A Turk believes in Christ through Elder Ieronymos

Can a non-Christian be saved? Can a non-Orthodox be saved? Is our faith the only true faith that can only lead men to salvation? How can we give testimony to our faith without compromising it in any way and at the same time without offending others? Elder Ieronymos (+1966)1 from Aegina shows us how:

An excerpt from our forthcoming translation of the Elder's life:2

One time a Turk visited the Elder in his home. He said that his master, a judge, invited him to his house.

The Elder was somewhat worried. He was not used to invitations for social visits, and he thought that something bad must have happened, a new test. He prayed to God however, and then he followed the servant.

When they arrived at the Turk judge’s mansion, the judge himself received him with great cordiality. They sat in the living room and the judge began the conversation:

"Your Reverence, I am a Turk, a Moslem. But from the salary I take, I keep what is necessary for me and my family, and the rest I spend in charities. I help widows, orphans and the poor, I give dowries to destitute girls who are ready to get married, I assist the sick. I keep strictly the fasts, I pray, and generally I try to be conscientious in my faith. Also when I judge, I try to be impartial. I am not bought by anyone, no matter how high of a position one might have. Do you think that these things that I do, are sufficient to gain for me paradise, as you Christians call it?"

Fr. Vasilios3 was impressed by what the Turk judge had told him, and his mind went immediately to the Centurion Cornelius (Acts 10). He discerned in them both parallel lives. He understood that he had before him a righteous and good-willing man, and perhaps his mission was the same with that of the Apostle Peter toward the Centurion. He therefore decided to give testimony to his faith.

"Tell me, your Honor, do you have children?"

"Yes I do."

"Do you have servants?"

"Yes, I have servants also."

"Who obeys better your commands, your children or your servants?"

"For sure my servants, because my children sometimes, with the confidence they have, disobey me and do whatever they want, but my servants do always whatever I tell them."

"Tell me, your Honor, when you will die, who is going to inherit you: Your servants, who obey faithfully your commands, or your children, who disobey you?"

"My children of course. Only they have inheritance rights, not my servants."

"Well then, whatever you do, your Honor, is good, but it only puts you into the category of the good servant. If you want to inherit paradise, the kingdom of heaven, you must become a son. And this is accomplished only through baptism."

The Turk judge was impressed by the example that Fr. Vasilios related to him. They talked about many other things, and in the end he asked him to instruct him in the faith and to baptize him.

Some time later the Turk judge was baptized and became a Christian.

Translated from the Greek original by Fr. Emmanuel Hatzidakis.

  1. In 2014, he was declared a Saint by the old calendarist Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece, and is recognized as a Saint by many who follow the new calendar.
  2. Ὁ Γέρον Ἱερώνυμος τῆς Αἰγίνης (1883-1966) Βίος, Πνευματικαὶ ῾Υποθῆκαι καὶ Παραινέσεις Αὐτοῦ.
  3. The Elder's name given at birth

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