THE VENERABLE ONUPHRIUS THE GREAT

June 12

From the Prologue

For sixty full years, this saintly hermit had lived in the desert when the monk Paphnutius visited him. His hair and beard reached to the ground and his body, due to a long period of nakedness, was covered with long hair. All the hairs on him were as white as snow and his entire appearance glistened, sublime and awesome. Seeing Paphnutius, Onuphrius called him by name and related to him his life in the wilderness. His guardian angel appeared to him and brought him to this place in the wilderness. For a long time he fed only on vegetables which could rarely be found in the wilderness and after that, when he endured violent combat by the temptations of the demons and when his heart was completely strengthened in the love of God, an angel of God brought him bread for nourishment. Besides that, by the good Providence of God, a palm tree grew next to his cell which brought forth an abundant fruit of dates and a spring of living water began to flow there. However, Onuphrius said: "I mostly feed and quench my thirst on the sweet words of God." To Paphnutius' question: "How do you receive Communion?" The hermit answered that an angel of God brings him Holy Communion every Saturday and communicates him. The next day, the elder said to Paphnutius that this is the day of his departure from this world; he knelt on his knees, prayed to God and gave up his spirit to God. At that moment, Paphnutius saw a heavenly light as it illumined the body of the deceased saint and heard the singing of angelic hosts. Having honorably buried the body of Onuphrius, Paphnutius returned to his monastery that, as a living witness he narrate to others, for their benefit, the wondrous life of this man and the greatness of God's Providence about those who have completely given themselves over to the service of God. Onuphrius died in the year 400 A.D.





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