Dispatch From The Desert:  December 30th, 2019 to January 5th, 2020


African Saints (from the Prolouge of Ohrid)

  • Basil the Great (Jan. 1) 330-379 AD, Although not an African, this Cappedocian is listed among the Sayings of the Desert Fathers as he spent time in Egypt. He patterned his life after the monastics and was known for his generosity as well as his theological contributions in the Second Ecumenical Council.  His books, On the Holy Spirit and On Social Justice are well worth reading.  His version of the Divine Liturgy is used in certain periods of the Orthodox Church.
  • Fulgentius (Jan. 1) 533 AD, Bishop of Ruspe in Tunisia.
  • Venerable Ammon (Jan. 2) 5th Century, Abbot of the Tabennisiot Monastery in Upper Egypt. Three thousand monks lived under his direction.
  • Martyr Djan Darada (Jan. 4) 1st Century, the Ethiopian Eunuch baptized in Acts 8:26-40. This first Apostle to Ethiopia was killed for preaching faith in Jesus Christ.

Djan Darada

St. Djan Darada  

A Word from the Fathers & Mothers

A bad habit is destroyed with much toil, especially an old one.  If one works on uprooting it, and comes to love stillness and silence, he will be saved.  If one keeps it, the same will perish, and woe to such a soul!

Venerable Theodora from the Matericon

Kicking a bad habit is a good thing.  But, when that empty space is left vacant, there is the risk that it will be back with worse habits in tow (Matthew 12:43-45).  Among the African and other Orthodox monastics, stillness and silence is more than the absence of sound.  These are virtues of being watchful over one’s soul.  Not allowing thoughts to disturb peace in mind or distract from the presence of God.  Resist the temptation to rush into anything, or just go along with the feelings and times.  Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:11 [45:11 lxx]).  The Lord is in His holy temple, let all the earth be silent* before Him (Habakkuk 2:20, *reverent – lxx).

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