Wednesday, September 9, 2009

St. Joachim "Papoulakis" of Vatopedi and Ithaca

Picture from the reception of the Holy Relics of St. Joachim Papoulakis in Levkada (taken from:
Our venerable father among the saints Joachim of Vatopaidi (also known as Papoulakis*) or Joachim of Ithaka is remembered by the Church on March 2nd (the date of his repose) and May 23 (the date of the uncovering of his relics).
[*Note that St. Joachim Papoulakis of Vatopedi is distinct from the Righteous Monk Christopher Papoulakos, who similarly was a monk who preached to the Greek people (see a previous post for more info on Monk Christopher Papoulakos:]

St. Joachim "Papoulakis" of Ithaka was born in 1786 as John Patrikios to the devout parents, Angelos and Agnes Patrikios, in the little village of Kalyvia of Ithaka in Greece. At a very early age, his mother passed away and his father remarried. His stepmother would be moved in jealousy towards the young child and it was well known that she mistreated him. This forced him at an early age to learn patience and he learnt to spend many hours hiding from her; reading the Holy Scriptures and praying at a small church near his home dedicated to St. Spyridon.
He joined the family business and worked for his father as a sailor. One one of his trips, he visited Mount Athos, where he became a monk and stayed at the Monastery of Vatopaidi taking on the name of "Joachim".
In 1827, the saint returned to Ithaka and served the church there for the remainder of his life. He peacefully fell asleep in the Lord in Vathi of Ithaka on March 2, 1868.
He was a model monastic, ascetic, hesychast, and shepherd of rational sheep, who like another St. Cosmas Aitolos distributed the Grace of God to many of the storm-tossed faithful. He was declared a Saint in 1998 (the 43rd Saint of the Monastery of Vatopedi), and he continues to work many miracles after death as he did in life.
(changed from the version on Wikipedia:

A full life of St. Joachim has been written by Elder Joseph of Vatopedi, and it is available in parts on a blog dedicated to the monastery:

For the introduction of Fr. Ephraim, the Abbot of Vatopedi, see:

Here is just one of the many miracles of St. Joachim mentioned:
"K. Koutsouvelis from Kionio recounted that a certain man from Anogi had been nurturing a bitter hatred for a fellow villager of his, for reasons of honor. Unable to free himself from this passion, he was thinking about taking the man’s life and was already planning in his mind how to carrying it out. No one suspected his intentions, and perhaps even the intended victim had no idea of his disposition. One day he was informed that his enemy was in Stavros, and that during the night he would be returning to Anogi. He saw this as a suitable opportunity to wait in ambush in a hidden place, and the moment the man passed by, he would shoot him with his gun.
While blessed Papoulakis was praying for the unfortunate state of all humanity, he was informed by Divine Grace about this man’s plan and immediately set off to meet and restrain him. Walking quietly and carefully, the Elder silently and suddenly approached the would-be murderer, who was poised with his finger on the trigger. Having disarmed him, he gave him a severe reprimand, reminding him of the consequences of murder in both the present and the future life. As soon as he brought him to his senses, he told him they were going home. He did not take him, however, to his own home, but to the home of his enemy, whom he had narrowly missed killing. At this meeting, with fatherly concern and true affection, the blessed peacemaking Elder brought about their reconciliation; afterwards, he instructed that a meal be prepared. Thus, through the miraculous intervention of Papoulakis, a lasting peace was restored between enemies whose differences would have been resolved with death." (
The service of St. Joachim Papoulakis is also available online (in Greek) at:

Icon of St. Joachim Papoulakis of Vatopedi and Ithaca (taken from:
Ἀπολυτίκιον. Ἦχος γ´. Θείας πίστεως.
Θεία χάριτι λελαμπρυσμένος κατεφώτισας τοὺς ἐν σκοτείᾳ ἀγνωσίας καὶ δουλώσεως πέλοντας ταῖς διδαχῶν καὶ θαυμάτων ἀκτῖσί σου, Ἰωακείμ, ἀσκητὰ ἐνθεώτατε· γόνε πάντιμε Ἰθάκης, Χριστὸν ἱκέτευε δωρήσασθαι ἡμῖν τὸ μέγα ἔλεος.

Apolytikion of St. Joachim in the Third Tone
Shining with divine grace, you illumined those caught in the darkness of ignorance and apostasy by your teachings and radiant wonders, Joachim, most-divine ascetic, all-precious offspring of Ithaca, entreat Christ to grant us great mercy.
(amateur translation of the apolytikion from the full service of the Saint:

Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

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