Father Simon Arvanitis (1901-1988)
Father Simon was born in 1901 in Koukouvaounes, Attica, Greece. At the age of 16 he went to Mount Athos with friends in order to receive the blessing of Metropolitan Nectarios (St Nectarios). The Saint took his hands and told him prophetically: “You will become a Spiritual Father and save souls”.
Simon’s love for God grew, and at age 24 he secretly left his family to be tonsured a monk at the monastery of St Haralambos. However he longed to be a cave-dwelling hermit, and continually begged this from the Monastery elders. The elders prayed for a week to Panagia to determine the correct path. After a week, Simon was told: “The Holy Mother informed us that you must return to the world which needs you to be led to salvation”. In obedience, he left Mount Athos and was ordained a priest-monk.
He gathered several monks around him and countless spiritual children who remember his great faith and miracles. One of these monks, Zosimas, had a phobia of the dark. Fr Simon prayed over him and allowed him to sleep in his own cell while he, the elder, slept on the roof of the cell. Zosimas had a dream that the devil appeared and said: “Your Elder is up on the roof and I can’t come inside”. With the prayers of Fr Simon, he was healed.
Fr Simon reposed in 1988. On the day of his burial, the grace of God was evident. The Metropolitan approached to kiss his body and the elder lifted his hand for the Metropolitan to kiss. Contemporary Saints such as St Iakovos Tsalikis knew and admired the Christian work of Fr Simon during his lifetime. His selflessness, wisdom and love inspired countless struggling Christians during his life and after his blessed repose.
Source: Lychnos August/September 2018