I had a very rare occasion to listen to Fr Iakovos of Simonopetra monastery and I thank God for that. The video recording of both sessions is available in the Media section of this website, but for those who don’t have time I just wanted to share a story told by Fr Iakovos.
“We had a father at our monastery whose name was Kallistos and he ended up falling into the sin of greed. He always wanted more and always wanted also to be a wealthy individual so that if in fact something was going to happen to him he was going to be able to leave from the monastery and go out and do that which he had to do with the funds that he would collect, because he was working at the flour mill that we had and he would be getting paid for grinding of the wheat. He would take the money and he would turn it into gold coins. And he would take these gold coins and the people that were here they took the walk with me they saw the house that he lived in, the mill that he worked in. He would take these gold coins and he would store them in the ceiling of his house, so that it would be hidden far away from anybody. Only he knew about this. And one night in the winter when it was cold and he was grinding the flour, he had a fire going on in the fireplace and the chimney had a damage to it and the fire was leaking out from the chimney up in the attic. The attic caught on fire and he didn’t know that during the Turkish occupation on the Holy Mountain up in the attic there were crated of TNT. The whole roof blew itself off. The fathers came running up to see what happened. And here they see father Kallistos coming out all tattered but with nothing wrong with him even though the house have been destroyed. The roof collapsed. He came out and the abbott when he looked at him he said: tell me the sin that you have not confessed that our Lord has allowed you to live in order to say it. And he got on his knees and he confessed his sinfulness of greed and his desire to want more and how he collected gold pieces and was ready to go out in the world to live his licentious life. The abbott gave him his forgiveness and he pledged something which we have here: may your yes be yes and your no be no. He said: I will enter into the monastery and I will never leave from the door of that monastery until it comes time that I am going to brought out on my deathbed. He put away the thought of going out into the world and living a licentious life. And father Kallistos exactly did what he said he would do. And they brought him out on his deathbed and they buried him 23 years after this event. He never left the doors of the monastery. That’s a committed individual. And he had no need of a doctor, no need of a physician, nothing came wrong with him, why? – because he was living a life of perfection, living a life of commitment and our Lord was his comfort.”