St Iakovos of Evia
(Commemorated 22nd November)
St Iakovos Tsalikis was born in the village of Livisi, Asia Minor, in 1920. After the destruction of Smyrna by the Turks in 1922, and the forceful deportation of the Greeks, the Livisian refugees eventually settled in the small village of Farakla on the Greek island of Evia. Growing up in Farakla, St Iakovos attended primary school and became immersed in the life of the Church, where he would chant hymns and read prayers. His sanctity was evident from a young age and many of his fellow villagers would ask him to read prayers over them for healing. In one instance, when he was only nine, St Iakovos healed his brother from a snake bite after saying a brief prayer. As a layman, St Iakovos lived an ascetic life.
After serving in the army and saving enough money for his sister’s dowry, he was free to pursue his dream of becoming a monk. At the age of 31 he entered the monastery of St David the Elder, being miraculously greeted at the gate by St David himself. Having endured many temptations at the monastery, even from his fellow monks, St Iakovos was tonsured a monk and then ordained priest in 1952. As a monk, he was hardworking, obedient and ascetic, even while tormented by many illnesses. He would spend his nights at the cave of St David in all night vigils where he would perform thousands of prostrations, read from the psalms and the Supplicatory canons, and repeat the Jesus prayer. The ascetic feats of St Iakovos, coupled with his humility and patience in the face of many temptations formed him into a vessel of the Holy Spirit.
As a priest, he would frequently serve the Divine Liturgy, and would see Angels in the sanctuary with him. St Iakovos was given many spiritual gifts including the power to perform miracles and expel demons. He would directly converse with saints, especially St David, whom he considered his Abbot, and St John the Russian. Having been Abbot of the monastery since 1975, the holy ascetic passed away on the feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos in 1991. St Iakovos of Evia was declared a saint in 2017, and his feast day will be celebrated on the 22nd of November. May we all have his blessing!
Source: Lychnos November/December 2018