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January 13, 2022

Theophany With Saint Iakovos Tsalikes

 By Fr. George Authinou,
Pastor of the Church of Saint Eleutherios in Chalandri

From 1982 I lived in Athens and began to have regular relations with the Monastery and Elder Iakovos.

Before Theophany of 1984 I went on a pilgrimage to the Monastery. The day prior to the eve of Theophany in the Monastery we were among the Elder, Fr. Cyril, Fr. Seraphim, a monk from Laconia who had been tonsured in his 80s, Mr. Lazounis who wrote stories for the books of the readers in elementary school and the illustrator. On the eve of Theophany, it snowed so much that all the roads were closed. So we stayed in the Monastery which was closed to six people to celebrate the Holy Theophany.

This Theophany was the most beautiful of my life. The snow lasted a week and it took fifteen days for the pilgrims to arrive. All these days I was given the opportunity to enjoy the Elder and receive spiritual nourishment, as a legacy for my later priestly life, but at the same time an unbearable responsibility, because I was associated with an established Saint.

The Elder saw that I was wearing a light corduroy jacket and it was very cold. I tried not to show it. The Elder told me: "Wait here". He went and brought a knitted jacket, gave it to me and it kept me warm every day. We still have this invaluable treasure in my family. Whoever is sick wears the soft jacket of the Elder, and the Saint is quick to answer.

Source: From the book Ο Γέρων Ιάκωβος (Διηγήσεις – Νουθεσίες – Μαρτυρίες). Translated by John Sanidopoulos.