St. Gerasimos is the patron saint of Kefalonia, so the Monastery of St. Gerasimos is a sacred place for every citizen of Kefalonia. The relics of the Saint are kept in a glass case which is placed above the Saint’s tomb.
Gerasimos (1506–1579) came from the aristocratic and wealthy Notaras family. He was ordained a Monk at Mount Athos, went to Jerusalem for 12 years, spent some time in Crete and Zakynthos and arrived on Kefalonia in 1555.
He spent the first 5 years in a cave in the area known as Lassi. He subsequently cultivated the area where the monastery of Saint Gerasimos now exists near Valsamata. He established a monastery which cared for the poor people and became a center for charity.
Saint Gerasimos is believed by natives of Kefalonia to protect them and heal them of illness. Many natives of the island name their children after Saint Gerasimos as a tribute to the saint who protects them.
The body of Saint Gerasimos is guarded and protected in a glass casement at the monastery as it has never decomposed. After his death, his body was buried twice and exhumed intact, thus leading the church to ordain him as a saint. Kefalonians throughout the world still revere and pray to him.
In 1953, immediately after a powerful earthquake on the island of Kefalonia destroyed 90% of the island, there were many claimed sightings of Saint Gerasimos throughout the island who is believed to have comforted and tended to the injured trapped inside homes and buildings.
During the feast of Saint Gerasimos on August 16th, his body is passed over ill and sick persons for the purpose of healing them. His body is also displayed in the church during liturgy at the monastery on many occasions.