Dispatch from the Desert: October 19th thru 25th

African Saints (from the Prologue of Ohrid)

October 19  Varus and the Seven (ca. 307)  Varus was a Roman officer living in Egypt and a secret Christian.  He took care of imprisoned Christian teachers who encouraged him to join them as they were tortured and martyred.

Cleopatra (327) & John (320)  Not the Egyptian queen.  This Cleopatra was a Palestinian woman and widow of a Roman officer.  She and her son, John, were in Egypt when Varus was martyred.  She took the saint’s relics and burried them at a village near Mt. Tabor.  Later, she built a church their in his honor where Varus would appear as an angel. 

October 22  Lot & Rufus (5th century)  Both were among the great Desert Fathers of Egypt and had two lessons in the Sayings of the Desert Fathers attributed to them.  Abba Lot lived in a monastery near Arsinoe and was advised by Abba Joseph of Panephysis who challenged him to become all flame. 

October 23  Petronius (346) A disciple of Abba Pachomius the Great in Egypt.

October 24  Elesbaan (553) This King of Ethiopia was devout in the faith and raised an army to fight against a governor in an Arabian city that was oppressing Christians.  Elesbaan wept  as his army was being defeated and promised God that if he were victorious, he would leave the throne to become a monk.  The Ethiopians won and he made good on his promise.  Elesbaan lived in strict asceticism for 15 years and was known to work miracles. 

A Word from the Fathers & Mothers

“Have confidence; repentance is possible.”  Abba Lot, from the Sayings of the Desert Fathers

“We must constantly clean out the house of the soul, and inspect it so that no poisonous animal; that is, a sinful thought or disposition in the inner chambers of our soul; remains in it, smoking it out with the divine incense of prayer.”  Amma Syncletica, from the Matericon

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