January 10, 2023

Elder Gerasimos Mikragiannanitis and Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremiah I Have Been Canonized By the Ecumenical Patriarchate


Today, the 10th of January 2023, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate made the decision to register Elder Gerasimos Mikragiannanitis and Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremiah I in the list of saints of the Orthodox Church.
 

Brief Life of Elder Gerasimos Mikragiannanitis

Monk Gerasimos Mikragiannanitis (September 5, 1905 - December 7, 1991), known as Anastasios - Athanasios in the world, was a contemporary hymnographer.

He was born in Droviani, in the province of Delvino in Northern Epirus, and learned his first letters in the elementary school of his hometown.

With the end of elementary school, the now adolescent Anastasios left the village environment.

His father had already settled in Piraeus, where he worked. And he himself had to follow him to work near him.

Thus, he was forced to abandon his mother and younger brother.

He initially settled in Piraeus, near his father and aunt.

Then they moved to Athens. In his new residence he continued his studies at the high school.

His zeal for letters was impressive. After high school he continued his studies at a higher school of Greek education.

In Athens he also took care of his spiritual life and went to church regularly.

He himself remembers: "Our parish was Saint Dionysios the Areopagite. We usually went to Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, where the old Rizarios School was, to Saint George of Rizarios, because it was close. Nektarios of Pentapolis also liturgized there repeatedly, whom I saw."

In Athens he cultivated the thought of becoming a monk and thought of leaving early, before assuming other obligations. And it didn't take him long to realize his inclination. So he went to Mount Athos on August 15, 1923.

On Mount Athos, he became a novice in the Hermitage of Saint Anna. Specifically in Little Saint Anna, in the cell of the Holy Forerunner, having the Asia Minor hieromonk Meletios Ioannidis as an elder.

Here, in this desolate, arid, sharp and barren location of Little Saint Anna, he found absolute spiritual joy and fulfillment of his life's dream.

He now devoted himself undividedly to the asceticism of the spiritual life and to the study of the sacred ecclesiastical texts.

On October 20, 1924, during the vigil in memory of Saint Gerasimos of Kefallonia, he received the monastic tonsure, taking the Saint's name.

The monk Gerasimos, fully adapted to his new life, was a model of obedience, humility and every virtue.


Along with performing the daily monastic services and studying, the two monks of the hut, elder and subordinate, worked for their survival as humans.

Elder Meletios knew well and practiced for years the art of making wood-carved seals used in the preparation of prosphora for the Divine Liturgy. Close to him, the young monk Gerasimos also learned this art, which he practiced as a hard-worker.

However, what fascinated him was dealing with letters. He tells us about it: “Here, when I came, I cultivated and recapitulated my knowledge. The ancient writers, I satiated in them all, I digested them all. I had some books from outside, which I gave to some poor children who visited me from Sykia on the opposite side."

After the passage of a few years, the elder Meletios left for Athens for good, leaving the new monk Gerasimos completely alone.

Below the Hut of the Holy Forerunner is the Hut of the Dormition of the Theotokos. The ascetic Elder Abimelech lived in it (+ 1965). In 1946, the future Hieromonk Dionysios submitted to him.

Fr. Dionysios was joined by Fr. Gerasimos and later, in 1966, they joined in a brotherhood.

The monk Gerasimos became the founder of the Temple of the Holy Fathers Dionysios the Orator and Metrophanos.

In particular, in 1956, in the cave where the two monks lived in asceticism, he built a small chapel and in 1960 completed it with the litany.

Elder Gerasimos, among other things, was famous for his hospitality, which he also inspired in his subordinates. It is worth mentioning that his ascetic and withdrawn life in no way affected his sociability.

The lay visitors who came to him always left benefited and charmed, as his speech was always careful.

Prudent in his responses, he systematically avoided untimely discussions and chatter; he always sought silence, which he considered "the mother of wise concepts".

