September 13, 2016

Saint Hierotheos the New of Iveron (+ 1745)

St. Hierotheos of Iveron (Feast Day - September 13)


Hierotheos became sacred of God,
Slaying the passions by mastering pain.

Saint Hierotheos was born into a rich and devout family in Kalamata of Peloponnesos in 1686. His father's name was Demos and his mother was Asimina. He was a chosen vessel of God, for while in the womb a virtuous ascetic revealed to his mother that he would lead a God-pleasing life. And from his earliest years, he had an unquenchable thirst for philosophical and theological learning which was encouraged by his parents.

When he came of age, his parents were determined he marry despite his reluctance, but a few days before the wedding his parents died and he was thus released from his obligation. Hierotheos saw this as an opportunity to withdraw from his homeland, and pursue further studies in philosophy in Western Europe at the expense of his rich family. On his way he stayed in Zakynthos for some time, and there he became more attracted in pursuing a life of virtue and spiritual endeavors on the Holy Mountain of Athos.

At the Holy Mountain he settled near a hermit, but when he came to understand the dangers of the solitary life, after a while he entered the Monastery of Iveron as a novice to live a life of obedience. While reading the lives of the Martyrs and Saints, he came to the resolution to choose the quickest way to salvation, namely martyrdom. For this he departed to Constantinople, but his efforts were fruitless. Instead he left there and went to Wallachia. There he was ordained a Deacon by Metropolitan Auxentios of Sofia and pursued studies under the Cypriot teacher Markos.

Hierotheos then returned to Constantinople where he was taught philosophy by the teacher from Argos named Giakoumis. This increased his thirst for knowledge, so he went to Venice for further studies. His spiritual longings however were not met there, so he decided to return to the Holy Mountain and rejoin the Monastery of Iveron. There he joined his studies of Holy Scripture and the Holy Fathers with unceasing prayer, all-night vigils, strict fasting and ascetic striving, and in doing so he subjected the flesh and liberated the spirit. He was also found worthy of the Holy Priesthood, and was ordained by Metropolitan Iakovos of Neocaesarea. Soon after he was granted by God the grace to work healings, and this brought many pilgrims to the Monastery to become recipients of his prayers and blessings, and they would depart healthy and glorifying God.

The Chapel of the Archangels and place of asceticism of St. Hierotheos in Vatos of Skopelos

His boundless love was diffused indiscriminately. At that time a deadly calamity befell the people of Skopelos, and they requested from the Metropolitan of Evia to send the fearful residents a prayerful and consoling presence, so Hierotheos went accompanied by other monks. Hierotheos stayed in Skopelos for eight years, and there he reached the height of virtue and radiance of life. He taught the people not only by his words but also by his life. Like thirsty deer the people took refuge in him and quenched their thirst in his teachings and Holy Confession.

As the end of his life drew near, he decided to withdraw from Skopelos and go to the secluded island of Gioura to live the last days of his life in unceasing communion with God. Accompanying him were his disciple the Hieromonk Meletios and his fellow ascetics Monks Joseph and Symeon. After a few days of sickness he reposed in peace on 13 September 1745, at the age of fifty-nine. His relic was buried and gave off a heavenly fragrance, testifying to the grace he had received. It also was a source of miracles. His Holy Skull was translated to the Monastery of Iveron.

Kontakion in Plagal of the Fourth Tone
With the Venerables God-bearing Hierotheos, and the new preacher of grace among the Saints, you are deemed worthy of hymns of praise; he is the boast of Messenia, and the divine majesty of the Monastery of Iveron, wherefore we cry out: Rejoice divinely-wise Father.

With the Venerables and Ascetics, new God-bearer, Hierotheos the wise, we extol you with hymns, and honore you with inspiration as a true son of God, our champion.