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The Lausiac History Of Palladius by Palladius Of Galatia

[1] (ARSISIUS) used to say that Amoun lived in this wise. When he was a young man of about twenty-two he was constrained by his uncle to marry a wife—he (himself) was an orphan. Being unable to resist the pressure of his uncle, he thought it best to be crowned and take his seat in the nuptial chamber and undergo all the marriage rites. When all (the guests) were gone out, after settling the pair to sleep on the couch in the bridal chamber, Amoun gets up and locks the door, then he sits down and calls his blessed companion to him and says to her: [2] “Come here, lady, and then I will explain the matter to you. The marriage which we have contracted has no special virtue. Let us then do well by sleeping in future each of us separately, that we may please God by keeping our virginity intact.” And drawing from his bosom a little book, he read to the girl, who could not read at all, in the words of the apostle and the Saviour, and to most of what he read he added all that was in his mind and explained the principles of virginity and chastity; so that convinced by the grace of God she said: [3] “I too am convinced, my lord. And what further commands have you now?” “I command,” he said, “that each of us lives alone in future.” But she could not endure this, saying: “Let us dwell in the same house, but in different beds.” So he lived in the same house with her eighteen years. During each day he occupied himself with his garden and balsam-grove—for he prepared balsam. Balsam grows like a vine, requiring cultivation and pruning and much hard work. Then in the evening he would enter the house and offer prayers and eat with his wife; and then having said the night prayers would go out. [4] Such was their practice, and both having attained impassivity, the prayers of Amoun prevailed, and she says to him at last: “I have something to say to you, my lord; that, if you hearken to me, I may be convinced that you love me in a godly way.” He says to her: “Say what you wish.” She says to him: “It is just that we should live apart—you being a man and practising righteousness, and I also eagerly following the same way as you. For it is absurd that you should live with me in chastity and yet conceal such virtue as this of yours.” [5] But he, thanking God, says to her: “Then you keep this house; but I will make myself another house.” And he went out and settled in the inner part of the mount of Nitria—for there were no monasteries there yet—and he made himself two round cells. And having lived twenty-two years more in the desert he died, or rather fell asleep. He used to see that blessed lady his wife twice each year.

The blessed Athanasius the bishop in his life of Antony told a marvellous story about this man, how that he came to the bank of the river Lycus with his disciple Theodorus, and shrinking from removing his clothes lest he should see him naked, he was found on the other side, having been carried across by angels without using the ferry. Such then was the life of the blessed Amoun and such his perfection that the blessed Antony saw his soul carried to heaven by angels. I crossed this river once in a ferry, but with fear; for it is a canal leading from the great Nile.








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