April 21, 2021

The Fragrant Paschal Egg of Saint Iakovos Tsalikes

Saint Iakovos Tsalikes (+ 1991) narrated the following story from his childhood:

When it was Great Lent we fasted strictly. Despite all the hard work, we waited for the Annunciation and Palm Sunday to come, so we could eat some fried salted cod, which seemed tasty to us like brittle, or a few fresh sardines, the only fish that was available to our village from the sea and then only rarely. My mother, in order to test me if I was fasting with my heart, sometimes said to me during lent:

"My child Iakovos, you are so thin! Eat a little egg to gain some strength."

"If I eat an egg," I replied, "the Resurrection will come without me realizing it. I want to eat the paschal egg to realize it is Pascha."

And when lent was over and it was Pascha, after the Resurrection I did not immediately eat the egg, but I would take it and go outside the village, out in the countryside, where in the deserted valleys I chanted "Christ is Risen" and the resurrection troparia with all the power of my soul, with longing and compunction, until it was almost noon. Then I would sit and eat the paschal egg and it seemed to me that it was fragrant.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.