St Germanus was born in Thessaloniki in 1252 of rich and pious parents. His baptismal name was George. His qualities began to become obvious even when he was a schoolboy, when he bore in an exemplary fashion the improper and cruel behaviour of his schoolfellows. Practising prayer, fasting and philanthropy, he felt such compassion for the workers on his father’s estates that once when he saw they were sweating and exhausted, he told them to stop work and take a rest. Though his father punished him for this, he nevertheless was impressed by the goodness of his son.
In Thessaloniki, the Saint made the acquaintance of an Athonite elder of the name of Ioannes, in whose company he was tonsured as a monk at the age of 18, taking the name of Germanus. The obedience, the fortitude and the physical endurance which the young monk showed impressed the other Fathers. He paid frequent visits, alone and with his elder, to the Monastery of Vatopaidi, either to work or to take part in the services, here too calling forth the admiration of the fathers for his virtues. After the death of his elder, Germanus became the disciple of the wise Job, who lived the life of an ascetic in a cave near the Megiste Lavra. After the election of his elder as Abbot of the Lavra, Germanus continued to live alone as an ascetic in the cave, until his elder was forced to resign as Abbot. After his elder’s exile, he became the disciple of other spritual fathers, all of whom marvelled at the goodness of the Saint. In addition to his goodness and holiness, he received from God the gift of being able to save from death his young disciple Ioannicius in a miraculous manner and to cure his nephew when he fell seriously ill on a visit to Mount Athos. This great saint and ascetic died a holy death in 1336, at the age of 8417.