April 10, 2014

The Confession of Barba-Theodoros the Unconfessed

Barba-Theodoros* lived in the village of Xeromeros in Aetolia-Acarnania. He was around 52 years old and never went to confession. Yet he would go to church and had a good intention.

Once, when he was in the town of Astako for a business matter, he went to the Sacred Church of Saint Nicholas, where he found the parish priest Fr. Hierotheos, who was also a Spiritual Father, and he confessed. He made a formal confession, but he did not confess his heavy sins. Fr. Hierotheos, in order to support his repentance, recommended that he visit the Sacred Monastery of Saint Gerasimos in Kefallonia which celebrates in the summer on the 16th of August.

Indeed, the ever-memorable Barba-Theodoros went with other pilgrims to the Monastery of Saint Gerasimos on August 15th. In the evening of the 15th of August they carried the honorable casket of Saint Gerasimos to the big church for the ceremony of the feast. During the transfer of the casket of the Saint it passed over the sick, especially the demon possessed, and it was accompanied by the Hierarch of the region, surrounded by a multitude of priests from the island of Kefallonia. Thus, Barba-Theodoros was nearby, like Zacchaeus, watching the ceremony of the transfer of the honorable casket of the Saint.

Then, suddenly a demon possessed man sprang forward and began to say: "Theodore, what do you want here? So Theodore has also come to Kapsali" (Kapsali, or "the Burner", is what the devil calls Saint Gerasimos, because he burns demons by divine grace). He then addressed another demon possessed man and said: "Thomas, did you hear? Theodore also came to Kapsali! Give him a melody!" Therefore, they began to scream and recall his sins, the ones he did not confess yet were mortal, and he felt humiliated.

Hearing all this, Barba-Theodoros ran in terror before the honorable casket and addressed the ever-memorable Hierarch Fr. Hierotheos Vouis, and said: "I'm going crazy! I need a Spiritual Father to confess now." Then the ever-memorable Hierarch stopped the procession, received Barba-Theodoros with affection, and commissioned a Spiritual Father to confess him immediately in the small sacred church, while the procession continued its course. Afterwards the demon possessed could no longer tell him anything, because his sins were erased by a good confession.

These things were narrated by the ever-memorable Barba-Theodoros himself, who since then radically changed his life, living in constant repentance and keeping with the fear of God the commandments of Christ. He reached the age of 95 and departed in peace and repentance on the 23rd of April 2000. May his memory be eternal. Amen.

* Barbas is a term of address indicating either respect for an older man or friendly familiarity, from the Italian barba "uncle", or "man with a beard". It may also be a reduced form of a surname, for example Barba-Theodoros can mean "Uncle Theodoros". [trans. note]

From the book Ασκητές μέσα στον κόσμο (Ascetics in the World), "Ο μπαρμπα-Θεόδωρος ο ανεξομολόγητος". Translated by John Sanidopoulos.