March 21

From the Prologue

Serapion was a companion of St. Anthony the Great. He was the abbot of the Monastery of Arsina in the Nitrian wilderness where there were over eleven thousand monks. Paladius and Sozomenus called him "Great." He died about the year 366 A.D. St. Serapion wrote, "Do not think that sickness is difficult; only sin is difficult. Sickness accompanies us only to the grave but sin follows the sinner even after the grave."



Serapion, to save a sinner, he wanted,

The appearance of a sinner upon himself, he then took,

And to the sinner he entered, as if sin to commit,

But before sinning, to her, in this manner, he spoke:

You wait for a while, the entire night we have

Until, my prayer, I complete, then to misdeed we will proceed!

Serapion began the prayers to read

Uplifting his mind toward God, that it not wander anywhere.

And prayer after prayer began to reel off,

Sigh after sigh, to the Most High he uplifts.

The entire Psalter and other prayers he read,

And lengthy prayers for the sinner he began;

With sobbing and sighing, his prayers he interrupts,

Until even the sinful woman began to moan,

To moan and sob as never before in her life,

Realized that the saint, because of sin did not come,

Rather to save her from her perversion

And to raise her to God and from mud to cleanse her.

Then, exclaimed the woman: What should I do?

Behold, ashamed and repulsed with myself, am I!

Serapion, then instructions, gave he to her,

And to the wise sisters, committed her to their care.

Then the path before him, to the wilderness he took

Joyful, because a sinful soul he saved.

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