Leprosy brought him to the Hospital for Infectious
Diseases in the St.Barbara suburb of Athens. He
was healed there, but, having seen human suffering,
he decided to remain at the Hospital as a priest, in
order to help comfort his fellow-men as much as he
could! That was where “he was to begin his
pastoral work, in the presence of which, those with
theological degrees and ecclesiastic offices ought
His love and his ascetic labours brought God’s grace
upon him; this humble priest (who officiated in the
chapel of the Holy Unmercenaries and Physicians,
Saints Cosmas and Damianos, situated inside the
Hospital for Infectious Diseases)
reached a high degree of
sanctity – which he kept secret as much as
he could – and became
endowed with the gift of foresight, lofty spiritual
experiences and visions and helped countless
people of every social class and level of education
- not only with his advice and his prayers, but also
with his sanctified presence.
The Elder loved everyone, every individual
personally, and he was particularly a laughing saint
– his booming laugh was one of his distinctive
features – likewise, he would often exit the Inner
Sanctum during the course of a Liturgy, with his
beard soaked by his tears, since he used to pray for
all of our suffering and unfortunate fellow-men,
obviously because he also had the gift of tears.
Our beloved priest laughed; he used to laugh a lot.
He would laugh together with us people and would
infect us with his joy. He would laugh together with
the saints, with the Lady Theotokos, with the
angels, and would again infect us, with the joy of
the saints, of the Lady Theotokos and of the angels.
Which is why, whenever we paid him a visit feeling
sad and tired in body and soul, we would depart with
Fr. Evmenios also often laughed during the course of
services - sometimes while reading the holy gospel
or while censing the icon of the Lady Theotokos
during the chanting of the hymn in Her honour: “More
precious than the Cherubim…” [an important
troparion in honour of the Holy Mother, chanted at a
predetermined point of the daily morning service –
Matins], or during the “Paraclesis” services [Paraclesis
= Entreaty; aka “Paracletic Canon” = a musical +
poetic work comprised of prayers to the Holy Mother
or to a Saint. Christians often read paraclesies in
their homes, but they are also chanted in the temple].
[…] “Whoever approached him saw a priest, a monk,
with great joy reflected in his countenance. This
joy would often be expressed with profuse laughter,
which would either mingle with his words or overflow
from the edges of his closed lips every time he
remained silent. You could tell that it was the
laughter of a grace-filled man, a heart brimming
with a true divine serenity and joy that poured out
and refreshed those near him and made them wonder.
It was obvious that fr. Evmenios strived to restrain
himself out of humility so that this divine trait
would not be apparent, but he didn’t always succeed.
Whenever I visited him I would receive this gift –
that is, his joy and his “different” laughter, which
flowed right into to my heart. When he donned his
hieratic attire and stood at the Beautiful Gate to
say “Peace be to all” or to cense the icon of our
Panagía at the iconostasis, his face - compared to
his resplendent hieratical attire – shone far more
brightly. Especially when in front of the icon of
the Theotokos, during the hymn “More precious than
the Cherubim…” or during the Salutations to the
Theotokos, he would actually hail Her, flooded with
joy and laughing on his own, as if the Theotokos had
just given him some pleasant news […]”
(cf. Monk Simon, Fr. Evmenios – The hidden saint
of our time, Athens 2010, ed. 2, pp. 137-146).
Elder Porphyrios used to say about Elder Evmenios:
“You should go and receive the blessing of Elder
Evmenios, for he is the hidden Saint of our time. A
saint like Elder Evmenios comes along only once
every two hundred years”.
At the Hospital for Infectious Diseases, he was
blessed to meet the leprosied holy monk Nicephorus
who, even though blinded by the illness, had
nevertheless become a great spiritual father of many
Christians and a teacher to Elder Evmenios.
He spent the last two years of his life at the
“Annunciation” Hospital and on May 23, 1999 he gave
up his spirit in the Lord and was buried at his
birth place (in Ethia), in accordance with his
The Elder’s prayer (“And God was pleased”)
The holy Elder’s secret life (= his personal ascetic
struggles) is not widely known. However, the
following prayer of his is of particular importance;
a prayer that is included along with much more
information on his life and the witness of many
people who had met him (as well as many testimonies
about his Holy-Spiritual (= miraculous) charismas),
in the excellent book by Monk Simon, Fr. Evmenios
– The hidden saint of our time, Athens 2010, ed.
