This is an authoritative record of the life of His Eminence Metropolitan Kallinikos of Edessa and Pella of blessed memory (1919-1984). He was a saintly figure, who lived a saintly life and had a saintly end. The author, whose spiritual father he was, lived in very close proximity to the Bishop of blessed memory for fifteen years and offers this testimony as an expression of respect and gratitude. The chapter ‘Personal Recollections’, in particular, shows clearly the limitless devotion and love that the author had for him, and how closely linked their two lives were. He writes that he was ‘a holy Bishop, a true father, a man of God’.
The atmosphere in which Metropolitan Kallinikos was born and lived is fully described. He was a tireless worker and an ardent preacher, who drew the attention and interest of his listeners with his gentle words. He entered the priesthood at a mature age, conscious of his exalted mission. He especially loved the monastic and hesychastic life, and he was an ascetic Bishop. His sermon on his consecration as a Bishop and his address at his enthronement are described as patristic discourses expressing profound feelings of gratitude and love for God. His concern and great love for the flock that God had entrusted to him was exceptional: his aim was to make his Metropolis part of the Kingdom of God. The Encyclicals that he sent reveal his personal interest in the instruction of priests as well as laypeople. He was extremely attentive about ordinations. He took a personal interest in the progress of priests and their training. He did not act independently, and knew that he would have to answer to God for whatever he did. His many different pastoral activities and his travels around the Metropolis show us his great care and sense of responsibility for every parish. What establishes the Metropolitan as truly a man of God and reveals his wealth of virtues, however, is the way in which he faced the various difficulties in his life and his illness, as set out in the chapters ‘Difficulties and How He Faced Them’ and ‘Chronicle of His Illness and Decease’. Although he sacrificed himself wholly for his flock every day, he suffered unjust and slanderous attacks. He faced these and his illness without murmuring or self-pity, without complaints or objections, but with faith in God and great patience, having abandoned himself to God’s providence. His self-condemnation was incomprehensible to worldly reasoning. On many occasions in his life he had the gift of remaining silent. Watchfulness and the remembrance of death, which were particularly evident during the period of his illness, distinguished him throughout his life. His gratitude was boundless: he was infinitely grateful, and he thanked and praised God for everything. In the chapters ‘Reminiscences of His Flock’ and ‘From What They Wrote’ many of those who knew him bear witness that he was a holy person, although not all were able to appreciate him while he was alive. Everyone stresses that he was a model of humility, simplicity, meekness and patience. He was free from love of money, friendly, with a keen sense of honour, extremely forgiving and a man of unfeigned love, who loved everyone without expecting anything in return. Bishops, Clergy and laity, many people eminent or not, acknowledge that he did not seek self-promotion or publicity. He was a quiet Bishop, and although he did important and remarkable work, he wanted to keep it invisible and to hide himself. His sermons and letters demonstrate his simplicity of expression, his precision, his ecclesiastical mind and ethos, his discernment and sensitivity. He had absolute respect for the other person’s freedom and he imparted Orthodoxy and life to the suffering and embittered. The chapter ‘Living Presence’ contains various texts that show the love and respect that people felt for the Metropolitan, and many testimonies that establish him not simply as a good person, but as a man of God, and make it clear that his presence lives on.
Μητροπολίτης Ναυπάκτου Ιερόθεος