SAINT PORPHYRIUS

February 26

From the Prologue

This great Arch-shepherd was born of wealthy parents in Thessalonica. From his youth, until age twenty-five, Porphyrius remained in Thessalonica, the town of his birth. After that, he took leave of his parents and worldly life and withdrew to the wilderness of Egypt. Under the guidance of an experienced spiritual father, the young Porphyrius was tonsured a monk and remained there for five years. He then visited the Holy Land in the company of the monk Mark, his faithful companion. In the proximity of Jerusalem, he lived an ascetical life in a cave, again for five years. But then the legs of Porphyrius became weak and he was unable to walk. Nevertheless, crawling on his knees, he continually attended the Divine Services of God. One night, our Lord appeared to him of a vision and cured him of the infirmity in his legs and he became completely whole. When he was elected Bishop of Gaza, Porphyrius accepted this obligation with a heavy heart. In Gaza, he found only two-hundred eighty Christians. All other inhabitants were very fanatical idolaters. Only by his great faith and patience did Porphyrius succeed to convert the inhabitants of Gaza to the Faith of Christ. He personally traveled to Constantinople to see Emperor Arcadius and Patriarch John Chrysostom to seek their support in this unequal struggle with the idolaters. He received the desired support. The idolatrous temples were closed and the idols destroyed and he built a beautiful church with thirty marble columns. Empress Eudoxia especially assisted in the building of this church. Porphyrius lived long enough to see the entire town of Gaza converted to the Christian Faith, but only after his many efforts, sufferings and prayerful tears to god. He died peacefully in the year 421 A.D. He was a miracle-worker both during his life and after his death. Even today, his relics repose in Gaza.





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