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Iconography and Hand painted icons

Elder Evmenios Saridakis: the holy friend of lepers

ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΗ ΤΟΥ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ_Holy Resurrection of Jesus Christ_Воскресение Иисуса Христа_56946.b

Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη!
Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
ХристосВоскрес! Воистину Воскрес!
Kristus (ir) augšāmcēlies! Patiesi viņš ir augšāmcēlies!
ქრისტეაღსდგა! ჭეშმარიტადაღსდგა!

Elder Evmenios Saridakis:
the holy friend of lepers

Ευμένιος Σαριδάκη_Elder Eumenius Saridakis_Св. старец Евмени Саридакис_evmenio-5St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia used to say about Elder Evmenios: “ You should go and receive the blessing of Elder Evmenios, for he is the hidden Saint of our time. A saint like Elder Evmenios comes along only once every two hundred years ”.

Fr. Evmenios was born in 1931 in Ethia of Monophatsion in the province of Heraklion of Crete, the eighth child of a poor family of faithful Christians. He became a monk at the age of 17; he struggled to cultivate his soul with love and prayer and was tested very harshly by leprosy; but later also, while a priest, by a demonic influence which tormented him in body and soul, but was freed of it after many prayers, vigils and exorcisms in monasteries of Crete, such as the monasteries of Koudoumás and Panagía Kalyvianí.

Leprosy brought him to the Hospital for Infectious Diseases in the St.Barbara suburb of Athens. He was healed there, but, having seen human suffering, he decided to remain at the Hospital as a priest, in order to help comfort his fellow-men as much as he could! That was where “he was to begin his pastoral work, in the presence of which, those with theological degrees and ecclesiastic offices ought to kneel”.His love and his ascetic labours brought God’s grace upon him; this humble priest (who officiated in the chapel of the Holy Unmercenaries and Physicians, Saints Cosmas and Damianos, situated inside the Hospital for Infectious Diseases)reached a high degree of sanctity – which he kept secret as much as he could – and became endowed with the gift of foresight, lofty spiritual experiences and visions and helped countless people of every social class and level of education – not only with his advice and his prayers, but also with his sanctified presence.

Ευμένιος Σαριδάκη_Elder Eumenius Saridakis_Св. старец Евмени Саридакис_πατηρ ευγενιοςThe Elder loved everyone, every individual personally, and he was particularly a laughing saint – his booming laugh was one of his distinctive features – likewise, he would often exit the Inner Sanctum during the course of a Liturgy, with his beard soaked by his tears, since he used to pray for all of our suffering and unfortunate fellow-men, obviously because he also had the gift of tears.Our beloved priest laughed; he used to laugh a lot. He would laugh together with us people and would infect us with his joy. He would laugh together with the saints, with the Lady Theotokos, with the angels, and would again infect us, with the joy of the saints, of the Lady Theotokos and of the angels. Which is why, whenever we paid him a visit feeling sad and tired in body and soul, we would depart with spirits…flying high. 

[…] “Whoever approached him saw a priest, a monk, with great joy reflected in his countenance. This joy would often be expressed with profuse laughter, which would either mingle with his words or overflow from the edges of his closed lips every time he remained silent. You could tell that it was the laughter of a grace-filled man, a heart brimming with a true divine serenity and joy that poured out and refreshed those near him and made them wonder. It was obvious that fr. Evmenios strived to restrain himself out of humility so that this divine trait would not be apparent, but he didn’t always succeed. 

At the Hospital for Infectious Diseases, he was blessed to meet the leprosied holy monk Nicephorus who, even though blinded by the illness, had nevertheless become a great spiritual father of many Christians and a teacher to Elder Evmenios. He spent the last two years of his life at the “Annunciation” Hospital and on May 23, 1999 he gave up his spirit in the Lord and was buried at his birth place (in Ethia), in accordance with his wishes. (cf. Monk Simon, Fr. Evmenios – The hidden saint of our time, Athens 2010, ed. 2, pp. 137-146).

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone

O God of our Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Thy gentleness: take not Thy mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide our life in peace.

Apolytikion St.Elder Evmenios Saridakis of lepers in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

In thee the image was preserved with exactness, O Father; for taking up thy cross, thou didst follow Christ, and by thy deeds thou didst teach us to overlook the flesh, for it passeth away, but to attend to the soul since it is immortal. Wherefore, O righteous Eumenius, thy spirit rejoiceth with the Angels.

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