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

AND moreover, we found in this city a certain monk, and we met him at the time when he had [just] received the laying on of hands as an elder; formerly he had been a husbandman, but he had laboured in the life of a solitary recluse (or monk) for twenty years, and he had lived in close intercourse with the Bishop of the city, who was a holy man. He was such a benevolent man that even in the night time he would go roundabout and visit those who were poor and needy, and he was so indefatigable in his work that he neglected neither the prison-house, nor the house of the sick (i.e., hospital), nor the houses of the rich and poor, but he helped every one. He urged the rich with words which were full of mercy, and exhorted them to fair deeds, and he toiled with anxious care on behalf of the poor and needy, in respect of those things which were meet for them. Those who were struggling in contention he brought nigh unto peace, and those who were naked he clothed with raiment, and he laboured for the sick and brought them the bindings up which conduced to [their] healing. Now there existed in this city of Ancyra that which existeth rightly in large cities, that is to say, in the porch of the church thereof there lay a great number of poor folk, who were in the habit of going about begging for their daily bread, and among them were certain men who had wives; and it fell out on the night of a certain day that one of these women was about to give birth to a child. And by reason of the pain which was darting through her, and the severe anguish of the birth-pangs, she cried out loudly, and the blessed man heard her outcries from the church as he was praying; and the blessed man ceased praying, and went forth to see [what was happening], although it was winter. And seeing that there was no man nigh unto her in her necessity, he himself filled the place of midwife, and he abhorred not the shame which attacheth unto those who give birth to children; for the great act of lovingkindness which he was about to perform did not grant unto him the perception of such things.

Now of this blessed man the garments (or possessions) were so utterly poor that they were worth nothing at all, for by reason of the great lovingkindness which dwelt in him he took no pains at all to acquire any possession whatsoever. For if anyone gave him a book he straightway went and sold it, and unto those who enquired of him concerning it, saying, “Why didst thou sell [the book]?” he said, “How am I to persuade the Master (or Teacher) that I have in truth learned His handicraft, unless I make use of His testimony as to the true [meaning] of His handicraft?” And this holy man thereupon persisteth in this course of action until this day, and he hath left behind him unto all those who dwell in that country a never-fading remembrance. And he is happy in the expectation of the good things which are for ever, and he waiteth to receive the reward of the labours of his triumphs in the kingdom from HimWho said, “I was an hungered and ye gave Me to eat. I was naked and ye clothed Me” (St. Matthew 25:35, 36).








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