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

CONCERNING the mattersof the blessed priest Innocent, who [lived] in the Mount of Olives, I think that thou must have heard from many people, but thou mayest also learn from us not a few things, for we lived with him for a period of three years. Now therefore this man was exceedingly simple, and he was [one] of the nobles of the palace in the kingdom of the Emperor Constantine; he withdrew himself from the partnership of marriage, but he had a son whose name was Paule, who served in the household [of the Emperor]; and this son was caught in a transgression with the daughter of a certain priest, and Innocent was exceedingly wroth with him. Then Innocent made entreaty unto God, saying, “O our Lord, give thou unto him such a spirit that he will not be able to find time to sin in the lust of the body,” for he thought that it would be better and more excellent in every way for his son to be delivered over to a devil rather than to fornication. And this actually came to pass to the youth, and he liveth to this day in the Mount of Olives loaded with irons, and admonished by a devil. Now this man Innocent, the father of Paule, because he was of a most merciful disposition—though if I were to tell [the whole truth] I should say that he appeared to me to be lacking in sense—on very many occasions stole [things] and hid them from the brethren, and gave them unto those who were in want; but he was a simple man and had no wickedness in him; and he was held to be worthy of the gift [of the possession of power] over devils.

For a certain maiden, in whom was a devil, came unto him, and whilst we were looking at her the devil smote her, and threw her down upon the ground and made her body to writhe and twist about; and when I saw [this] I wished to dismiss that maiden in order that she might go to her mother, because, on account of the cruelty (or violence) of that devil, I thought that she could never be healed. And whilst I was pondering those things the old man Innocent came, and he saw her mother standing, and weeping, and tearing her face with her nails, and plucking out her hair, because of the great madness, and the gnashing of the teeth, and the contortions of her daughter. When, therefore, that blessed old man saw her, his mercy revealed itself because he was grieved on account of her tribulation, and he took the maiden, and went into his martyrium, which he himself had built, and wherein was preserved a blessed [relic] of Saint John the Baptist, and having prayed there and made supplication unto God from the third unto the ninth hour, he gave the maiden [back] to her mother, and she was healed on that day, and he drove away from her the devil and [his] struggles [with her]. Now the strugglings and contortions of the maiden were such that when she spat, she spat upon her side [instead of away from her]; to this extent was her body twisted.

And, again, a certain old woman lost a sheep, and she came to him weeping [about it], and he took her, and said unto her, “Shew me the place where thou didst lose it”; and they came, therefore, to a place which was near the grave of Lazarus, where he stood up and prayed. Now certain boys had stolen the sheep and had already killed it. And Innocent having prayed, and the boys being unwilling to confess that the flesh of the sheep was buried in a vineyard, a raven suddenly appeared, though wherefrom no man knoweth, which had taken a piece of flesh from the carcass, and stood over the place where it was; and when the old man saw this he perceived that the sheep was buried there. Then those boys fell down and did homage to him, and they confessed that they had taken the sheep, and paid the price thereof to its mistress.








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