Athanasios Mikhailidis, as he was known in the world, was born in 1908, in Cappadocia, in the village of Moutalaski, to Victoria and Michael Mikhailidis. The village that Blessed Savvas the Sanctified was from. As he himself said, his childhood was marked by great poverty, loss of a parent, much hard work and many hardships. His burning faith and straightforward piety, not to mention his natural Cappadocian God-fearing character, meant that he was able to weather all these storms. The exchange of populations in1922 brought him, his mother and his two sisters to Corinth, and thereafter to Thessaloniki, where he worked at a cobbler’s.
Desire for God took him at a young age to the Holy Mountain, the mountain of God and of the saints. He received his monastic tonsure in 1930 at the Monastery of Xenofontos. He studied at the Athoniada School. In 1940, during the monastery’s patronal feast, of the Holy and Great Martyr George the Trophy-Bearer, he was ordained deacon by Bishop Ierotheos Militoupoleos (†1956). He then remained in the “monastery of his repentance” for a decade. After the completion of his studies at the Athens School of Theology, he was ordained priest in 1947 by Bishop Chrysostomos of Messinias (†1961) and served as protosingelos (dean) of the Holy Metropolis of Messinia. In his twenty years in the capital of Messinia he was distinguished as a priest devoted to divine worship, a first-class confessor, who brought relief to a great many of the faithful, merciful, uninterested in money and approachable. A local newspaper said of him: “Was there ever anyone who knocked at the door of his kelli and he didn’t open to them? Was there ever anyone who asked for his help and he refused them? Who had people pointed out to him who were suffering and in penury him and he didn’t rush to their assistance? And finally, who ever turned to him concerning any issue whatsoever- spiritual, family, financial and so on, didn’t find in him solace and a fatherly, tender fellow-feeling?”.
Thereafter he served as Abbot of the Holy Monastery of the Dormition of the Birth-giver of God at Pendeli and was in charge of large parish churches in Athens. After his retirement, he withdrew to the Holy Monastery of Kalami, in Argolida, as spiritual father to the God-fearing brotherhood and new founder. Metropolitan Meletios of Nikopolis, who knew him well, writes: “Fr. Agathangelos was distinguished for his child-like simplicity, humility, self-effacement, and, above all, by his pure and genuine love for other people, especially for those who were in pain. He was truly a shepherd and tender father”.
In Athens, we also made the acquaintance of Fr. Agathangelos, together with his companion, Fr. Epifanios Theodoropoulos, with his glowing countenance, his discernment and goodness. The late Elder made a multi-faceted contribution to Christ’s Church, which he adorned by his peerless moral integrity and his personal example. His spiritual children have not forgotten his modesty, humility, simplicity, sound judgement, and spirituality, his Orthodox bearing and his liturgical ethos. He fell asleep in the Lord on 13.3.1991 at the monastery of Kalami, where he is buried.
The Elder wrote in his diary: “I thank God my Saviour, that from my early childhood He made me madly in love with His altar, so that I wanted to serve Him and Him alone, and to want to find my happiness and my joy only when close to Him… I thank God, that He led me to become acquainted with Athonite monks, who were of great benefit to me”. In his will, he concluded by saying: “My heartfelt thanks go to all who supported me throughout the whole of my life; particularly to those who have looked after me in my old age, with no thought of themselves. I forgive one and all. I ask forgiveness of everyone who I may have offended. And I ask all those of my acquaintance to remember me in their prayers as well as, of course, the clergy to remember me at the holy altar”. Fr. Joel Yannakopoulos said about him: “Fr. Agathangelos is what his name says [pure angel]”.