Ecumenical Patriarchate adds new saint to the Orthodox calendar: Elder Bessarion the Agathonite

The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate added on Tuesday a new saint to the Orthodox calendar: Archimandrite Bessarion Korkoliakos, also called “the Merciful Elder”, abbot of the Agathonos Monastery († January 22).

The saint was born in Messinia’s Petalidi, in the southwestern part of the Peloponnese Peninsula, in 1908 and was baptized Andreas. When he was 18 he went to Kalamata, where he met spiritual advisers and decided to become a monk.

Η Ι.Μ. Μεσσηνίας για την Αγιοκατάταξη του Οσίου Βησσαρίωνα του Αγαθωνίτου - ΒΗΜΑ ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΙΑΣ

He was tonsured with the name of Bessarion. He was later ordained a deacon and a priest. He would be advanced to the rank of Archimandrite later in life.

In 1935, he went to Karditsa, invited by the local metropolitan, where he got involved in social-philanthropic work at the local hospital.

During the German occupation, he helped numerous patriots and personally saved children captured by the Nazis.

After 1955, he became a spiritual father of the Agathonos Monastery. From there, twice a week, he visited the hospitals in Lamia, where he consoled patients and received their confessions. He financially helped those who came to tell him about their difficulties. He gave to the poor whatever he had.

During Lent time he would leave the monastery and go to the villages in the Fthiotida Prefecture, where he gave spiritual advice and received confessions.

He fell asleep into the Lord at the Sotiria Hospital in Athens on January 22, 1991.

During the funeral, his face beamed and his body was fragrant. He could not be buried in the cemetery because of the harsh wintertime, so he was buried in the Baptisterium, where the monastery confessionals were. People showed their reverence at his tomb and there are accounts of miracles happening at his grave.

His body was found incorrupt and fragrant on March 3, 2006, when he had to be exhumed following a collapse of part of the Baptisterium.

Photo credit: Orthodoxia News Agency

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