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I remember Fr. Sophrony saying to us, ‘Make your spiritual father a prophet!’ Fr. Zacharias of Essex

Εισόδια της Θεοτόκου_Entrance of the Theotokos_Введение во храм Пресвятой Богородицы_4VDkktvxo8c

Holy Elder Iakovos Tsalikis of Evia, Abbot of the Monastery of Blessed David (+1991)

reposed in the Lord on November 21, on the Feast of Hesychasm in the Entrance of the Theotokos

Words of Eternal Life by Father Zacharias (Zacharou) of Essex

Question 5: In the monastic life it is easy to see who might be your elders, but how can we identify these persons in our life in the world? From what sources can we find our elders outside of that life?

Άγιος Γέροντας Ιάκωβος της Εύβοιας_St. elder Iakovos of Evia_Старец Иаков (Тсаликис) Эвбейский -πολυχρονιας7Answer 5: This has always been an important question in the life of the Church, and I remember St. Symeon the NewTheologian saying that one must seek for an elder with tears. Pray to God that He gives you one and, if you do not find one, then speak to God directly, pouring out your heart to Him with tears, and the Lord Himself will be your Teacher. What I say now is a bit risky and dangerous, but it is easy to suppose that there are no such elders any more. I believe that if we are humble, it is easier to find one. If we are humble, we can make anybody a prophet, because if we approach with a humble heart and trust, then God will speak to us. I remember Fr. Sophrony saying to us, ‘Make your spiritual father a prophet!’ That is to say, approach with faith and trust, and God will inspire him to give you a word. As I have said earlier, true repentance proves that God is just, righteous and blessed in all His ways, and that we are liars. It often happens that we, the spiritual fathers, do not know what we are saying. People come and ask a word of us. Sometimes the word comes naturally without our realising it; at other times, nothing comes. It does not depend only on us; it depends also on the faith of the person who asks. A little girl, twelve years old, came to me and said, ‘Sometimes I have proud thoughts; tell me what to do.’ And I said to that little girl, ‘Give thanks to God for all the things He has done for you. Give thanks to Him for every breath of air He gives you.’ And that little girl grabbed my word and ran away happily. Forgive me for talking about myself, but it is the only way to speak concretely about these things. There is a dangerous side to it, because we can spoil the ethos of our life and of the Church, but I am now speaking among my fellows, among priests, and I feel I can be more specific and open. We must do everything in such a way as not to usurp the spiritual space of the other, of our fellows. And if we are to succeed in this, we have to be careful not to lose our humility.

Archimandrite Zacharias (Zacharou): The Hidden Man of the Heart (Essex, Stavropegic Monastery of St John the Baptist, 2007)

Παναγια_Божией Матери Икона_Virgin Mary -Byzantine Orthodox Icon-theotokos

Apolytikion St.Elder Iakovos of Evia 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 Iakovus, thy spirit rejoiceth with the Angels.

Blessed St. Fr. Iakovos of Evia pray to God for us! May each of us learn humility and charity, and live as beacons of Christ’s light to the world. May we each learn to be “Fools for Christ” in our own lives, and shed the trappings of the world to embrace a spiritual manner of living with poverty of spirit, faith and prayer of heart. Amen.

Through the prayers of our Father blessed St. Iakovos of Evia, of all the ascetic Fathers and all the saints, O Lord of compassion and hope, have mercy on us and save us!

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