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The Lausiac History Of Palladius by Palladius Of Galatia

[1] THE thrice-blessed Melania was a Spaniard by origin, but afterwards belonged to Rome. She was the daughter of Marcellinus the ex-consul, and wife of a certain man of high official rank, whom I do not quite remember. Having become a widow at twenty-two, she was favoured with the divine love, and having said nothing to any one—for she would have been prevented—in the time when Valens had the rule in the empire, she had a guardian nominated for her son and took all her movable property and put it on a ship; then she sailed with all speed to Alexandria, accompanied by various highborn women and children. [2] After that, having sold her goods and turned them into money, she went to the mountain of Nitria, where she met the following fathers and their companions—Pambo, Arsisius, Sarapion the Great, Paphnutius of Scete, Isidore the Confessor, bishop of Hermopolis, and Dioscorus. And she sojourned with them for half a year, travelling about in the desert and visiting all the saints. [3] But after this, when the prefect of Alexandria banished Isidore, Pisimius, Adelphius, Paphnutius and Pambo, with them also Ammonius Parotes, and twelve bishops and priests, to Palestine in the neighbourhood of Diocæsarea, she followed them and ministered to them from her own money. But, servants being forbidden them, so they told me—for I met the holy Pisimius and Isidore and Paphnutius and Ammonius—wearing the dress of a young slave she brought them in the evenings what they required. But the consular of Palestine got to know of it, and wishing to fill his pocket thought he would terrify her. [4] And having arrested her he threw her into prison, ignorant that she was a lady. But she told him: “For my part, I am So-and-So’s daughter and So-and-So’s wife, but I am Christ’s slave. And do not despise the cheapness of my clothing. For I am able to exalt myself if I like, and you cannot terrify me in this way or take any of my goods. So then I have told you this, lest through ignorance you should incur judicial accusations. For one must in dealing with insensate folk be as audacious as a hawk.” Then the judge, recognizing the situation, both made an apology and honoured her, and gave orders that she should succour the saints without hindrance.

[5] After they were recalled she founded a monastery in Jerusalem, and spent twenty-seven years there in charge of a convent of fifty virgins. With her lived also the most noble Rufinus, from Italy, of the city of Aquileia, a man similar to her in character and very stedfast, who was afterwards judged worthy of the priesthood. A more learned man or a kinder than he was not to be found among men. [6] So these two during twenty-seven years receiving at their own charges those who visited Jerusalem in pursuance of a vow, bishops and monks and virgins, edified all who visited them, and they reconciled the schism of Paulinus, some 400 monks in all, and winning over every heretic that denied the Holy Spirit they brought him to the Church; and they honoured the clergy of the district with gifts and food, and so continued to the end, without offending anyone.








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