Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Saint Anthimos of Chios and the Demon Possessed Man


Saint Anthimos of Chios was a simple man who at the age of forty became a Great Schema Monk in Chios. A few years later, in 1910, he was chosen to become a Priest, but since he was illiterate he was sent to the area of Adramyttion (modern Turkish town of Edremit) in Smyrna, where his first cousin and her husband taught him to read and write. After learning to read and write over the course of some months, he was ordained a Priest in Smyrna and assigned to the Chapel of Saint Panteleimon.

There was at that time in Adramyttion a man who was harshly tormented by demons. Local residents had bound him with a large iron chain to the trunk of a large plane tree. Day and night he screamed wildly as he stood there naked and without food. Foam came out of his mouth, and there was fear and terror throughout the region.

Priests would go there and pray that God would show him compassion and heal him. Because they feared to approach him, they would read exorcisms and prayers from afar. When Anthimos became a priest, his sponsor urged him as follows:

"Why don't you go too in order to read some prayers for that unfortunate man?"

At first Anthimos avoided going. Eventually he made the decision and went a few times to read the exorcism prayers, chant services for the sanctification of the waters, and do supplicatory canons. Through the divine power of prayer the sick man was completely healed. In Adramyttion of Smyrna, news of the event of the healing of the demon possessed man spread quickly and the local residents considered Anthimos an Angel of God, to the point where they left their parishes and gathered in the small Chapel of Saint Panteleimon where the Priest Anthimos liturgized.