Joachim (Nicholaides) of St. Anne's Skete
The Elder Joachim (Nicholaides) of St. Anne's Skete was a monastic of the mid-twentieth century who began his life as a missionary monk in the United States of America before entering St. Anne's Skete at Mount Athos.
John Nicholaides was born in Kalamata, Greece in 1895. He was raised in a pious Orthodox family and under the instruction of a spiritual father, the ascetic of Kalamata Elder Elias Panagoulakis. After completing his high school education, John chose to continue his studies in the United States of America. In America, John found a materialistic spirit that he had never known. As he continued his studies he became more and more firm in the faith of his fathers.
Under the instruction of Elder Elias, John was taught not to seek the Holy Orders, as one must be called by God or man to reach for such elevated offices. He, therefore, dared not consider such offices for his life. In the 1920s, his life turned in the person of the Archbishop of Neapolis, Panteleimon who persuaded him of his calling. Abp. Panteleimon tonsured him a monk with the name Joachim and ordained him to the diaconate and priesthood. He was welcomed enthusiastically by the Greek community which found great inspiration in the imposing and saintly presence of Fr. Joachim and found within his sermons a living faith.
Fr. Joachim was greatly respected by the Orthodox community in the United States. He also loved the traditions of the Orthodox Church and upheld them faithfully amidst the temptations of American life. His position on the Traditions of the Church proved to be an aid in his mission in America rather than a hindrance. On one occasion he so impressed the non-Orthodox with his traditional Orthodox priestly dress and appearance, dressed in his cassock and with a full beard, that a crowd surrounded him in the city street to discuss Orthodoxy. In English, Fr. Joachim proclaimed the message to the assembled Americans that God and Orthodoxy are alive and that man can live in God. As people were attracted to what he had to say, the crowd of both pedestrians and traffic stopped moving for a considerable time.
As Fr. Joachim's ministry in the United States began to bear much fruit, his health began to fail. His health deteriorated such that he needed medication before celebrating each Divine Liturgy. To reduce his pace of activities his doctors advised, to his disappointment and the grief of his flock, that he return to Greece for some rest. In 1930, Fr. Joachim left the United States and traveled to the Mount Athos where he joined St. Anne's Skete. In recognition of his missionary zeal in America, Fr. Joachim was awarded the Medallion of the All-Holy Sepulchre by the Patriarch of Jerusalem.
At St. Anne's Skete, Fr. Joachim sought out the strict and isolated Skete of Kavsokalyvia. Elder Joachim remained at the skete for the next twenty years where he established himself as an Elder. Elder Joachim reposed on September 22, 1950.