Commemorated on February 15
He was born in 1869 to devout peasants on Chios; he left elementary school early to become a shoemender. At the age of nineteen he visited a monastery (founded by the monk Pachomios, who had been the spiritual counsellor of St Nektarios); he was so moved by the monks’ ‘angelic life’ that on returning home he built himself a small hut and dwelt in it. His only ‘help’ in his spiritual contests was an icon of the Mother of God, which soon began to work miracles, drawing many to his hermitage. After a time he retired to a monastery where he was tonsured under the name Anthimos. He fell ill there, and his abbot sent him home to his parents for the sake of his health. At home, despite the fact that he was caring for his aged parents and practicing his shoemender’s trade, he continued to live as a monk, spending nights on end in prayer and sometimes living only on bread and water for extended periods.
Increasing numbers of visitors came to his hermitage and wonder-working icon of the Theotokos, and in 1910 he received the Great Schema. The people of Chios wanted him to be ordained to the priesthood, but his bishop refused due to the Saint’s lack of education. At the prompting of Anthimos’ godfather, the Bishop of Smyrna ordained him instead. After a pilgrimage to Mt Athos, he returned to Chios, where he became chaplain to a leper hospital. Soon the hospital, which had fallen into corruption, became a spiritual center, as much like a monastery as a hospital. Saint Anthimos tended many of the sickest with his own hands, working many miracles of healing; some of his recovered patients became monks or nuns.
With the notorious ‘Exchange of Populations’ of 1922-1924, refugees poured into Chios, many of them destitute nuns and girls. In response to a vision of the Mother of God, St Anthimos built a monastery, which opened with thirty nuns and grew rapidly, despite the opposition of many who said that setting up such a community was out of date (in 1924!). The monastery soon housed eighty nuns and was known througout Greece as a model of monastic life. Father Anthimos served as priest to the nuns, and continued to receive the many faithful — often sixty or seventy per day — who came to him for prayer or counsel. He carried on this ministry for more than thirty years, working many miracles of healing. When he was too old to work with his hands, he retired to his cell and prayed that he be enabled to serve his neighbor until his last breath. He reposed in peace at the age of ninety-one, mourned and revered by the whole island of Chios.