May 18, 2020

Father Benedict Petrakis and the Tuberculosis Patient

Archimandrite Benedict Petrakis

By Archimandrite Haralambos Vasilopoulos

In Ioannina, near the Church of the Holy Unmercenaries of Kastro, within the castle of Ali Pasha, there was a small sanatorium for tuberculosis patients who were about to die.

Between 1938 and 1940 after the Divine Liturgy, Father Benedict Petrakis would go to this sanatorium every Wednesday or whenever he was needed and he would give Holy Communion to the sick patients.

One day he communed a man who had tuberculosis that was about to die. Immediately after he communed, he coughed out blood. Father Benedict then took the Holy Tongs, namely the communion spoon, and gathered up all the blood that was coughed out and had mixed within it the Holy Communion, and he consumed it all.

When the doctors saw this they were in absolute shock and cried out:

"Is this priest in his right mind or has he gone crazy?! He's a goner! Now he's in for a ride!"

This unfortunately was their faith. If only they could have the faith of Father Benedict. Father Benedict payed no attention to them and of course nothing happened to him. He knew that Christ, our God who is "a consuming fire," is in Holy Communion.

From the book Βενέδικτος Πετράκης, ο φλογερός ιεροκήρυξ ("Benedict Petrakis, the Fiery Preacher"). Translated by John Sanidopoulos.