The State of Mount Athos commemorates Venerable Ieronymos Simopetritis following the synodical decision taken by the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the 27th November 2019 when the Venerable was included in the Orthodox Church calendar.
The Venerable came to the Monastery of Simonos Petra at the age of seventeen and remained there for 43 whole years serving as Abbot of the monastery from 1920 to 1931.
Then, in 1957, he served as Chancellor and spiritual father at the Metochion of Simonopetra, which is located on the foothills of Hymettos mountain before the refugee settlements and the agglomeration of Vyronas and Kaisariani being constructed. There, he fell asleep in the Lord and was buried.
The Venerable was born in the village of Reisdere in Asia Minor. He is also known as “Ioannis Diakogiorgis” and was coming from poor and pious parents, Nikolaos and Maria Diakogiorgis. He was “poor from poor parents,” as he liked to call himself. He used to spend his free time at the village church.
As an adult, he went to Mount Athos, specifically to the Monastery of Simonos Petra (28 October 1888), where mainly monks from Asia Minor had settled. He became a monk on the 21st of March, 1893, on Palm Sunday.
On the 11th of April, 1920 he has ordained a deacon, on the 12th of April 12 of the same year an elder and on the 20th of April, 1920, Sunday of the Myrrh Bearers, he was enthroned an abbot of the monastery. He was abbot at the Monastery of Simonos Petras from 1920 to 1931.
Moreover, he was elected abbot of the monastery in 1920. The calendar reform took place in 1924 and on the feast of the Annunciation he officiated for the first time in accordance with the new calendar at the Metochion of the Ascension. “This provoked a strong reaction in the monastery so that when he returned, a group of monks forbad him to enter the church for six months. He calmly endured the ordeal without giving up his position.
He was accused of poor financial management and, after a decision taken by the Community of Mount Athos, he was exiled to the Koutloumousiou Monastery for six months. Although he knew the name of the real embezzler, he never betrayed him and, therefore, he suffered the consequences. He also prayed for his accusers and slanderers.
Subsequently, the Community acknowledged his innocence and he was sent to the Metochion of the Monastery of Simonos Petra located in the refugee district of Vyronas in Athens. There, he helped the residents many of whom were his compatriots of Asia Minor, who were in need in a spiritual and material way.
He was devoted to charity work but the monastery reprimanded him, believing that he was exaggerating. He was sleeping on a stool or in a chair and was economising even on water. He was a discreet and foresight person. He was frequently visiting the Metochion of Saint Charalambos in Thessaloniki in order to hear confessions and support the faithful. In fact, in 1937 he was offered to become abbot again, but he discreetly denied.
He died at the age of 86 on the 7th January 1957 and was buried in the Metochion of the Ascension in Vyronas. His relics were translated by his compatriot, Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Athens, in 1965 and those present at the ceremony reported that the relics of the Venerable were fragrant. Today, his relics are kept in the Monastery of Simonos Petra and during the first celebration of the Divine Liturgy after his canonisation, the wooden box with his skull and his relics was placed on the abbot’s throne as a way to apologise for his unjust persecution.
He was canonised by the Orthodox Church in 2019 and he is commemorated on the 9th of May each year. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, during his visit to Mount Athos in October 2019, announced before the Assembly of the Holy Community that the Ecumenical Patriarchate would proceed with the procedure of the canonisation of Elder Ieronymos Simonopetritis. The Holy and Sacred Synod led by the Ecumenical Patriarch included him in the Hagiologion of the Orthodox Church on the 27th November 2019.