St. Ieronymos (Jerome) of Aegina
• Newly glorified St. Ieronymos (Jerome) of Aegina
Article will appear in the January issue of Orthodox Tradition
Official Declaration (Διακήρυξις) of the Sanctity of St. Ieronymos (Jerome) of Aegina
St. Gregory Palamas Monastery
On October 3, 2014 (Old Style), on the Island of Aegina, Greece, the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece celebrated the official Declaration of the Sanctity of the Elder Ieronymos of Aegina and the entering of his name among the Saints of the Orthodox Church (Ἁγιοκατάταξη). Somewhat imprecisely called the “Glorification” of a Saint, and wholly wrongly a Saint’s “Canonization,” this ecclesiastical act begins with the recognition, by the People of God, of a holy man or woman’s spiritual charisms, eminence, or miraculous deeds, followed by the Church’s acknowledgment thereof and his or her formal and official liturgical commemoration. The celebration held on Aegina, at the Church of the Holy Unmercenaries (built by Saint Ieronymos himself), was, indeed, the joyous culmination of this ancient process.
Saint Ieronymos was born Basil Apostolides in Karvali (in ancient times, Karbala), Cappadocia, or Güzelyurt (Gelveri, Kelveri), Turkey, in 1883. He was ordained in his native land and served as a Deacon at the Church of St. George in Constantinople. With the exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey that was arranged at the Treaty of Lausanne in the 1920s, he found himself in Greece as a refugee, eventually ending up, after his Ordination as a Hieromonk in 1923, on the island of Aegina. He became known as a gifted confessor, a healer, serving as a hospital chaplain, and as a clairvoyant. In 1940, he returned to the Church (Old) Calendar, stating: “The Church of Greece, by changing the festal calendar, has become diseased, a change that was the beginning and cause of many evil things.” Without condemning anyone, and avoiding factionalism, he lived out the rest of his life as a monastic hermit, considered by all, Old and New Calendarists alike, to be a Saint. He reposed in 1966, and his funeral was served by Metropolitan Akakios of Attica and Diavleia, the oldest living Bishop of our Holy Synod.
See, at left, moments from the emotion-filled service celebrating the newly revealed Saint Ieronymos, presided over by Archbishop Kallinikos, with many of the Synod’s Hierarchs present, including His Grace, Bishop Auxentios of Photike. Photos: (At left, top to bottom, the Divine Liturgy; a number of the faithful, who spilled out into the courtyard, since the small Church could not accommodate them;) His Beatitude blessing those present with the Saint’s Relics; and the reliquary containing his Relics. Below, an Icon of Saint Ieronymos, capturing his humility and boundless love, having once commented: “I do not consider prayer offered by a person whose heart does not bleed with love and pain [for his fellow man] to rise up to God.”
A popular biography of the Saint, in which many of his sayings can be found, was written several decades ago by Petros Botses: Γέροντας ̔Ιερώνυμος, ὁ Ἡσυχαστὴς τῆς Αἴγινας (Elder Ieronymos, the Hesychast of Aegina), published in Athens by the author in a number of editions. (We have used the 2006 edition.) An English translation, with various addenda, was published in 2007 by the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline, MA.