SAINT ALEXIS

March 17

From the Prologue

Varied are the paths upon which God leads those who desire to please Him and to fulfill His Law. There lived in Rome at the time of Emperor Honorius a high-ranking dignitary, Euphemian, who was highly respected and extremely wealthy. He and his wife, Algae, led a God-pleasing life. Even though he was wealthy, Euphemian sat at the table once a day, only after the setting of the sun. He had an only son, Alexis, who, when he had reached the age of maturity, was compelled to marry. But on that same night, he left not only his wife but the home of his father as well. Alexis boarded a boat and arrived at the city of Edessa in Mesopotamia, where there was a renown image of our Lord, sent there by our Lord Himself to Emperor Abgar. Having venerated this image, Alexis clothed himself in the dress of a beggar and, as such, lived in the city for seventeen years, continually praying to God in the vestibule of the Church of the Holy Mother of God. When it became public that he was a man of God, he became frightened of the praise of men, departed Edessa and boarded a boat and traveled to Laodicea. According to God's Providence, the boat was carried away and sailed all the way to Rome. Considering this to be the finger of God, Alexis decided to go to the house of his father and there, as an unknown, continued his life of self-denial. His father did not recognize him but out of charity allowed him to live in his courtyard in a hut. Alexis remained here for seventeen years living only on bread and water. Mistreated by the servants in various ways, he endured all to the end. When his end approached, he wrote a letter, clenched it in his hand, laid down and died on March 17, 411 A.D. At the same time there was a revelation in the Church of the Twelve Apostles, and in the presence of the emperor and the patriarch, a voice was heard which said, "Seek out the Man of God." Shortly after that, it was revealed that this Man of God resided at the house of Euphemian. The emperor along with the pope and an entire retinue arrived at the home of Euphemian and after a lengthy discussion learned that the beggar was that "Man of God." When they entered his hut, they found Alexis dead but his face shown as the sun. From that letter his parents learned that it was their son Alexis. Also, his bride, who for 34 years lived without him, learned that he was her husband. All were overcome with immense grief and pain. Later, they were comforted after seeing how God glorified His chosen one. By touching his body, many of the sick were healed, and from his body flowed a sweet-smelling oil [Chrism]. His body was buried in a sarcophagus of marble and jasper. His head reposes in the Church of St. Laurus in the Peloponnese.





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