Dispatch from the Desert: September 21st thru 27th

African Saints (from the Prologue of Ohrid)

September 22         Peter the Merciful of Constantinople (6th Century) Served as a tax collector in Africa under Justinian.  Peter was once a cruel man who rarely gave alms to the poor.  In a vision, he saw the demons heaping his sins against him on a scale.  To his defense, an angel placed his one good deed, a piece of bread thrown to a beggar, on the other side of the scale.  Peter woke up and saw the dream as a call to be compassionate and humble to others. 

September 23         Iradia (Rhais) (308) A native Egyptian from Batan, she was drawing water in a well by the sea when she saw a boat full of Christians headed for martyrdom.  Iradia was moved by their witness and joined them and was tortured and beheaded in Antinopolis.

September 25         Euphrosyne & Paphnutius (5th century) Daughter (Euphrosyne) and father monastics.  Papnutius was a wealthy man in Alexandria.  His daughter disguised herself as a man and entered a monastery rather than become married.  Her father was grieved over the loss of his daughter and unknowingly went to her for spiritual counsel.  Euphrosyne revealed her identity to him on her death bed.  After her burial, Papnutius entered the same monastery and lived in his daughter’s cell until his death.

Paphnutius and 546 companions (ca. 303)  Martyred in Egypt

September 27         Callistratus and 49 companions (304) He was the grandson of Neokorus, a soldier from Carthage who witnessed the Crucifixion, Resurrection, and miracles of Jesus Christ and believed.  Callistratus also became a Christian and refused to bow down to idols as ordered by his army commander.  As others saw him endure great torture for his faith, they also became Christians.  They were slain in 304.

A Word from the Fathers & Mothers

“Teach the virtues by word.  But, preach about them by deed.”  Abba Isaac to Amma Theodora, from the Matericon 

“Be merciful in this world, my son, that mercy may be shown to you in the other world where you are going.”  Abba Aaron,from the Histories of the Monks of Upper Egypt

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