Dispatch from the Desert: December 7th thru 15th
African Saints (from the Prologue of Ohrid)
December 8 Patapius (7th century) He was raised by pious parents in the Egyptian city of Thebes. Patapius first tried to flee worldly vanity in the wilderness areas of his homeland. But, he fled to a hut in Constantinople when too many people began to praise him. Even there, he was well known for miraculous healings.
Holy Martyrs of Africa (477) Vandals under King Gunerik (Genzerik) allowed Arian heritics to persecute Orthodox Christians in the Roman province of Africa. Two priest were burned to death. Sixty had their tounges cut out. Three hundred laypersons were beheaded.
December 10 Menas the Most Eloquent, Hermongenes, and Eugraphus (313) Menas and Hermogenes were Athenians who lived in Byzantium. Menas was a secret Christian and was sent to Alexandria to root out believers from the city. Rather than root them out, he confessed his faith and led many pagans to convert. Hermongenes was sent to torture Menas. But he also converted seeing Menas healed from his wounds and became the Bishopm of Alexandria. Emperor Maxim himself went to the city to have them both tortured and executed along with Eugraphus, a friend and secretary to Menas who loudly confessed the Christian faith.
December 11 Mirax (640) He was an Egyptian who was tricked by a Muslim Emir to convert to Islam. But, he repented and entered a mosque with a cross and called on the Muslims to convert. He was tortured and beheaded.
December 14 Apollonius, Philemon, Arianus, Theoctychus, and four guards converted by Arianus (305) Arianus was a crule judge who persecuted Christians in Egypt. Threatened by this judge, Apollonius bribed the pagan musician Philiemon to dress like him and offer sacrifices to idols in his place. However, Philemon saw the light of Christ and loudly declared himself a Christian in the pagan temple. Rain came down from heaven and baptized him as he was being tortured. Arianus executed both men. But, he also became a Christian after his injured eye was miraculously healed. He and four soldiers were condemned to death by Emperor Diocletian.
December 15 Bacchus (787) A monk at Mirs al-Fustat, Egypt who was martyred.
A Word from the Fathers & Mothers
“When he does the things of the right hand, that is, things that are good, everything that he ask from God will come to him. Abba Aaron, from the Histories of the Monks of Upper Egypt and the Life of Onnophrius
“Acquire stillness and silence in the fear of God, and not one of the enemy’s darts will touch you.” Abba Isaiah to Amma Theodora, from the Matericon