February 11, 2021

Saint Haralambos and his "Deal" with the Nazi Concentration Camp Survivor Metropolitan Dionysios of Trikkis and Stagon

Metropolitan Dionysios of Trikkis and Stagon

Metropolitan Dionysios Haralambous of Trikkis and Stagon (1907-1970), during World War 2, served as preacher of the Holy Metropolis of Methymna on the island of Lesvos (1940-1942) and was abbot of the Holy Monastery of Leimonos, and in August 1942 was arrested by German occupiers on charges of helping and treating British soldiers. The Germans tortured him without mercy for four days and then condemned him to ten years imprisonment. 
In the first phase he was sent to Thessaloniki to "Pavlos Melas" camp and then for three years in the German camps Stone and Bernau, where he was horribly tortured and arrived many times on the verge of death. With the intervention of the Mother of God, he was saved. After the end of the war, he continued his ministry in Mytilene, Nafpaktos, Karpenisi and also organized in Cyprus the "Apostle Barnabas" School for Priests. Dionysios also worked hard on the law to recognize Meteora as a sacred site. He became Metropolitan of Trikkis and Stagon in 1959.

At some point in 1965 Dionysios became ill with terrible pain from his terminal illness and had not finished his work. Then he asked to be brought to him the Sacred Skull of Saint Haralambos located in Meteora, at the Monastery of the Holy Protomartyr Stephen. Saint Haralambos appeared to him and they spoke. The Metropolitan pleaded with the Saint to intercede with the Lord to allow him an extension on his life to complete his work. "You will live another five years, Dionysios," he said. And indeed he regained his strength, and resumed his duties, and the five years passed.

In early 1970, again there was pain and a worsening of his illness. And again the Metropolitan Dionysios asked for the Sacred Skull of Saint Haralambos, and so it was brought and the Saint appeared before him once more. The Metropolitan asked him for a little more of a life extension. "No, Dionysios, didn't we say five years? Now you have to go." When Metropolitan-elect Gerasimos Fokas of Kefallonia would relate this story, he would smile at this point and end by saying, "See, that was the deal."