Papa-Dimitri Gagastathis – The Man of God (1902-1975)
Published by Orthodox Kypseli, 1977.
Many people are embarrassed or even offended by the thought that others might characterize them as simple. Even as Orthodox Christians, we may admire simplicity in others but we seldom make a conscious effort to nurture it in ourselves, forgetting that the Lord said plainly “unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 18:3).
Papa-Dimitri (1902-1975) lived in the small village of Platanos on the Thessalian plain. He grew up in a poor family with 11 children. In May 1931, he was ordained to the priesthood, and served in the Church of the Archangels, the parish of his youth. In 1966 he was diagnosed with cancer. An operation in 1969 provided him a few years’ reprieve, but the disease returned, finally claiming his life on January 29, 1975.
Father Dimitrios was a simple man chosen by God to enlighten others in the dark days of war torn Greece. He had no education and could not even conduct a proper sermon. In his great simplicity and love for God, he became worthy of receiving God’s grace abundantly and became a living sermon himself. He lived amidst the cares and problems of everyday life that beset us all. At the same time, through his great love and devotion to God, his childlike purity of heart, meekness and humility, he lived effectively among the Saints in Heaven.
The life, miracles and spiritual counsels of Fr Dimitri are divided into three sections in this book, which contains interesting short stories and pictures from his life. He is an example and guide for all of us. His humility is exemplified in the way he referred to himself: “If you learn that I left this world, don’t get sad, but rather be happy because the Church will have gotten rid of the most sinful and unlearned priest of the era”!
Source: October-November 2014 Lychnos Edition