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The Paradise Of The Holy Fathers Volumes 1 and 2 by Saint Athanasius Of Alexandria

IN this mountain there also lived the blessed man Pambô (or Panbîs), who was the teacher and master of the Bishops Dioscorus, Ammonius, Eusebius, [Euthemis] (Eutymius), and Origen the nephew of Dracontius, a marvellous man. Now this man Pambô possessed [the power to utter] words of prophecy, and splendid triumphs, yet with all these he despised gold and silver, even as the Word demandeth. Now the following things [concerning him] were related unto me by the blessed woman Melhâ (i.e., Melania):

When I first came from Rome to Alexandria I heard concerning the life and deeds of Pambô, inasmuch as the blessed man Isidore, who also brought me unto him in the desert, told me about him. And I brought unto him a basket which was filled with stamped silver (i.e., coined money) three hundred pounds [in weight], and I begged him to accept some of my possessions for his needs. He was sitting and plaiting the leaves of palm trees, and as he was doing this he merely blessed me, and said, “God give thee thy reward!” Then he said unto his steward, whose name was Origen, “Take and distribute [this] among all the brethren who are in the ‘Island’ and in Libya”; for these monasteries are exceedingly poor, and he commanded the steward not to give unto any man who dwelt in Egypt, for those who dwell therein have [abundant] means of subsistence. Now I stood there and I expected to be treated with honour or to be praised for the greatness of the gift, but when I heard nothing from him, I said unto him, “Master, knowest thou how much money it is, and that there are three hundred pounds [in the basket]?” Then Pambô, without lifting up his gaze, said unto me, “My daughter, He unto whom thou hast offered thy money hath no need [to know] the weight. For He who weighed the mountains in a balance knoweth how much is the weight of thy silver. If thou hadst given the money unto me thou wouldst have done well to have informed me concerning the weight thereof; but since thou hast given it to God, Who did not despise the two mites of the widow, [what need hast thou to tell Him?] Hold thy peace.”

Now our Lord so directed that in the day on which I entered the mountain this blessed man died without having been ill, for he died whilst he was sewing together palm leaves for mats, without fever and without sickness. And he was seventy years old. Now he was sewing together palm leaves for a mat, and coming to the end of it he sent and called me. And when he had finished sewing it, he said unto me, “Take this mat from my hands, so that thou mayest keep me in remembrance, for I have nothing else whatever to leave thee”; and having given it unto me he straightway died. And I wrapped his body in linen swathings, and buried him, and then I departed from the desert; and I shall treasure the mat as a sacred relic until the day of my death.

Now at the time of the death of this holy man Pambô there were standing before him certain famous men, Origen the priest and steward, and Ammonius, together with the remainder of the brethren, and they told [me] that at the time of his death, he said, “From the day wherein I came into this desert and built this cell in which I have lived [until this day] I know not that I have [ever] eaten the bread of idleness (or bread) which did not come from the labour of mine own hands; and my soul repenteth not that I have ever spoken an empty word in my life; thus I go to God like one who hath, as yet, not made a beginning in the fear of God.” And Origen and Ammonius, the servants of Christ, in telling us the story of his life, bore witness concerning him that he was never asked a question by any man about a saying from the Book, or about the rules and labours of the ascetic life which he did not either answer immediately, or say, “I have not as yet understood the matter.” Now there were times when he spake these words [only] after three months’ consideration of a matter; and he used to make answer with such understanding that every man received the things which were said by him with as great reverence as if they had [been said] by God. Now this excellence was also attributed to Anthony the Great and to the rest of the holy men. Among other things which are said concerning the holy man Pambô is the following. The blessed man Pîôr once went to Pambô’s cell and took with him some bread, and Pambô made a complaint, saying unto him, “Why hast thou done this?” Then Abbâ Pîôr made answer, saying, “Let [this thing] be not grievous unto thee”; but Pambô was silent and sent him away. And after some time Rabbâ Pambô went to the cell of Abbâ Pîôr, and he took with him bread which had been dipped in water; and being asked, “Why hast thou done this?” the blessed man Pambô said unto him, “Let it not be grievous unto thee that I have also dipped the bread in water.”








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