2, pp. 133-134. Metropolitan Neophytus of Morphos,
Cyprus, narrates the following story:
“A very important event from Elder Evmenios’ life
that I recall, is a prayer that he had coined:
“Lord Jesus Christ, I want You to save all
“And God was pleased”, he would tell me.
“And then I said: ‘Lord Jesus Christ, I want You
to save all the Catholics. And all the
Protestants, my Christ, I want You to save
them”. And God was pleased.
“I also want You to save the Moslems and all
those who belong to all the religions; I want
You to save even the atheists”. And God was very
And I told him: “My Christ, I want you to save
all those who have fallen asleep, from the time
of Adam until now”. And God was very pleased.
And I told him: ‘My God, I want you to save
Judas also’. And finally I added: ‘I want you to
save the devil also’. And God was saddened”.
I told him: “Why was God sad?”
“Because God wants to, but they don’t (want to
be saved)”, he replied; “there is not a trace of
good will for salvation in the devil”.
“Hold on”, I told him, “how did you know when
God was pleased and when He was sad?”
And he said to me: “If your heart becomes one
with Christ’s heart, you feel what He feels”.
So, can you perceive the breadth of this man’s
heart? This was one of the most powerful things I
have ever heard; and I have never heard something
like it by anyone else. And he perceived those
things from the intensity of Grace. Depending on the
degree of Grace, he was able to perceive His sadness
or His pleasure, to whatever he said or did”.
[Grace: God’s benevolent energy, which emanates
towards every creature and, depending on the degree
that man opens up to that energy (= he desires it
and becomes suitable for it to enter him by
cultivating humble love), he is saved and becomes a
saint. According to the holy Fathers, Grace is
“uncreated”, in other words, not manufactured: it is
emitted directly by God; it is not a creation of
His; thus, whoever opens up and divine Grace enters
inside him will have God Himself inside him, not a
creation. In other words he becomes united to God
The battle with the enemy (the devil)
Because many of our readers would like something
more on the subject, let us mention a few more
excerpts from fr. Simon’s book (pp. 60-65).
The enemy struck when, after a series of demonic
visions with wild beasts, the Elder (a young and
inexperienced priest at the time, albeit with faith,
full of love and a champion of prayer) ceased to
have any demonic offenses and felt that he had
“vanquished the devil” and had made a fool of him.
That moment was an egotistic fall into a trap and
the enemy struck him as he was descending the stairs
at the Infectious Diseases Hospital - first on his
face and eventually on his soul.
that period of his life, the Elder said: “It was a
time when my tears burned my face; scalding hot
tears”. His suffering ended, not with the help of
psychiatry, but after fasting, vigils and numerous
visits, in the company of faithful friends and
fellow-villagers, to the monasteries of Crete.
According to the holy elder, the final battle
against the enemy took place at the Monastery of
Panagía of Koudoumá; a victory by the Panagía for
It should be noted that the Monastery of Koudoumá
(south of the Heraklion province) is one of the most
important Orthodox monasteries of Crete and many
saints rose there, such as Saints Parthenius and
Evmenios (they fell asleep in the early years of the
20th century), Joachim the Dwarf,
Gennadius (later ascetic of Akoumiani of Gialia in
the Rethymnon province) and others.
A poem dedicated to the venerable Elder Evmenios
I do not recall the exact date -
after all, I’m not very good with numbers;
they have too much logic and they tire me.
But what I certainly do recall
is that when the blessed relic arrived in our
after a two-day pilgrimage to the capital
I went up to the village to see a Saint.
After all, such a phenomenon is not that
When I drew near him,
a radiance that scorched every hesitation
and rationalizing custom
appeared vibrantly on his countenance.
No!!! It wasn’t just me who could see it;
there were many there, with lit candles
and wounded hearts:
He was glowing!!!!!!
But that glow had nothing of this here creation.
It was not a light in a sky of ours,
nor was it a form like those that adorn the
of our space and time.
It was not a frame that awakens one from
and loneliness for those departed.
It was a light, out of the light.
A radiance, of an Easter adorned.
But most of all, the thing that muted the sounds
and silenced and calmed
the innermost voices of my defiant thoughts was
… those weary feet of the Saint:
they were warm and soft, like his heart;
and yet, three days had passed since he fell