The Departure of St. Zosimus (Zocima)
On this day in the middle of the fifth century the ascetic father and the struggling monk Abba Zocima the priest, departed. This Saint was born about the middle of the fourth century from Christian and holy parents, who were from Palestine. When he was five years old they handed him to a righteous old monk, who raised him in a Christian manner and taught him the doctrine of the church, and shortly after they ordained him a deacon. He became a righteous monk and grew in virtues.
He was continually praising God and he read the Scriptures day and night and during work also. When he had completed thirty five years in the monastery they ordained him a priest. Then he increased his ascetic labors and struggle. After spending thirteen years in this struggle the enemy sowed in his mind the evil thought that he was superior to all his contemporaries in virtues and righteousness. But the Lord willed to turn him away from this thought. He sent an angel to him and commanded him to go to the monastery which was near the river Jordan. He rose up and went to the monastery and he found therein righteous old men who were more perfect in their contending than him. He realized that he was far from what he thought in himself and he stayed there with them.
The custom of those monks during the Holy Lent, was that after they had fasted the first weak they partook the Holy Communion, then they left the monastery singing the twenty six psalm, and at the end of it, they prayed together. Then the abbot blessed them and they bed farewell to each other. Then they dispersed in the desert of Jordan and each of them carried out his spiritual fight by himself. St. Zosimus used to go out with them each year wondering in the desert asking God to show him who was more perfect than him.
As he was wondering about he met Mary the Egyptian (Coptic). He learned from her about her life history and the reason for her wondering in the desert. She asked him to visit her after one year to give her the Holy Mysteries. He came to her in the next year and gave her the Holy Communion. In the year after he revisited her again but he found her had departed and he buried her and told the monks of the monastery concerning her strife. After he had lived ninety nine years he departed in peace.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
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