his ears to this praise, he fell into a demonic temptation and became very proud. He would say, "Who knows better than I do, concerning my own salvation?" Following his own self-will and personal preferences, he lived in solitude and undertook difficult struggles without first seeking the advice of wise and experienced ascetics. This was diagnosed to be his downfall.

While in solitude with a puffed up ego, a demon appeared to him in the guise of an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). He told Iakovos that Christ was very pleased by his labors and that he was an equal of the Apostle Paul, and therefore he would come that night to reward him. "Clean your cell," the demon said, "and make ready by lighting the lamps and burning incense."

The foolish Iakovos, in his delusion, accepted all of this without question. When Satan came at midnight, Iakovos opened his door and fell down in worship before him. Satan mocked him and struck him on the head, then vanished after Iakovos made the sign of the Cross.

Iakovos fell into despair and at dawn went to visit a certain Elder to tell him what had happened. Before Iakovos could speak a single word, the Elder said, "You must leave this place, for you have been deceived by Satan."

Iakovos was heartbroken and wept bitter tears. The Elder also advised him to go to a cenobitic monastery, which he did. There he fulfilled his obedience in the trapeza with great humility and obedience. Then for seven years he sat in his cell working at some handicraft, and fulfilling his Rule of prayer.

St. Iakovos acquired the gift of discernment, learned the straight and narrow path of God, and became a great wonderworker for being an example of humility. He completed the course of his life in peace.

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