St Iakovos Tsalikis of Evia, a Healer of Hearts

Holy Elder Iakovos Tsalikis of Evia reposed in the Lord on November 21 on the Feast of Hesychasm in the Entrance of the Theotokos. Commemorated on November 22.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28, 29

St. Iakovos of Evia lived for the Divine Liturgy, which he celebrated every day, with fear and trembling, dedicated and, literally, elevated. Young children and those with pure hearts saw him walking above the floor, or being served by holy angels. As he himself told a few people, he served together with Cherubim, Seraphim and the saints. During the Preparation, he saw angels of the Lord taking the portions of those being remembered and placing them before the throne of Christ, as prayers. When, because of health problems he felt weak, he would pray before the start of the Divine Liturgy and say, “Lord, as a man I can’t, but help me to celebrate.” After that, he said, he celebrated “as if he had wings.”

Throughout his entire ministry at the altar of God, Fr. Iakovos experienced many spiritual events. He became an earthly angel, a “concelebrant,” as he admitted to some ascetics, to the Seraphim, Cherubim, and saints. During prokosmedia one day, he was able to see the Most Pure Blood of the Lord and to touch it when he was preparing to cover the Precious Gifts.

Another time, Hieromonk Iakovos saw the angels of God who would meet those being commemorated and prayerfully lead to them to throne of Christ the Lord, to shelter them there.

He also saw, as he expressed it, “with his spiritual eye,” the reposed who came with open arms, somehow asking him to take out a particle for the repose of their souls. When Fr. Iakovos complied with their request, he saw how the departed left to go back.

And when he became abbot he always said that he wasn’t responsible for what happened in the monastery: ‘Saint David’s the abbot here’, he maintained. When he served with other priests, he went to the corner of the altar, leaving them to lead the service. When they told him: ‘This isn’t right, you’re the abbot of the monastery’, he’d reply: ‘Son, Saint David’s the abbot here’.

No one came out from under the stole of Fr. Iakovos without having received relief and support. The elder offered himself in sacrifice by his boundless love, despite suffering himself from many sicknesses, especially in his last years.

“The world,” the elder would tell those near to him, “is not in need of something to eat, or something to drink—it is in need of our love. If we give it as much as we can, then we will blossom as monks in this life.”

Giorgios Ioannidis, a physical therapist from the city of Volos, told, among other things, this story: “Leaving the Monastery of St. David, where I had been on pilgrimage with my family in September 1997, when I was at the gate I felt a strong desire to go and venerate Elder Iakovos’ grave again. I felt it, like someone who realizes he forgot something important and wants to go back to get it.

“I went back with my son, and about a yard away from the elder’s grave I saw a prayer rope lying on the ground. I picked it up and held it up so whichever of the pilgrims lost it would see it, so I could return it to him. But then I heard a voice from behind me saying, ‘What are you looking for? The prayer rope is for you.’

“I turned around, and a few feet away I saw the living Elder Iakovos, smiling at me. I saw him clear as day. I noticed his moist eyes, the lines on his face, and his beard.

“I realized something extraordinary, and it stunned me. The appearance in front of me of the living Elder Iakovos, in the literal sense, was decisive for me, imprinting certainly in the Divine presence.”

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