Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Patron Saint

The Monk Euphrosynos – was from one of the Palestinian monasteries, and he did his obedience working in the kitchen as a cook. Toiling away for the brethren, the Monk Euphrosynos did not absent himself from thought about God, but rather dwelt in prayer and fasting. He remembered always, that obedience – is the first duty of a monk, and therefore humbly he was obedient to the elder brethren. The patience of the saint was amazing: they often reproached him, but he made no complaint and unperturbedly endured every unpleasantness. The Monk Euphrosynos pleased the Lord by his inner virtue concealed from people, and the Lord Himself revealed to the monastic brethren the spiritual heights of their unassuming fellow-monk. One of the monastery presbyters in prayer asked the Lord to show him the blessings, prepared for the righteous in the age to come. The priest beheld in a dream, what is situated in paradise and he contemplated with fear and with joy its inexplicable beauty. He also espied there a monk of his monastery, – the cook Euphrosynos. Amazed at this encounter, the presbyter asked Euphrosynos, how he came to be there. The saint answered him, that he was in paradise through the great mercy of God. The priest again asked, whether Euphrosynos would be able to give him something from amongst the surrounding beauty. The Monk Euphrosynos suggested to the priest to take whatsoever he wished, and so the priest pointed to three luscious apples, growing in the paradise garden. The monk picked the three apples, wrapped them in a kerchief, and gave them to his companion. Having awakened in the early morning, the priest thought the vision a typical dream, but suddenly he noticed next to him the kerchief with the fruit of paradise wrapped in it, and emitting a wondrous fragrance. The priest, having found the Monk Euphrosynos in church, asked him under oath, where he was the night before. The saint answered, that he was there where also the priest was. Then the monk said, that the Lord, in fulfilling the prayer of the priest, had shown him paradise and had bestown the fruit of paradise through him, " the lowly and unworthy servant of God, Euphrosynos". At the finish of the morning the priest related everything to the monastery brethren, pointing out the spiritual loftiness of Euphrosynos in pleasing God, and he pointed to the fragrant paradaisical fruit. Deeply affected by what they heard, the monks went to the kitchen, in order to pay respect to the Monk Euphrosynos, but they did not find him there: fleeing human glory, the monk had left the monastery. The place where he concealed himself remained unknown, but the monks always remembered that their monastic brother the Monk Euphrosynos had come upon paradise, and that they in being saved, through the mercy of God would meet him there. The apples of paradise they reverently saved and distributed pieces of for blessing and for healing.

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