A REPERTOIRE OF BYZANTINE

 

"BENEFICIAL TALES"

[διηγήσεις ψυχωφελε_ς]


 Table of Contents ] 1-99 ] 100-199 ] 200-299 ] 300-399 ] 400-499 ] 500-599 ] 600-699 ] 700-799 ] 800-899 ] [ 900-999 ]

 

NARRATIONES ANIMAE UTILES

précis 900-999

 

W900

Ladder 21.35 PG:88 953D-956A (gr.22)

W900

The testimony of a diroratic

[inc. _πισημήvατό τις τ¢ v _ρ_v δυvαμέvωv]

Once when a father with the gift of discretion was in an assembly, the demons of vanity and vainglory came and sat on either side of him. One nudged him with his finger to tell out some vision he had experienced in the desert, but he was put to silence with Ps. 39.15. The other then praised him for resisting "his mother," for vainglory is the mother of vanity. This one was put to silence with Ps 39.16.

[n.b.: ignorance is the mother of pride; sic Palladios to Lausos, ed. Butler, p.7.]

W901

Ladder 23.15 PG 88:980AB

W901

A monk tempted to blaspheme

[récit autobiographique masqué ?]

A serious monk troubled with the temptation to blasphemy spent twenty years trying to rid himself of it by austerities, but to no avail. He wrote down his condition [πάθoς] and gave it to a holy man, falling on his face before him. The holy man smiled and raised him up when he read it. "Put you hand on my neck" he said. "This sin is on my neck now for as many years as you have been plagued with it. Go your way and worry about it no more," and the monk was rid of the temptation before he even left the holy man's cell.

-----------------------

W902

Cod. Vatic.2592 ff. 136v Clavis 7758 Anastasios 41 A41

W902

Misael's story of three visitors

Abba Misael the Iberian told us that when he was διακovιτ_ς at the Summit [of Mount Sinaï] he was praying in the temple by night with the doors shut when three men entered without the doors opening; one wore a hair cloak [τρίχιvov παλαι_v] and the other two palm tunics [κoλόβια σιβίvης.] They asked to communicate; Misael said he would waken the πρoσμovάριoς, for the door of the διακovικ_v was locked and so was the cupboard within, in which the sacrament lay. The visitors would not have the guardian disturbed; they made obeisance before the locked doors which opened automatically, likewise the cupboard. They received their communion and went their way, the doors re-closing themselves after them.

W903

Cod. Vatic 2592 f.140 Clavis 7758 Anastasios 42 A42

W903

Agathon and Elias the Armenians

Areselaos lies in a difficult wadi; the narrator lived there three years and found there two Armenian fathers, Agathon and Elias the priest. One day Elias said to Agathon: "Prepare yourself, brother, for within twelve days you go to the Lord. I saw you today wearing new clothes and going to a marriage feast and when you knocked you were made welcome." He died five days later.

--> W904-W917 are from Cod Vatic. 2592 ff. 123v-135v, read in a transcription kindly lent by M. Flusin. Likewise W902, W903.

W904

BHG 1448qn Anastasios C01

W904

Demons assist in a siege of Constantinople

Sartabias of Damascus was afflicted by an evil spirit; but when the Saracens were going up the Straits of Abydos, a demon appeared to him and said they were going to help their colleagues in the expedition against Constantinople. No demon would trouble him until their return. The narrator emphasises this alliance between demons and Saracens, saying the latter are worse, for although demons are known to stand in awe of the cross, relics, saints, myrrh &c., the Saracens despise and trample on them.

W905

Anastasios C02

W905

How demons fear the eucharist

A friend of the narrator had a most pious mother who, anticipating an encounter with a demon, took a second portion of the eucharistic bread away from church, in her hand. When the demon attacked her (visibly) she showed it to him -- and he made off, becoming invisible.

W906

Anastasios C03

W906

How demons assisted Egyptians

The narrator was living in Jerusalem at the Mount of Olives thirty years ago when the Egyptians took it. Once he rose at the third hour of the night before the signal for worship at the Holy Sepulchre and he heard the sound of many labourers at work. He thought is was the Egyptians, for they had been digging all day -- to dismember the esplanade. But it was demons helping them by night. He knew it was demons because once the semantron was struck and "Bless oh Lord" sung out, there was silence. He says that rumour now has it that the temple will be rebuilt, but this is unlikely for none can be later than "the last" temple.

Anastasios C04 = BHG 1318s: W110

W907

Anastasios C05

W907

Elias' blasphemies rewarded

Five years ago at Clysma Theodoret the jewish sailor had a godless son named Elias who became officer in charge of forced labour, with many christians under his command. On a feast of the Mother of God they asked the son of Theodoret for permission to leave at the hour of worship, but this was refused; in fact he blasphemed against the Mother of God. But as they laboured on in the shipyard, a great beam fell from on high and he alone was hurt (in the head and the mouth, the organs of blasphemy) and died. The christians held a double celebration.

W908

Anastasios C06

W908

Theodore the headless

There was a christian sailor at Clysma who was much in contact with moslem shipping, and he converted to Islam. Later he was met by one of his men (Menas) as he was coming out of church, by night. Menas saw him as a man walking who had no head, so he asked him who he was. "Theodore the sailor who became pearls three months ago" [i.e. drowned.] Asked where his head was, he said: "I lost it ninety days ago when I believed with the headless ones," -- and disappeared.

