THE BLIND ANASTASIOS (2004)
"After seventy years of life, one becomes unbeknown to this world.... About his sicknesses he would say: "if a man does not arrive at this point, at this point of decline with sickness, he could not comprehend the meaning.
After being admitted to the hospitals endless times, a short time before his death, he would say: "sickness is a good thing. It helps you not to become angry, and makes us very thankful that we found ourselves at this work to glorify God, glory be to You Oh God! billions of times glory be to You, and he would then cry..... saying, Holy God. What does the sinless Christ want from us? A Christian ending to our lives. He came into the world to save sinners. We should pray to our guardian angel when he comes at the hour of our death to protect us from the evil spirits that they may not take us away. Oh God, save me! Oh my God, save me! Merciful One, have mercy on me Oh God! May the Holy Mother who like a mother, receive us into the pen of the sheep. And although he himself was suffering such pain, as if they were sawing off his gangrenous leg, and had also shortness of breath because of his weak heart he would pray for others. During the last days of his life he would say: "Oh, my God, save humanity. My God, save humanity! I do not wish anything else. Give me the strength and courage to keep your name in my heart....
He died at the Papanicolaou Hospital where he had been admitted at dawn on Monday the 30th of August, 2004 without ever losing consciousness. He asked his wife to kiss her hands for taking care of him for so long and then gave up his soul in peace.
One week before his death, he was suffering great pain from the sores on his gangrenous leg and was also having difficulty breathing because of his weak heart, yet he would not stop praying. Right up to the end, his mind was clear and he did not say anything irrational. Before he died he desired to say goodbye to his wife as if leaving on a trip. A little while later she saw him cross his hands on his chest and say: "My Holy Mother, deliver me" and she saw his face illumined. He opened once his mouth gently and his wife then saw coming out a white substance like vapor, like a wet bird, ascending high and as it would ascend higher it would progressively open its wings more until it disappeared. It was dawn on Monday, August 30th, 2004. It was on this day that he was scheduled for surgery to have his other leg amputated because of the spreading of gangrene.
A person who came to know the blessed Anastasios very well and intimately, the man of patience, of prayer, of meekness and faith in the resurrection, said: "Whatever they do to me I will not stop saying after what I witnessed, that there is another life and that life begins after the grave." Such was the influence of the righteous life of the servant of God Anastasios on his life. What many sermons did not accomplish it was accomplished by the holy example of the enlightened and bedecked with the grace of God, Anastasios.
May the world, that staggers in the darkness of sin, have more such plain, humble, pure, enlightened people as Anastasios, "unlettered, blind, foolish to the world", so that we may be enlightened, the so-called knowledgeable and wide-eyed ones, who however suffer the sickness of unbelief and seek after the sinful and vain things of the world.
May we, my dear readers, be strengthened by this brilliant example of the faithful servant of God, Anastasios, the man of prayer, of forgiveness and of kindness, that we too may live on this earth with prudence, justice and genuine reverence to the glory of God, and become an example to our fellow men and for our salvation.