May 30, 2019

The Vow of Archbishop Elpidophoros and St. Iakovos Tsalikes

Yesterday the newly-elected Archbishop of America, Elpidophoros, visited the Monastery of the Venerable David in Evia (Euboia) to fulfill a vow before assuming the responsibilities of his new office. "Today's concelebration at the Monastery of the Venerable David the Elder is a pilgrimage that is like a vow for me," revealed the new Archbishop.

The veneration Archbishop Elpidophoros has towards St. Iakovos goes back to a personal experience he had with him before the Elder was canonized. As he explained, the Elder one night appeared to him as he slept, without recognizing at the time who the cleric was, but he remembered his appearance. "Some days later it so happened that I saw a photograph of him, and then I remembered that this was the priest I saw in my sleep. It was a blessing from God, where the Saint gave special attention to me." He went on to explain that he felt him to be "alive."

Even recently, when he was elected Archbishop, shortly before he went out to read the Grand Message of his election, a small miracle took place that he took to be a sign. "The codifier of the Synod brought to me the last ecclesiastical act that I had to sign in my own capacity as Metropolitan of Prousis. My last signature on the Codex of the Ecumenical Patriarchate was the act for the canonization of Elder Iakovos Tsalikes. Because I believe none of these things happened by chance, I feel it was a welcoming by the Saint, when I was unanimously elected Archbishop of America. It was yet another sign for me that I had his blessings and prayers, and I want before I take up my duties to venerate his grave, to liturgize in his monastery and to have his blessing," said the Archbishop of America, Elpidophoros, who tonight will return to Athens.

St. Iakovos Tsalikes served as abbot at the Monastery of the Venerable David in Evia and it was there that he reposed on 21 November 1991. In 2017 he was canonized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew visited the Monastery of the Venerable David in Evia where he celebrated a Patriarchal Divine Liturgy in June of 2018. Speaking of St. Iakovos, the Patriarch said: "He was a contemporary saint of our days, who felt the uprooting of Hellenism from Asia Minor and the bitter experience of being a refugee. He constantly banged on the door on behalf of righteousness, the protection of children and the poor. He was a continuous burning lamp for the whole world. This humble hieromonk with fragile health, who was noble with his proverbial 'forgive me'."