Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers


5 Entries

Did you see that brother who was negligent and lazy, who did not go down to the all-night vigils and did not do his duties, whom the brothers knew and held to be a negligent brother? When, therefore, he became sick and the hour of his death drew near, the brothers gathered to hear something beneficial, or to comfort him, or in case he wanted to say something to them, but they saw him rejoicing, cheerful.

One brother was scandalized and said, But what do we see in you, brother? We see you rejoicing, while you approach death? But our thought says to us that you were not a violent man and how do you have this courage and this rejoicing face? On what do you base this thing?

Yes, brothers, he said, really I was a negligent person and I did not fulfill my duties. But I achieved one good thing, by the grace of God -- not to criticize any brother and not to scandalize anyone; and never did I allow my heart to have something against my brother of the monastery when the sun set. And inasmuch as I did not judge my brother, I believe that God will not judge me, even me, for He said, Judge not, that you not be judged (Mt. 7:1); and as long as I did not judge, I will not be judged.

The brothers marveled and said, Brother, very easily you found the way of salvation. And the brother died with much joy. REF:Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos, "Counsels from the Holy Mountain"

The brothers surrounded the same Abba John (Cassian) was at the point of death and ready to depart eagerly and joyously to God. They asked him to leave them a concise and salutary saying as their inheritance, which would enable them to become perfect in Christ. Groaning he said to them, "I have never done my own will, not taught anything which I had not previously carried out." Benedicta Ward, "The Sayings of the Desert Fathers," (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications, 1975), p. 114

They said of Abba Pambo that as he was dying, at the very hour of his death, he said to the holy men who were standing near him, “Since I came to this place of the desert and built my cell and dwelt here, I do not remember having eaten bread which was not the fruit of my hands and I have not repented of a word I have said up to the present time; and yet I am going to God as one who has not yet begun to serve him.” Abba Pambo, from Sr. Benedicta Ward, “The Desert Christian,” (New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1975), pp. 195 - 198

When Abba Sisoes was about to die, and the fathers were sitting with him, they saw that his face was shining like the sun. He said unto them, "Behold, Abba Anthony has come." After a little while he said again, "Behold, the company of prophets has come," and his face shone twice as bright. Suddenly, he became as one speaking with someone else, and the fathers sitting there asked him, "Show us with whom you are speaking, father."

Immediately, Abba Sisoes said to them, "Behold, the angels came to take me away and I asked them to leave me so that I might tarry here a little longer and repent." And the old men said unto him, "You have no need to repent, father." And Abba Sisoes said to the fathers, "I do not know in my soul if I have rightly begun to repent," and they all realized that the old man was perfect.

Then, suddenly, his face beamed like the sun and all who sat there were afraid and he said to them, "Look! Look! Behold, the Lord has come and he says, 'Bring unto me the chosen vessel which is in the desert,'" and he at once delivered up his spirit and became like lightning and the whole place was filled with a sweet fragrance. "The Paradise of the Holy Fathers, vol II," translated by E. A. Wallis Budge, (Seattle, Washington: St. Nectarios Press, 1984)

The reposed Elder's funeral procession lasted seven hours. All that time, the weather was at its worst. There was a strong wind, and it rained almost continually. Remarkably, throughout the procession with the Elder's body from Shamordino to Optino, the candles at his coffin never once went out, and there was not even the sound of the crackling one ordinarily hears when droplets of water strike a burning candle wick. Elder Amvrosy had been a beacon of light burning brightly with the light of his virtues, throughout his long life and without regard to circumstance, upon a humanity exhausted by sinful life. Now, when he was no more, and by means of candles which burned despite the horrible rainy weather, the Lord yet again bore public witness to the sanctity of St. Amvrosy's life. Archimandrite John Maslov, "Venerable St. Amvrosy of Optino and His Epistolary Heritage", Moscow, 2000, p. 80

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