April 7, 2021

Elder Anthimos the Agiannanites and the First Icon of Saint Savvas of Kalymnos

Left, Elder Anthimos Agiannanites (1913-1996); Right, Saint Savvas of Kalymos (1862-1947)
By Dr. Harlalambos M. Bousias

Saint Savvas of Kalymnos had been an ascetic at the Skete of Saint Anna on the Holy Mountain.

In fact, in the Hut of the Entrance of the Theotokos, where the charismatic Elder Anthimos the Agiannanites resided, is where Saint Savvas learned to be an iconographer.

When Saint Savvas reposed on the island of Kalymnos he appeared to Metropolitan Isidoros of Kalymnos and ordered him to transfer his relic. It was at that time that Elder Anthimos accompanied with four other monks arrived on the island.

The Monastery of All Saints, where Saint Savvas had lived in asceticism, was not known to Elder Anthimos. Rather, he was led to it by an inexpressible fragrance, which drew him like a magnet to the grace-flowing Saint.

After an arduous uphill climb the Elder and the four monks arrived at the monastery. Suddenly, the bells began to ring on their own, as if they were being greeted by the Saint.

It appears Saint Savvas was happy to see the Athonite Elder, who had come from where the Saint had previously labored in ascetic toil.

Elder Anthimos, surprised by this miraculous event, and full of joy and gladness, promised to paint an icon with the physical dimensions of the Saint, a vow that he immediately fulfilled.

Source: From the book Γέρων Άνθιμος Αγιαννανίτης, Ο σοφός και θεοφόρος σύγχρονος πατέρας του Άθωνος. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.