The Departure of St. Severianus, Bishop of Gabala
On this day also, the righteous holy father, Abba Severianus, Bishop of Gabala in Greece, departed. The name of his father was Blaryanos. He studied the secular wisdom of the Athenians, then went to Caesarea to study at the hands of those who were there. He returned to Rome where he studied the doctrines of the Church, and learned the Old and New Testaments in a few years. Later on, his parents departed and left him a great wealth. He wished to give it to Christ so that he might receive it back a hundred-fold. He built a hotel to house the strangers, the poor, and the afflicted, and planted gardens and appointed guardians to have the proceeds distributed to the poor. His name was given to these places a long time after his departure from this world.
His uncle, who was the governor of that city, informed Emperor Honorius that Severianus had squandered all his money for the name of the Lord Christ to receive from Him a hundred-fold as He had promised in His Holy Gospel. The emperor was pleased. He invited him and commanded him not to leave the palace. The emperor used to take the saint along with him to the church. In those days Pope Einokendios was sitting on the chair of Rome, and it was revealed to him by God that Severianus would be in charge of a large group of people. The Pope loved and honored him, and wished not to be separated from him, as he was loved by everyone.
When St. Severianus (Sawiros) saw that everyone honored him, he worried about losing his labor, so he decided to escape from the vain glory of this world. The angel of the Lord appeared to him and commanded him to go to the city of Gabala where he would become a father to many souls. He departed by night with his disciple, Theodore, after having put on him the monastic eskeem. God sent to him a light to guide him to his destination. There was a monastery headed by a holy abbot who learned in a vision about the coming of St. Severianus. He went out, welcomed him and told him about his vision. His fame reached that region and a countless number of people came to him. Emperor Theodosius had one of the monasteries renewed for him to live in as the angel had determined for him. He became the comforter for many souls. He continued to teach and instruct the monks until they became saints, like angels.
God performed many wonders at his hands. The daughter of the governor of Gabala had an evil spirit dwelling in her and the spirit said to her father, "If you drive away Severianus from this place, I will get out of your daughter." When her father informed the saint about that, he wrote him a paper saying: "In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, get out of her." When he returned to his daughter with this paper straightaway the devil screamed and left her. Once some magicians agreed with some soldiers to break into his monastery. They were smitten with blindness and they remained like this for three days until the saint prayed for them to be cured.
Philatheus, the Bishop of the city of Gabala, learned in a vision from God that St. Severianus (Sawiros) would succeed him on his chair and he said this to his people. When St. Severianus was ordained, he looked after his people in the best way.
There was in that city a Jew called Sektar who was proud of his knowledge. He came to the saint and debated with him until finally he was convinced of the correctness of Christianity and the faith in the Lord Christ; many other magicians also believed. During his days, Egypt became as proud of its monks as Constantinople was of Saint John Chrysostom (of the Golden Mouth).
When the Persians declared war against Honorius and Arcadius, they sent to St. Severianus asking for his prayers for the kingdom. He sent back to them saying, "If we belong to Christ, and our kingdom belongs to Christ, we have no need for armors or spears or troops." And he reminded them of what the Lord had done with those previous kings who pleased Him.
When Empress Eudoxia was angry with Chrysostom (of the Golden Mouth), she brought St. Severianus among others for the trial of St. Chrysostom. He admonished her saying, "John Chrysostom (of the Golden Mouth) did nothing worthy of banishment," but she would not hearken to him.
He wrote many discourses and sermons which still exist in the church books till now. He waxed old reaching the age of
100years. Ten days before his death, the angel of God appeared to him and informed him of the day of his departure from this world. He instructed his people and then departed in peace. His pure body was prepared as was meet and was placed in the tomb. His departure was two years before that of St. John Chrysostom (of the Golden Mouth).
His prayers be with us all, and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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