Dispatch from the Desert: November 23rd thru 29th

African Saints (from the Prologue of Ohrid)

November 23  Ischyrion (5th century) a hermit in the Sketis desert and Bishop in Egypt.  This may be the Ischyrion with one lesson in the Sayings of the Desert Fathers

November 24  Katherine (310) She was the daughter of a king who lived in Alexandria and was known for her great beauty and wisdom.  By visions, Katherine became a Christian and considered herself betrothed to Jesus.  Refusing to worship pagan idols, she outwitted 50 philosophers and convinced them to become Christians.  She also persuaded the emperor’s wife and his commander and 200 soldiers to accept  the faith.  All were tortured and put to death with Katherine beheaded at only 18 years old.  One of the great monasteries in Christianity is named for her on Mt. Sinai.

Emperess Augusta (Faustina),Porphyrius Stratelates, and 200 soldiers (505-313) All were martyred for declaring themselves to be Christians seeing the faith of Katherine in Alexandria.

November 25 Peter of Alexandria  (311) For a time, this Peter studied under the philosopher Origen.  He became Archbishop of Alexandria in 299.  During his leadership, 670 Christians were martyred including himself.  Peter also anathematized the priest Arius for his false doctrine of the Son being a created being of the Father and not one in essence with Him.

November 27 Pinuphrius (4th century) A contemporary of Abba John Cassian and known to be a great teacher by example among the Egyptian monks.

Nathaniel (6th century) A monk of Nitra, Egypt who is said not to have left his cell for 38 years.

November 29 Acacius (7th century) From Abba John Climacus in The Ladder Acacius was a young novice monk who was abused by an evil elder.  He endured the torture for nine years before he died.  The tormentor and another elder visited his grave and asked, “Acacius, did you die?”  “No,” came the reply from the grave, “it is impossible for the obedient to die.”  The evil elder shut himself up in his cell near the grave and spent the rest of his life in prayer and repentance.

A Word from the Fathers & Mothers

“Be silent and when a conversation takes place, it is better to listen than to speak.”  Abba Nisterus, from the Sayings of the Desert Fathers

“We all want to be saved, but because of our habit of negligence, we swerve away from salvation.”  Ammah Syncletica, from the Sayings of the Desert Fathers

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