In addition to the laity, the visitors were often clergymen or even monks, who came with the same purpose: to listen to the elder, to benefit spiritually and to learn from his virtuous life. During his lifetime, he was assigned monastic obediences.

He was a librarian and head of the order of services in the kyriakon of the Hermitage of Saint Anna. As a librarian, he even engaged in the compilation and publication of a catalog of the manuscript codices of the library of the kyriakon of the Skete.

In this capacity he helped many scholars in finding and obtaining copies of the manuscripts. He himself wrote valuable studies and articles.


The monk Gerasimos Mikragiannanitis is one of the rare cases of hymnographers, so that most of his work was immediately used in the liturgical life of the Church.

Thus, most of the work is accessible, despite the fact that only a small part of it has been published. This is because many services are widely circulated in typed photocopies.

But he also considered the hymnography itself an extension of prayer, communion with God and the saints: "I have the saint in front of me. That's why I don't want to communicate with anyone. Hymnography, this spiritual work, is a union of the soul with God; it is a wondrous prayer; it is a meditation of the nous; it is a secret theoria; it is a mystery, which is not interpreted and is not externalized with words. Hymnography is the highest philosophy. It does not express itself in words. One has to try it to feel it."

He passed away on December 7, 1991. His rich hymnographic work is estimated at more than 2000 sacred services.

This Great Hymnographer of the Great Church of Christ was awarded a silver medal by the Academy of Athens on December 28, 1968.

The annual commemoration Venerable Gerasimos Mikragiannanitis is December 7th.

Read also: How the Greatest and Most Prolific Hymnographer of the Orthodox Church in the 20th Century Received His Talent 

 
Brief Life of Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremiah I

Jeremiah I was Ecumenical Patriarch from 1522 to 1546, with an interruption in the years 1524-1525.

He came from Zitsa in Epirus and was elected Metropolitan of Sofia before 1513.

He had limited education, but was very popular and had great administrative abilities.

He was elected Ecumenical Patriarch by the Holy Synod with the support of the ruler Konstantinos Kounoupis on December 31, 1522, paying as a gift to the Sultan 500 frankish coins and 3,500 florins as an annual debt.

Around April or May 1524, while he was on tour in Cyprus, Egypt, Palestine and Mount Sinai, Ioannikios of Sozopol ascended the throne uncanonically.

With the help of the Patriarchs of Antioch and Alexandria, Jeremiah succeeded in overturning the election coup and Ioannikios was deposed by two Synods, one in Jerusalem and one in Constantinople.

Jeremiah was officially restored on September 24, 1525 with the decree of Sultan Suleiman I and was enthusiastically received by the clergy and people of Constantinople, gaining great influence from then on.

During his days (1536), the former Cell of Stavronikita, which belonged from 1287 to the Koutloumousiou Monastery and then, until 1533, to the Philotheou Monastery, was assigned to him by the Sacred Community of the Holy Mountain and elevated to Stavronikita Monastery, thus becoming the twentieth monastery of Mount Athos.

Following the invitation of the Sacred Community, Patriarch Jeremiah was personally involved in the reconstruction of the Monastery, of which he emerged as a benefactor and which he declared Stavropegic in 1544.

During his Patriarchate he managed to save many churches, which were threatened with demolition by the Turks, using the argument that the City of Constantinople surrendered and was not defeated.

Also, in 1537, he achieved the issuance of a decree by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, stopping the conversion of churches in Constantinople into mosques, a decision that was not confirmed by his successors.

It seems that during his Patriarchate the embatoikion (first-fruits) was established, that is, that the bishops, upon their election, give a monetary gift to the Patriarchate for its financial support.

In October 1538 he donated part of his property to the Patriarchate.

He was Patriarch until 1546, when he fell ill. He abdicated the Throne, became a Great Schema monk named John and died in Vratsa, in the province of Turnovo in Wallachia, on January 13, 1546.

The annual commemoration our Holy Father Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremiah I is January 13th.
 
 

Contact Form

Name

Email *

Message *