The Departure of Saint Zacharias, the Monk
On this day, St. Zacharias the monk, departed. His father's name was Karyos. He was married, but he longed for the monastic life. He told his wife about what was on his mind and she agreed to it. Karyos had a son, called Zacharias and a daughter. He left them with their mother and went to the desert of Scete and became a monk at the hands of a holy old man.
Shortly after, there was a great famine in the country and the wife took the two children and came to the desert where their father Karyos was. She complained to him about the tribulation which had come upon her through the famine and handed him the children. But Karyos told her, "God has divided the two children between us. You take the girl and leave the boy with me." She took her daughter and departed. Karyos took his son Zacharias and brought him to the elders who prayed over him and they prophesied that he would become a perfect monk.
Zacharias was brought up well in the desert, and advanced in every virtue. Because he was exceedingly handsome and his fair look, there were many murmurs in the desert because of him and they said, "How is it, a boy like that dwells in the desert among the monks?" When St. Zacharias heard that, he went to lake El-Natroun (which was very salty) without telling anyone. He took off his apparel, plunged his body into the lake, and remained in it for many hours. The color of his body became black and he looked like a leper. Then he went forth from the water, put on his apparel and came to his father who did not recognize him until he had stared at him closely. When he asked him about what had changed his appearance, he told him what he had done.
When it was Sunday, he went with his father to the church to partake of the Holy Mysteries. The Lord revealed to St. Isidore, the priest of Scete, what St. Zacharias had done. He marvelled and said to the monks, "Zacharias received the offering last Sunday as a man, but now he has become an angel."
This saint possessed many virtues, especially the virtue of humility in which he had reached such a degree of perfection that his father said about him, "I have labored greatly in the fight, but I have never attained the extent of my son Zacharias."
St. Zacharias lived a strenuous life and strove exceedingly hard for 45 years. When he came to the desert, he was seven years old and all the days of his life numbered 52 years, then he departed in peace.
His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God, forever. Amen
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