July 27, 2014

A Protestant Athonite Pilgrim Who Saw Hatzi-George and a Miracle of St. Panteleimon

By Monk Patapios

Mr. Jannis Zinniker, born in 1943, from the age of 20 would come from Switzerland to Athos. He loved it so much that he would stay there each year for a good amount of time.

His favorite place always was Kavsokalyva at the Brotherhood of Joasaph with the elders John and Anthony. He was a Protestant, and desired to know the truth near simple and sincere monks and to thus be made worthy for divine Baptism (which took place in the winter of 1977, at the Sacred Monastery of Stavronikita, which was then under the abbot Fr. Vasilios).

As he himself narrated to us, in 1974, after an extended stay at Kavsokalyva, as usual, he had to return to his homeland. Because of a storm, the only way out for him was through Kerasia, and with much difficulty and effort he arrived exhausted at the fountain by the wayside of the Cell of Saint Demetrios, of the so-called Hatzi-George. He saw smoke coming from the Cell, and as he approached the old door creaked open and he was received by the old man Symeon.

With much joy the old man offered him a treat with some raki from cherries. When he lay down on the makeshift wooden bed to rest, he fell asleep immediately. While he was sleeping there appeared before him a revered hunched old man with a stick in his hand and he happily welcomed him. Immediately he woke up with joy and told the old man Symeon what he saw.

The old man took an icon from the wall and said to him: "Perhaps it is him?" Mr. Jannis marveled, because it was exactly as he had seen in the vision. "This is the famous Hatzi-George, the Elder of this Cell," said the old man Symeon, and in a few words told him who Hatzi-George was. He departed the Cell with many thanks and was filled with joy and hope for Orthodoxy, which he later embraced.

At this point it is worth mentioning a miracle from an icon of Saint Panteleimon. In July of 1994 Mr. Jannis Zinniker commissioned from us an icon of Saint Panteleimon with 32X22 dimensions, to be sent far away to his home in Switzerland and placed in an icon-corner in his home together with the other icons.

In the winter of 1998 a loved one of his fell very heavily ill and with much pain of heart he turned to the Orthodox Church and the power of Her saints. The circumstance of the illness was very severe, colon cancer, and surgery had to be done with uncertain results. With much hesitation he asked the doctors if he could place his icon of Saint Panteleimon in the surgery room during the time of surgery. And while he waited for a negative response, the doctors happily received it.

The surgery had excellent results, which caused the doctors to wonder, for as they stated, these results could only have taken place by divine intervention.

The patient is currently enjoying good health, thanking God before the image of Saint Panteleimon, which he asked for from Mr. Jannis in order to have as an inalienable heirloom. And so Mr. Jannis, on 17 January 1999, visited the Hut of Saint Panteleimon, and he placed an order for us to paint him a new icon of the Saint in order to put it where the previous one was.

Source: From the book Ασκητικές μορφές και ιερές διηγήσεις από τον Άθωνα (Ascetic Figures and Sacred Teachings from Athos). Translated by John Sanidopoulos.