May 20, 2015

The Blind Shepherd Who Memorized the New Testament

John Hasiotis was born in Milia Metsovo of Pindos in 1947. His village was inhabited by Vlachs and their language in the early twentieth century was Vlach.

Young John first came into contact with the Greek language during his studies in elementary school in his village, since the villagers at that time had neither television or radio.

After graduating he worked as a shepherd of his father's sheep. At a young age he had a reduction of visual acuity. He visited an ophthalmologist in Trikala, who diagnosed that he was suffering from a serious eye disease (retinitis pigmentosa), which causes blindness.

He continued to be employed as a shepherd. One day he met a compatriot, who offered him a prayer book to read while grazing his flock. This brought on a lively desire to obtain a New Testament to study it. John was captivated by the text. Knowing that he would go blind in a few years, he began to study with perseverance in order to memorize the text and be able to recite it himself when he would no longer be able to read.

Often he would go hungry, not allowing himself to eat until he memorized a particular chapter. On Sunday August 9, 1973 certain guest theologians came to Milia to preach. They met John and were surprised to find out that he had memorized the entire text of the New Testament! John impressed these theologians and many others for having achieved this feat.

For his ability John was invited to schools and lecture halls. When his condition worsened after a few years, John was no longer able to graze his flock. From that time he lives in Grevena. He is often invited to give lectures about his achievement, which is ascribed to personal effort and the grace of God. Occasionally he even appears on television.

John has not only memorized the entire New Testament, but he interprets it, even though he was never taught ancient Greek. He often squares off against heretics. Not only can he recite an entire chapter from beginning to end, but he is also able to recall verses at any point and tell you what comes before and after!

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.