The Jerusalem Church marked the feast day of the newly canonized saint, Athonite elder Gerasimos Mikrayannanitis, with the first-ever liturgy dedicated to him. The service took place on Wednesday at the Archangel Monastery in Jerusalem, where a relic of the saint is housed. The liturgy was officiated by the abbot of the monastery, Archbishop Dimitrios of Lydda, who commenced his monastic journey on Mount Athos and joined the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre in 1987. The Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate canonized Gerasimos Mikrayannanitis in January of this year.
Gerasimos Mikrayannanitis, born Anastasios Grekas Ioannou in 1904-1991, hailed from the village of Droviani in the Greek region of Epirus. After attending a gymnasium in his hometown and later in Athens, he retreated to Mount Athos in 1923, residing in the kelli (monastic cell) of St. John the Baptist, affiliated with the Small Skete of St. Anna, earning him the name Mikrayannanitis. In 1924, he took monastic vows, adopting the name Gerasimos.
Gerasimos Mikrayannanitis authored hagiographic lives, homilies, and liturgical hymns and engaged in compiling and preparing a catalog of manuscripts for the kiriakon (main church) of the Skete of St. Anna. He is credited with composing over two thousand hymns, including services, supplicatory canons, akathists, kondakia, troparia, and magnifications dedicated to saints. All his compositions are preserved in the library of the Small Skete of St. Anna, spanning 50 handwritten codices, each with 800 pages. Some of Father Gerasimos's services have been included in printed Menaia, Horologia, hymnographic books, and anthologies, still in use in contemporary liturgical practices of Greek churches. Recognizing his contribution to modern liturgical poetry, the Patriarchate of Constantinople bestowed upon him the title "Hymnographer of the Great Church of Christ" in 1959. Gerasimos Mikrayannanitis passed away on December 7, 1991.