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August 17, 2020

The Repose of Hieromonk Fr. Nikolaos Koumentakis (+ August 15, 2020)

By George G. Spanos,
Shipping & Innovative Business Consultant, Author

The Hieromonk Fr. Nikolaos Koumentakis, undoubtedly made a mark on the spiritual life of Eastern Attica, having Mati as his center, for the last at least fifty years. Born in 1921, he became a priest at a mature age, being the link of a long unbroken priestly chain of Cretan Levites, whose traces are lost in the history of the mainland.

He was appointed pastor in Mati, Attica in the early 1970s, at the Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos. When he decided, by divine inspiration, to build a new larger Church of the Panagia in Mati - something that had "looked bad" to various of our fellow citizens as excessive for little Mati - Fr. Nikolaos would say in the end, that Mati would receive something great while the church itself would be small in comparison. This is what the great Saint of our time, Porphyrios Kavsokalyvitis, had said to him, when he had visited him in Oropos in the 1970s. The certainty of these words was seen from early on. Immediately after the completion of the new white Sacred Church of the Dormition, a characteristic gem of the wider area, it was visited on Sundays and feasts by families from all over Attica.

He was an impeccable man, of high spiritual value, with a lot of love for his fellow man, even for his enemies. As an ascetic himself, he was always happy, even in difficult times. All of us who were close to him operated peacefully, but I was forced to defend him, remembering the courage with which he endured the period of literal persecution by the then Metropolitan of Attica Panteleimon, who wanted to replace him for reasons that became known in the future and were related to who the unfortunate Bishop was.

Personally, I met Fr. Nikolaos in Mati, about thirty-two years ago at the age of sixteen, and I immediately realized a special grace (and joy) that accompanied him and which I wanted to better feel, especially under the influence of my teenage curiosity about anything special. After all, it was not a few times that he was seen by me personally but also by more of the masses, after the Divine Liturgy, to be immersed with light, with a glow on his face that was definitely not of this world. The all-encompassing way in which he liturgized in the Divine Mysteries, trapped and influenced even people far from the Church, who happened to be present there. My witnesses were many of my relatives, in all the sacraments of my family that we had the blessing for him to attend.

For all my childhood friends from Mati, Fr. Nikolaos played an important role from time to time, in helping with counseling and prayer, in the dilemmas and difficult situations we faced, as he did on a daily basis and to everyone around him, people who were close or not. Personally, and I speak on behalf of others also, to him I owe in essence my connection with Mount Athos, in 1990, and Saint Paisios the Athonite, and what followed in my later life, and continues to this day.

He always lived ascetically, next to the Sacred Church of Mati. The opportunities I had to meet him alone, when he called me to take care of the vines and tomatoes in his small garden from which he mainly ate, during the ritual of small extraordinary excursions to unknown rocky beaches to dive and get lost in the seawater, (to worrying degree) away from the eyes of the people and its Cretan temperament, will be unforgettable to me and is certainly the reason why he had reached one hundred years of earthly life. In recent years he had retired from the many social gatherings due to health problems, and was a clergyman of Holy Monasteries, such as that of Saint Ephraim in Nea Makri.

Unforgettable to the memories of many, are the lectures and meetings under his auspices with Professors and Athonite Fathers that we organized as young people in the summers, in the next room from the cell of Mati, such as the visit of Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi, another modern Saint.

The last time I met him was at his house in Mati, in 2019, to talk about the big fire of 2018 and to give him two of my books on Mount Athos and the Battle of Crete that he really liked. He was shining brightly all over sitting in the chair of his cell. Fr. Nikolaos, on the night of July 23, 2018, was taken from Mati by his spiritual children. The church suffered nothing, not even the leaves of its trees were burned. Around him, everything was saved. From a nun who knew him I learned that he had confessed to her that he "saw" shocked and terrified the souls of the victims being escorted up by angels. Since then, Fr. Nikolaos considered the 102+ dead of Mati, as having finished their course as martyrs.

"Before you leave, go out and sign," he told me with the look of a child scamming something.

"What should I sign my father, where?" I asked him following his game.

"Out there, out there on the left, go and you will see. The lady will tell you," he urged me, giving me his blessing and looking at me with his bright look.

Going out of his room, next door, I asked an old lady who was obviously acting as an assistant, "Fr. Nikolaos told me to sign somewhere."

"Ah, yes… here! Come!" and opened a box of sweets telling me to definitely take some. And then I remembered that no one ever left Fr. Nikolaos without sweets, both spiritual and physical. Going out I thanked him from afar and saw him looking at me smiling.

Fr. Nikolaos, after an accident that he had due to a twist and/or dizziness falling on a window in July this year, was seriously injured and had to undergo many painful operations even on his face, which he endured without complaint.

Today, August 15th, on the feast day of the Sacred Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Mati, in whose service he dedicated his whole life, the Mother of God invited him with her to forever reward the efforts he made for her honor.

Father Nikolaos suffered cardiac arrest at the military hospital where he was being treated. The doctors tried to bring him back and keep him alive for a few hours, but very late at night, his soul translocated to Life.

A common confession was the fragrance that was diffused from his age-old relic, which will be from today Sunday night 21:30 in the Sacred Church of Mati, where a vigil will be held. May his blessing always accompany us!

The funeral service will be on Monday 17 August, at 11 in the morning in Mati and the burial, in the Sacred Monastery of Saint Ephraim in Nea Makri.

Gathering other facts about his life, it is certain that we should refer in more detail to his personality. Please, anyone who wishes to share important experiences with Fr. Nikolas Koumentakis, let them contact me so that they can take the form of a book for the common good and glory of God (

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

For further reading on this holy figure of our times, see also the article titled "The Spiritual Athlete" (in Greek) by the Great Hymnographer of the Church of Alexandria, Dr. Haralambos Bousias. See also the article titled "Earth Was Silent. Heaven Spoke".