By Archimandrite Ioannikios Androulakis
A nun who was then in the Holy Monastery of Kapsa told me about the first miracle of Hadji-Ananias in Kapsa when he was young and responded to the name Anthony. The name of the nun was Eusevia Panagiotakis. This nun described to me the miracle as follows:
"At that time they built a furnace made of asbestos for the needs of the monastery. The furnace burned for three days and nights. Gerontogiannis called for the novice Anthony:
'Go my child and look at the dome of the furnace and try to bring one stone so we can see if the furnace is fired.'
'May it be blessed,' said Anthony and he ran to the furnace.
Above the dome of the furnace, which as we said was burning for three days and three nights, the young novice Anthony took up a burning stone with his bare hands, and taking it under his side he took it to his Elder saying:
'Here you go, my Elder, so your holiness who knows better and understands better than me could see.'
Then Gerontogiannis strictly reprimanded him, saying: 'Oh Anthony, Anthony. Doesn't it seem to you are very quickly beginning to enter many things? Gather your mind.'
This observation of Gerontogiannis was made because he was afraid that Satan would say to young Anthony that he is already a saint, since he brought a burning stone with his bare hands and under his side and did not get burned, and this would be the cause of pride and boasting, having at such an age achieved such an awesome and unbelievable miracle for mankind.
Both Gerontogiannis and Hadji-Ananias, as many times as they traveled to the opposite island from the monastery, to Koufonisi, rather than using a boat to get across they used their cassocks. They would do their cross and say a short prayer, they would form a cross in the sea with their staff, lay out their cassock over the sea, and they would boldly climb on top of it using their faith in God as a mast, unceasing prayer as sails, the Panagia and the Honorable Forerunner as companions, and Christ was their Captain. In this way and under these conditions these earthly angels went to the island and returned in a miraculous and incredible for mankind way."
The late Abbot of the Monastery Exakoustis, Hierotheos Barberakis, nephew of Hadji-Ananias, told us the following:
"Hadji-Ananias reposed three times. He did not repose in the natural sleep everyone has, but in the spiritual sleep. For three days and nights he was in hypnotic anesthesia. Only from his pulse and heartbeats did we know he was alive. He spirit would go to Paradise. On the night of the third day he began to recover. Coming back to himself, he would hold in his left hand holy bread from Paradise, a fragrant heavenly bread, his face shined, and with his right hand he continuously did his cross. Meanwhile he described to us the beauty and greatness of Paradise. The same thing was repeated three times at different periods."
The late Abbot Hierotheos narrated also the following miracles:
"A Christian who was a resident of Kalamafka Ierapetra came one day during the fifteen days of August as a pilgrim. Before he left his house he thought that he should take something to the monastery for the monks to cook. He went to his garden and filled a basket with beans to bring to the monastery. Loading the basket to his animal he left. On the road, however, with the walking of the animal, the beans became 'digested', and as they sat in the basket they appeared to be few. He was embarrassed to present the basket to the monastery. Approximately two kilometers on the road before reaching the monastery at Vroukano there were gardens. So he thought to go to the strangers gardens and add to his beans, because he considered it shameful and an insult to give the basket as it was. As soon as he arrived he greeted Hadji-Ananias: 'Elder, here are some beans for you to cook.' 'Thank you,' said the Elder. Taking the basket in his hands, Hadji began to look at the basket strangely. He then emptied the basket of beans on the floor, got down on his knees, and began to select beans and separate them on the floor. He then got up, looked at the pilgrim in his eyes, and with compassionate words said while pointing to one pile: 'My child, these beans are enough for all of us to eat, with some to spare, because they are from your garden, and they are blessed.' Then pointing to the other pile he said: 'These are cursed, because you gathered them from a strangers garden from Vroukano. Please take them and have your donkey eat them. And next time, my child, do not do such a thing. They are stolen and stealing, my child, is a great sin. When those who own that garden see this, will they not blaspheme against the ones who ate them? And with your words you would have done the same yourself if you were in their position.' The pilgrim was stunned by the revelation. He fell at the feet of the Saint and asked for forgiveness and promised that he would never again commit such an act."
A second nephew of Hadji-Ananias, John Emmanuel Barberakis, who as a layman served the monastery under the guidance of Hadji-Ananias, told me the following about Hadji-Ananias. First he also told me, as the Abbot did, how he reposed in spiritual sleep three times, and his soul rose to Paradise. "Each time he fell asleep, the Abbot ordered me to sit near him, in case he recovered and needed something. Each time he slept for three days. We didn't know when he would wake up. That's why the Abbot ordered me all those hours to be near him. The third and final time he said to the Abbot:
'Abbot, listen my child. Today, tomorrow, I don't know exactly when, I suppose that this time I will not wake up, and after the Resurrection you will bury me. And I hold you to bury me beneath the cypress I planted.'
It was Holy Saturday night, almost gloomy, when the Abbot called for me and said:
'At 11pm we will go to the church for the Resurrection. You will go sit next to Uncle Hadji to care for him.' He told me how perhaps he would not wake up. 'If you see him not breathing put some incense and if we are in church come and inform us immediately, wherever I am. And if I'm asleep come and wake me. Don't let the fire go out. Put wood because at night it gets cold.'
'Very well Abbot,' I told him and I left for the cell of Elder Ananias, I put wood in the chimney and sat near him as the Abbot told me. At 11pm Hadji woke up and said:
'Yes Uncle,' I said.
'Did they strike the simantron?'
'Not yet,' I told him. But as I said this the bell rang. He did his cross. His cell was behind the holy doors of the church and we could listen. When the Abbot completed the reading of the Gospel of the Resurrection outside the church, Hadji-Ananias did his cross and soon whispered 'Christ is Risen'. He then whispered something again but I did not understand. He then called out:
'Christ is Risen, my child.'
'Truly the Lord is Risen,' I said as I kissed his hand which had a smell to it, which I did not understand, and he delivered his holy soul. So departed that Holy figure on the 22nd of April, on Pascha of 1907, at the age of 70. I then threw incense into the fire, ran to them as they were outside the church for the ritual of the Resurrection, and I informed them of the news of his repose. Immediately they played the bells three times and went to the cell of the deceased Elder, and they memorialized him, venerated him and cried. The Abbot said to a monk named Meletios: 'Stop Meletios so John can help you shroud him.' I wept inconsolably and beat my head because he was the only Father and Protector I knew. In the village they heard the bells of mourning, because the people were outside for the ritual of the Resurrection, and they understood that Hadji-Ananias had died. Just as it dawned the Head of the Telecommunications Office went to the office, called the center in Ierapetra and gave the news and asked to be linked with the villages that had telephones to inform them of the repose of Hadji-Ananias. The people began to flock to the monastery from the first hours already, and in the afternoon of the second Resurrection a magnificent funeral took place, as he deserved. The people who came to the funeral wanted to take something that belonged to Hadji-Ananias as a blessing, and whatever clothes he had they cut in strips with scissors, and they distributed them to the people."
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.