Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers


I said to (St. Onnophrius), "My good father, did you suffer when you first came to this place in the desert?" The blessed old man said, "I suffered a great deal, my son. Believe me, my beloved son, I came close to dying many times on account of hunger and thirst and on account of the burning fire during the day and the frost at night. My members were soaked by the dew of the sky.

When God saw me, that I patiently endured in the fight of fasting and that I devoted myself to ascetic practice, He had the holy angels serve me my daily food, giving it to me every night and a little water every night in order to strengthen my body. And this one palm tree produced for me twelve bunches of dates each year, one each month, and I would eat it.

And He made the other plants that grow in the desert places sweet in my mouth, sweeter than honey in my mouth. For it is written, 'A person shall not live by bread alone, but he will live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'

For if you do the will of God, wherever you are, He will care for you, because your Father in heaven knows what all your needs are, what you will eat or what you will drink. But rather seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.'" Now when I heard these thins from him I was greatly amazed.

I said to him, "My sweet and good father, where do you receive the Eucharist on the Sabbath and the Lord's Day?" He said to me, "Every Sabbath and every Lord's Day, and angel comes to me and gives me the Eucharist. And blessed is everyone who lives as a citizen in the desert on account of God and sees no human being -- He brings the Eucharist to them and comforts them. If they desire to see anyone, they are taken up to heavenly heights and they see them. They greet them and the hearts are filled with light. They rejoice in the Spirit and are glad in the good things they will never lack. When they see them, they are comforted, and they completely forget the afflictions that have been theirs. Afterwards they return to their places, and they are comforted for a long time, as though they had been removed to another world. Because of the great joy they have seen, they do not remember that this world even exists." the Coptic Life of St. Onnophrius (comm 13 June) by Paphnutius

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas