Our Holy Father Peter the Athonite.

Commemorated June 12 in the Orthodox Christian Menaion

From the Prologue

He was a Greek by birth, and a soldier by profession. Being once engaged in battle against the Arabs, he was captured, chained and thrown into prison. Peter spent a long time in imprisonment in the town of Samara on the Euphrates, and prayed God with all his being to free him and take him to some desert place where he could devote himself to prayerful asceticism. St Simeon the Host of God appeared to him in the prison, together with St Nicolas, and touched the iron of his chains which melted like wax. Peter suddenly found himself in the open outside the city. He immediately set out on the road for Rome, where he was tonsured as a monk by the Pope at the tomb of St Peter. He then set out by ship to return to the East. The most holy Mother of God appeared to him in a dream, talking with St Nicolas, and she told St Nicolas that she had set Mount Athos apart for Peter to live on in asceticism. Peter had at that time not heard of Mount Athos. Disembarking, then, at the Holy Mountain, Peter settled in a cave, where he spent fifty-three years in strict asceticism, in struggles with hunger and thirst, with heat and cold and especially with diabolical powers, until he had overcome them all by the help of God. When he had undergone the first temptations and succeeded in the first test before God, an angel of God began to bring him bread every forty days. The tempter appeared to him several times in the guise of an angel of light, but Peter drove him away with the sign of the Cross and the name of the most holy Mother of God. A year before his death, a deer-hunter passed that way and learned of the saint's life from his lips. He died in 734, and his relics were taken to Macedonia.

From The Prologue From Ochrid by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
©1985 Lazarica Press, Birmingham UK

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