The Departure of St. Bessarion, the Great
On this day, the great ascetic father, St. Bessarion, departed. He was born in Misr (Egypt) to Christian parents. When he grew up, he longed for the monastic life, so he went to Anba Anthony (Antonius), under whose direction he remained for a while. Then he went to Anba Macarius, and stayed under his guidance for a while. Later on, he wandered about in the desert, never lodging in a place with a roof. He possessed absolutely nothing of this world, and he had only one coarse hairy sack-cloth. He used to carry the Gospel, and went round the cells of the monks crying. If they asked him the reason for his weeping, he would reply, "My riches have all been stolen, and I have escaped from death. My family have fallen from honor into disgrace." His words referred to the great loss that befell the human race by the fall of the first father Adam by breaking the first commandment. Those who did not understand what his words meant would console him saying, "God shall restore what has been stolen from you."
The fathers had recorded for him many signs:
+ Once he was walking with his two disciples, John and Dulas, by the shore of the Red Sea (salty water). When they became thirsty, St. Bessarion took some of its water and prayed over it. The water became sweet and they all drank of it.
+ Another time, they brought to the wilderness of Scetis a mad man, who was possessed by demons, for the elders to pray over. Because the elders knew that St. Bessarion despised the glory of men, they did not want to ask him to pray over the sick man, but rather they put the man in the church where the saint usually stood. When St. Bessarion came into the church and found the man there asleep, he woke him up, and the man rose up healed and with a sound mind. God wrought many signs on his hands. He pleased God and then departed in peace.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
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