The Garden of the Holy Spirit: Saint Iakovos of Evia
by Professor Stylianos Papadopoulos
Published by Orthodox Witness 2018
The Garden of the Holy Spirit is a spiritual biography describing the life of a contemporary Greek Orthodox Elder, Iakovos Tsalikis, abbot of the Monastery of Saint David in Evia, Greece. The Elder’s biography begins with his family’s flight as refugees from Asia Minor to the island of Evia. It follows with a description of the Elder’s early life, especially his upbringing in the faith by his pious mother, his asceticism, and his love for prayer and the sacred Church services. From a young age, the spiritual diligence and self-sacrifice of Iakovos was rewarded by God with an abundance of spiritual gifts, and the book recounts miraculous instances of the power of his prayers.
At one time when the children of his village contracted mumps, their parents gathered them all to see Iakovos who was then just a teenager. After reading prayers for them and blessing them, the children instantly became well. After the patient struggles of Iakovos in the world, he entered into the monastery of St David. There, the young monk faced harsh trials as he performed his monastic duties. He endured temptations from the older monks as well as the demons. The author imparts his intimate knowledge of St Iakovos’ ascetic practices which enables the reader to follow his path to sanctity.
Apart from the labours of his monastic obedience and frequent illnesses, St Iakovos undertook the further spiritual exercise of keeping all-night prayer vigils at the hermitage of his predecessor, St David of Evia. His asceticism and patience formed him into a charismatic Elder with spiritual vision. The gifts he was graced with included seeing angels and saints before him when serving at the altar, and seeing the sins of those who came to him during confession before they opened their mouths. Many more examples of St Iakovos’ spiritual gifts are given in the book which acquaints the reader with the life and spiritual journey of this inspirational modern Orthodox saint.
Source: Lychnos December 2018 / January 2019