Dispatch from the Desert:  March 2nd thru 8th


African Saints (from the Prolouge of Ohrid):

March 2nd:  Venerable Agathon of Egypt (5th century) – According to The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, Agathon was trained as a young monk by Poemen in the Thebaid region of Egypt.  Thirty passages of that volume are attributed to him.

March 3rd:  Alexandra of Alexandria (4th century), Piama the Virgin (337), Unknown Maiden in Alexandria (?) – Piama chose to wed her soul to Christ than herself to a man and spent much of her time in contemplation and prayer.

March 4th:  Bishop Julian of Alexandria (189)

March 5th:  Venerable Mark the Ascetic of Egypt (5th century), Virgin-martyr Irais (Rhais) of Antinoe of Egypt (3rd century), Martyr Arcelaus and 152 Marytrs in Egypt (308), Paul the Simple of Egypt – disciple of Anthony the Great (339) – Mark the Ascetic became a monk at 40 years old by John Chrysostom.  According to the Philokalia vol.1, he may have been the head of a monastery in Asia Minor before living in the deserts of Egypt and Palestine.  In this book, Mark contributed On Spiritual Law:  200 Text, On Those who Think that They are Made Righteous by Works:  116 Text, and Letter to Nicolas the Solitary.


A Word from the Desert

Once, monks who had heard of his discernment came to Saint Agathon to see if they could make him lose his temper. They asked him, “Are you Abba Agathon, a fornicator and a proud man?”

“Yes, that is true,” the monk replied.

“Are you the Agathon who is always talking nonsense?” the monks inquired.

“I am,” the saint agreed.

“Are you Agathon the heretic?” the monks persisted.

Saint Agathon said, “I am not a heretic.”

They asked the saint why he agreed with them when they accused him of vices, but then denied this last charge. Agathon replied, “I accepted the first accusations, since that was beneficial for my soul. But heresy is separation from God, and I do not wish to be separated from God.”

Astonished at his discernment, they returned to their monastery, edified.

(Taken from the Orthodox Church of America website:  https://www.oca.org/saints/lives/2019/03/02/100638-venerable-agathon-of-egypt)


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