January 8, 2024

A Stunning Revelation About Saint John the Baptist to Saint Gerasimos Mikragiannanitis

Hut of the Honorable Forerunner at the Skete of Little Saint Anna on Mount Athos

By Elder Theoklitos Dionysiatis (1916–2006)

The late Elder Gerasimos Mikragiannanitis (1905–1991), this divinely inspired Hymnographer of the Great Church of Christ, the modern boast of the Athonite State, at the beginning of his monastic life and journey, had suffered indescribably.

By God's grace, he was prematurely abandoned by his own elder, the hieromonk Meletios, because he wanted to join the Zealot movement in Athens.

He thus remained "by himself and most alone" - as Saint Symeon the New Theologian says - for some years to be an ascetic in the harsh and uninviting wilderness of Little Saint Anna, all alone, "alone with God." With truly divine courage, with an indomitable spirit and with divine help felt within him, he remained resolutely in the impoverished Hut of the Honorable Forerunner....

The famous Papa-Ephraim Katounakiotis (1912-1998), once while passing outside the Hut of the then 25-year-old monk Gerasimos, saw clearly above the Hut of the humble Hymnographer the Honorable Forerunner of the Lord hovering and awestruck by this he asked him:

"What are you doing here, Honorable Forerunner?!"

And Saint John, the all-great Forerunner of Christ the Savior, answered him:

"I sit here and guard the monk, who lights my lamp!"

Papa-Ephraim glorified God and, with tears in his eyes, went and in detail narrated the event to the then young monk Father Gerasimos, who, upon hearing this, immediately burst into copious sobs of great and unrestrained emotion, glorifying God and thanking the Honorable Forerunner from the bottom of his heart for his unexpected favor towards him.

Another time, decades later, in a discussion that took place, the late Elder Father Gerasimos, reacting to the excessive severity that many painters of iconography attribute to the character of the figure of the Honorable Forerunner, confided to his subordinate with the now evident secret beauty of his sacred experiences, among others, the following:

"The Honorable Forerunner is sweet, beautiful, stunning!"

"What are you saying, Elder? How do you know?" his young subordinate asked naively.

"I saw him, my child!" said Elder Gerasimos simply.

"I saw him!... He was sweet, beautiful!... And he told me that 'I will be your protector and the guarantor of your salvation!'"

The submissive of the late Hymnographer literally lost it! He continued walking in silence to their cells with his good Elder, the late Gerasimos; now speechless, but inwardly dazzled by this precious revelation about the Honorable Forerunner, the "sweet, beautiful and stunning" Herald, Prophet, Preacher, Relative, Friend, John the Baptist, the Forerunner of Christ the Savior!

Source: From the book Γεράσιμος Μοναχός Μικραγιαννανίτης, Υμνογράφος της Μεγάλης του Χριστού Εκκλησίας; Εκδόσεις: «Θεσσαλονίκη Πολιτιστική Πρωτεύουσα Ευρώπης 1997», pp. 127–128. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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