Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers


St John the Merciful, patriarch of Alexandria, learned that the poor who needed his help in receiving justice from the courts were denied access to him by his patriarchal retinue. So the thrice-blessed one devised the following plan which was pleasing to God.

Each Wednesday and Friday he had a seat and two stools placed in the open in front of the cathedral and there he sat with the gospel in his hands, and thus gave ready and open access to all who wished to consult him, and on their behalf he caused justice to be done immediately.

On one such day no one came to seek his aid, and he lamented saying, "Today for the first time humble John did not get any ‘wages’ from anyone, and this was the first time that he could not offer anything to Christ on behalf of his countless sins." A man consoled him, saying, "Today you ought rather rejoice and be delighted, for you are truly blessed if you have brought such peace to the flock entrusted to you." St John recognized the truth of this and lifted his eyes to heaven and said, "I thank Thee, O God, Who hast allowed me, unworthy as I am, to be called Thy priest and, though the least of men and a sinner, to be a shepherd of Thy rational flock." The Life of St John the Merciful by Leontios of Cyprus

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