Saint Iakovos (Jacob, James) Tsalikis of Evia
Commemorated on November 22
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30.
”Young Iakovos expressed from a young age an inclination for monastic life. He was known as the monk in the village because of his monastic practices of fasting and prayer. While still a young boy he had a visitation from Saint Paraskevi who revealed to him in detail the religious life that he would follow in his life. His fervor for the Church from a young boy was so profound that he learned by heart the whole text of the Divine Liturgy at age seven….”
Saint Iakovos said: “I, my brother, say these things to the Saint’s ears, and he opens a direct line with our Christ!”
When we put on the cassock, we begin with the goal of sanctifying our soul. Care is necessary, however. For love of the world’s honor and glory, our egotism can make us lose our soul, rather than sanctify it.
Priests’ wives must live a holy, nearly monastic life, with great reverence toward the priest, and must dress very modestly.
” Priests shouldn’t cut their hair. In Asia Minor, when priesys would comb their hair, they would put a white clth down and whatever strands of hair fell, they would gather, put them in a little bag, and when they died, they would bury it with them. Thus is because, when the Holy Spirit descends during ordination, the priest is sanctified; even his hair is sanctified.”
People are blind and do not see what takes place in church during the Divine Liturgy. Once I was serving and I could not make the Great Entrance because of what I saw. I suddenly felt someone pushing me by my shoulder and guiding me toward the holy prothesis. I thought it was the chanter. I turned around and saw a huge wing that the Archangel had laid on my shoulder, and that he was guiding me to make the Great Entrance. What amazing things take place in the altar during the Divine Liturgy! … Sometimes I cannot handle it, and so I pass out in a chair, and thus some concelebrants conclude that I have got something wrong with my health, but they do not realize what I see and hear.
When the priest cuts of the particles from the prosphora and commemorates the names of the faithful during the prothesis, and angel of the Lord descends and takes this commemoration and places it before the throne of Christ as a prayer for those commemorated.
In the beginning of 1989, the Elder Iakovos became very distressed by afflictions that befell persons he knew and loved. He received a phone call from the village of Prokopi. Father John (Vernezos), the priest in charge of the shrine of Saint John the Russian, had just come back from America where he had undergone heart surgery.
In spite of all odds, the difficult by-pass operation was successful. Saint John the Russian had also been present and directed the effort! The doctor in charge acknowledged, in fact, that some power was guiding his hand.
Despite his own bad health and the bad weather – it was winter – Father Elder Iakovos visited with Father John in his house. Not only that, but upon arrival, he also asked forgiveness: “Excuse me for troubling you, but I had to come and visit the servant of the divine John the Russian!” The people in the house thought that some bodiless, weightless angel had entered the home, for his figure emitted a serene light.
Seeing the incision in Father John’s leg where the veins had been removed for the by-pass, Elder Iakovos stooped – rather, fell down – and embraced Father John’s legs. Blessed Elder Iakovos, now in his latter years, had great respect for priests and thought that priests were somehow angelic.
He could not offer theological explanations, but by his humble demeanor he demonstrated his direct living contact with God. He never entertained any thoughts about preaching, but he was himself a living sermon. His words and counsels were plain and practical – no analyses or elaboration. He used short phrases, often elliptic, even incomplete. However, this does not mean that his words were in any way deficient. On the contrary, they possessed divine power and penetrating ability that comforted and enlightened the hearts of his listeners. The grace filling the Elder’s soul imparted in his words a divine breath that touched the human soul. Anyone who got to know him, could see in him a manifestation of God’s presence and divine energies on earth.
His “teaching” was basically a recounting of the miracles and signs performed, as he said by St David and St John the Russian. It was not organized along lecture lines. Only at the end of his narration, after describing how some people had come to repent, how others had become well through the power of St David’s holy relics, would he give some special advice to each case.
The Elder used to say, “My heart is like a garden.” “My heart, my child, is a garden”. He had reached such a degree of spiritual dispassion that his heart became the garden of the Holy Spirit. Despite his many illnesses and sufferings and his distress over others misfortunes, he remained joyful and cautioned everyone about depression. He knew that depression was the world’s most painful disease.
His apparitions are countless. Many call upon him and the Elder hastens to help them. Many who are sick are healed and many find help in their spiritual and material problems. He comforts everyone. From The Garden of the Holy Spirit: Elder Iakovos of Evia (1920-1991)
St. Iakovos of Evia pray to God for us! Pray that we labor in the fast with joy, and let God’s light illumine our hearts. Pray that our days are filled with humility, and that we learn to love others in charity, just as God loves us. Pray that we can learn to live out our Christian vocation in all times and places, and in all circumstances.