Hieromonk Neofytos from Vatopedi (1876-3 April 1967)20 September 2017
Agathangelos Theokharoudis, as he was known before becoming a monk, was born in 1876 to his parents, Dimitrios and Anastasia, in Gomati, Halkidiki. In 1892, he arrived at the ancient and beautiful Vatopedan Kelli of the Great Martyr Prokopios, whose hand was kept there as a treasured relic. Agathangelos was given his monastic tonsure in 1899 by the Elder Neofytos the First. He was ordained deacon in 1907 and then priest in 1909.
He was an excellent and well-known spiritual father of great discernment. He was regularly invited to Halkidiki to confess the faithful. Indeed, no other spiritual father had so many people coming to him for confession. Elder Gavriïl of Dionisiou wrote the following regarding him: “The well-disposed and devout spiritual guide, Hieromonk Neofytos, presided as Elder, invited each year into neighbouring Halkidiki, where he came from. He was succeeded in this task by another renowned spiritual guide from the Vatopedan kellia, also called Neofytos, the “memory of the just” Athonite fathers remaining in these neighbouring parts”. Deacon Dionisios Firfiris (†1999) said that at one time a dejected young man was going to kill himself because a spiritual guide had given him the penance of not taking Holy Communion until he was about to die. He was sent to Elder Neofytos who received him with compassion and kindness. “Repent, son”, he said to him, “ I’ll take all your sins on me. Take communion this Sunday”. He did and was saved.
Elder Neofytos also had good fellow-monks at the kelli. The monks Sofronios and Panteleïmon, from Thasos and the monk Pankratios († 1999), whom we knew well. Elder Neofytos had gone to the Mountain as a ten-year-old. When he was twelve, he took his nephew, in a basket on a donkey from their village, Gomati. This nephew later became the Monk Pankratios, who was to die at the kelli of the Iosafeï in Karyes, in dreadful pain from cancer, having first made his confession with tears and received Holy Communion.
The celebrated spiritual guide, Father Neofytos, went to his rest in the Lord on 3/4/1967.