THE VENERABLE GERASIMUS

March 4

From the Prologue

This remarkable and famous saint first learned about the ascetical lifein the Egyptian Thebaid. He then went to the Jordan and there founded a community in which there were seventy monks. This community still exists today. He instituted a special Constitution [Rule] for his monastery by which the monks spent five days in their cells weaving baskets, reeds and rush mats. They were never allowed to light a fire in their cells. For five days they ate only a little dry bread and dates. The monks were required to keep their cells open so that when they went out, anyone could enter and remove whatever he needed from their cells. On Saturdays and Sundays they gathered in the monastic church. They had a common meal with a few vegetables and a little wine to the glory of God. Each monk would then bring in and place before the feet of the abbot that which he had made during the past five days. Each monk had only one robe. St. Gerasimus was an example to all. During the Great Lenten Fast he did not eat anything except what he received in Holy Communion. On one occasion, he saw a lion roaring from pain because there was a thorn in his paw. Gerasimus drew near to the lion, crossed himself, and removed the thorn in the animal's paw. The lion became so tame that he returned with Gerasimus to the monastery and remained there until the elder's death. When Gerasimus died, the lion succumbed from sorrow for him. Gerasimus attended the Fourth Ecumenical Council [Chalcedon, 451 A.D.] during the reign of Marcian and Plucheria. Even though in the beginning, Gerasimus leaned toward the Monophysite heresy of Eutyches and Dioscorus, he was a great defender and champion of Orthodoxy at the Council. St. Euthymius dissuaded him from this heresy. Of all of the disciples of Gerasimus, the most famous was St. Cyriacus the Recluse. St. Gerasimus died in the year 475 A.D., and was translated into the eternal joy of his Lord.





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