Dispatch From The Desert:  January 6th to 12th, 2020

African Saints (from the Prolouge of Ohrid)

  • Elias the Wonder-worker of Egypt (Jan. 8) 5th Century,
  • Agatho (Jan. 8, Greek calendar) 5th Century, Egyptian monk
  • Venerable Ammon (Jan. 10) 5th Century, A monk in Nitra, Egypt. He was known for overcoming his anger and knowledge of Holy Scripture.
  • Venerable Mother Theodora of Alexandria (Jan. 12) 4th Century, One of the most highly regarded nuns and teacher of nuns. One of only a few women featured in the Sayings of the Desert Fathers.  Much of her wisdom can be found in the Matericon as translated by the Russian monk, Theophan the Recluse.
  • Eupraxia (Jan. 12) 4th Century, a nun in Tabenna, Egypt.


Venerable Mother Theodora

A Word from the Fathers & Mothers

St. Melania the Roman (December 31) was influenced by and came to visit the great monastics of Egypt and give them contributions.  The Desert Fathers shunned possessions and wealth.  Visiting the hermit Ephestion, she saw he had nothing but a few mats, some dry bread, and a pot for his water and salt.  Before leaving, she slipped a few gold pieces in a pot.  While she was on the road, the old man ran behind and caught up with her to return the gold.  “I have no need for these, take what is yours.”  She replied that she’d give it to someone else.  Ephestion answered, “No one in this place has any use for it.”  Seeing that Melania refused to take the money back, he threw it in the river and went back to his cell.

From the Prologue of Ohrid


“One cannot serve God and mammon,” our Savior warned us in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:24).  The Desert Fathers had nothing against the clergy receiving a living from their services to the Church.  Basil the Great (Jan. 1) and John the Merciful (Nov. 12) were known for being very generous with their money while they themselves lived in modesty.  However, these monks and nuns in Egypt would take no risk in having possessions and wealth in this world.  Mammon distracts us from being one with God as we can be completely devoted only to one or the other.  If we are blessed with wealth, let us use it wisely to lift up the poor.  Avoid personal excess that will keep us from the greater gifts in heaven.

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