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The Lausiac History Of Palladius by Palladius Of Galatia

[1] THE first time that I set foot in the city of the Alexandrians, in the second consulate of the great Emperor Theodosius, who now lives with the angels because of his faith in Christ, I met in the city a wonderful man, distinguished in every respect, both as regards character and knowledge, Isidore the priest, hospitaller of the Church of Alexandria. He was said to have fought successfully his first youthful contests in the desert, and I actually saw his cell in the mountain of Nitria. But when I met him, he was an old man seventy years of age, who lived another fifteen years and then died in peace. [2] Up to the very end of his life he wore no linen except a head-band, never had a bath, nor partook of meat. His slender frame was so wellknit by grace that all who did not know his manner of life expected that he lived in luxury. Time would fail me if I were to tell in detail the virtues of his soul. He was so benevolent and peaceable that even his enemies the unbelievers themselves reverenced his shadow because of his exceeding kindliness. [3] So great a knowledge had he of the holy scriptures and the divine precepts that even at the very meals of the brethren he would have periods of absent-mindedness and remain silent. And being urged to tell the details of his ecstasy he would say: “I went away in thought on a journey, seized by contemplation.” For my part I often knew him weep at table, and when I asked the cause of the tears I heard him say: “I shrink from partaking of irrational food, being myself rational and destined to live in a paradise of delight owing to the power given us by Christ.” [4] He became known to all the Senate at Rome and to the wives of the nobles, when he paid his first visit in company with Athanasius the bishop, and on a second occasion with Demetrius the bishop; a man of great wealth and extensive property, he wrote no will when he came to die, and left neither money nor goods to his sisters, who were virgins. But he commended them to Christ, saying: “He that created you will provide for your life, as He has done for me.” Now there was with his sisters a community of seventy virgins.

When I visited him as a young man and besought that I might be trained in the solitary life, since I was in the full vigour of my age and needed, not discourse, but bodily hardships, like a good tamer of colts he led me out from the city to the so-called Solitudes five miles away (and handed me over to Dorotheus).








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