Elder Gervasios Paraskevopoulos
Abbot Holy Monastery of Saint Anthony the Great
Yet another holy elder who was a spiritual child of St Nectarios of Aegina is elder Gervasios of Patra. He was instrumental in reviving, with much zeal, the Orthodox faith among young and old. In 1923, he founded the first catechetical schools of Patra. His students numbered in the thousands.
“I remember him”, writes Professor Panagiotis Trembelas, “surrounded by a multitude of children … with what patience, what approachability, with how much love and calmness he stood!” He paid great attention to the girls because he believed that the renewal of society, and the future of the nation, depended on the heart of the family – the mother. “Give me mothers,” he used to say, “and if everything else is abolished, but the bond of the family remains unharmed, do not fear … the woman can prove to be vital to civilization.”
In 1946 he also established summer camps for the youth where they could learn about their faith and participate in church services. His spiritual children recount: “it was moving to see young people aged 12 and 14 saying in their conversations: ‘The Fathers do not say this,’ or ‘Thus says the Tradition of our Church’.” During the last years of his life, when he was less mobile, he preached to the multitudes with a microphone from his bed into a special room outside his cell, which was set aside for this purpose.
His talks were so moving that many times people would confess their sins publicly. He reposed in the Lord at the age of 87 on June 30, 1964. His relics were translated in 2014 to the Church of St Paraskevi at the Anaplastiki School in Patra, which he also founded. His philanthropic activity, his gentle presence, and his untiring ministry made him a true model of a priest.
Source: Lychnos October-November 2019