St Ieronymos of Simonopetra
St Ieronymos of Simonopetra is one of the most recent saints of our Church, having been canonised on 28 November 2019.
He was born with the name John in 1871 in Reis-Dere of Asia Minor. His parents, Nicholas and Maria, were very pious Christians, and many members of John’s family became monks and nuns. From a young age, John grew up in poverty and learnt to depend entirely on the Lord.
This dependence, along with the joy which he found in it, brought him to the Holy Mountain in 1888. He became a novice at Simonopetra Monastery at the age of 16, and quickly distinguished himself through his obedience, his humility and his ascetism. He would never lie down, instead choosing to sleep for short periods on his chair. He spent the remaining time in prayer, in counselling others, in studying, and in performing even the most menial tasks.
In 1920, having been at the Monastery for 32 years, he was unanimously elected Abbot by the brotherhood. Despite his added responsibilities, as well as worsening health conditions, he continued living an inspiring example of humility and discernment. After 11 years, however, he was exiled due to slanderous accusations of financial management. He thus joined the company of many great Saints of our Church who were also exiled, such as St John Chrysostom, St Athanasios the Great, and St Nektarios of Aegina.
Instead of staying on Mt. Athos, he was sent to the Metochion of the Divine Ascension in Athens. Here, he lived as a godly messenger: confessing and advising the faithful, giving away everything he possessed, and performing many miracles. He did this until his death on 6 January 1957, all without paying any attention to his own comforts, tiredness, and constant ill-health.
We commemorate St Ieronymos’ feast day on 9 May, being the day his Holy Relics were translated.
May he intercede to God for us.
Source: Lychnos June-July 2020 edition