W909

Anastasios C07

W909

Experinces of some christians at Mecca

Some christians tell of being "in the place where they have their stone and their sacred place, those who lord it over us," [Mecca] where they allegedly witnessed the sacrifice of many sheep and camels. By night, they saw a disgusting old woman [_πρεπ_ κα_ δυσειδ_] coming out of the ground. She took the heads and feet of the sacrificed animals back down into the ground with her. This was taken to indicate that moslem sacrifices go down, not up.

W910

Anastasios C08

W910

Moses who changed his faith many times

Azarias of Clysma, first of the ducatores, had a son called Moses still alive at In. Five years ago he renounced christianity, but re-converted when leading citizens protested. Then he became moslem again, going back and forth a few times. The narrator remonstrated with him; he confessed that there was a demon which afflicted him when he was christian, but promised relief if he apostatised. This should be a warning.

Anastasios C09 = BHG 801 W519

W911

Anastasios C10

W911

Slavery accepted to free another

The narrator knew a man who so loved Christ that when he saw one suffering in slavery, not being a rich man, he exchanged his own liberty for that of the suffering one. Then Christ inspired some Christians to free him for two hundred pieces of gold a little while later. The man was astounded at Christ's goodness to him, and the narrator at the man's piety.

Anastasios C11 = BHG 1444w W120

W912

Anastasios C12

W912

Euphemia who was beaten for going to church

A female Saracen of Damascus living in the Church (or the court ?) of Saint Cyprian [_v τ_ α_λ_ τo_ _γίoυ Κυπριαvo_] had a christian slave, Euphemia, whom she forbade to go to church for communion, but then said she could go but would receive two hundred stripes each time. She went every Sunday and then receieved her punishment πρ_ τo_ γεύσηται _δατoς. Once, on a feast day, she was beaten as usual by her fellow slaves who were bidden by that Jezebel to strike only one part of her body each time. Afterwards some christian women took her to tend her wounds and found not a trace on her; the narrator saw this too: τα_τα o_ πoλυχρόvια κα_ _ρχα_α κα_ _μάρτυρά ε_σιv, _λλ__περ _ωράκαμεv τo_ς _φθαλμo_ς _μ¢ v, _ _θεασάμεθα κα_ α_ χε_ρες _μ¢ v _ψηλάφησαv. Euphemia was later purchased by a christian man who often did such charitable acts; thus _χει πρoστάτηv κα_ πρέσβηv _π_ρ α_τo_ πρ_ς τ_v Θε_v _v τ_ χώρ_ τ¢ v ζώvτωv.

cf W823

W913

BHG 2126 Anastasios C13

W913

The martyrdom of George the Black

At Damascus there is the tomb of the martyr, George the Black. He was taken captive as a child and apostatised but at age eighteen he became a christian again. When fellow slaves betrayed him to his master, the latter summoned him to the mosque and obliged him to pray with him - which he refused to do. So the master had him hung up by his hands and feet, belly down, and cut him open with his sword. The relics were buried outside the city.

cf W046

W914

Anastasios C14

W914

A priest's son falsely accused by his step-mother

Pentaschoinon is a village near Amathous in Cyprus, near the sea. There was a godly priest there whose wife died, so he took another one. She accused the son of the first wife (Athanasios, aged twenty) of wasting the patrimony. When the priest asked, the son replied that he had wasted nothing, unless the hospitality he enjoined be counted as waste. Invited to inspect, the father found the stores of corn, wine and oil all full.

A little later, Athansios died. A ship came by and, it being winter, was almost wrecked. But at midday the sailors saw a young man running around on deck and guiding the ship. When asked, he told them he was Athanasios of Pentaschoinion, whom (once safely ashore) they tried to find (assuming he was a local saint.) They went to the tomb with the father, who called out: "Athanasios, was it you ?" "Yes; the Lord sent me to them so they would know that there is no evil in our area."

Anastasios C15 = BHG 1322w W504

W915

BHG 1450h Anastasios C16

W915

de monacho et nepote

One of the fathers had a brother in the world who died leaving a three-year-old son which the monk took into the desert with him. He lived a strict monastic life and died aged eighteen. The monk had a vision of the youth in an unpleasant place, because (it is explained) the monk taught him all the monastic disciplines, but no humility. "This story lies in the old gerontika and is set here as a warning to those in Syria of the heresy of the Nabatiani [Novatians ?] who sit in judgement on others."

W916

BHG 1322u,v Anastasios C17 = W040

W916

de arca martyris

[n.b. in Anastasios' version, Vatic. gr.2592 ff. 134v-135v, there is an added passage: "So, not even the holy angels can loose what priests have bound. And what can I say ? These days I see laymen, smeared with sin, lording it over sacred things and appointing themselves lords of the entire priesthood, arriving at the dignity not by divine, nor imperial, nor synodal, nor by canonical dispensation."]

W917

Anastasios C18

W917

That the demons often revere bishops,

_κoυσov _φελημoτάτης διηγησέως. In my home towm of Amathous there is a little mount called Kypria from which demons used to stone the town. Up went the bishop and celebrated the eucharist. At τ_ _για τo_ς _γίoις he said: "I adjure you, all evil spirits, by the holy body of Christ which gives us the power to loose and to bind in heaven and on earth, to withdraw; and never again to trouble the city," and so it was.

-----------------------

V A R I A

W918

BHG 1450zz N619

W918

de monacho a dæmonibus decepto

Two brothers in the innermost desert saw each other only on Sundays. Demons deceived one of them into thinking they were [heavenly] powers by revealing what was happening. He chanced to meet some monks and asked them if one could know anything about the things of the world. They realised he was speaking of himself and they issued a stern warning of how this sort of enquiry was incompatible with the monastic life. The next time the "powers" approached him, the monk told them they were false, whereupon their faces turned into those of beasts and off they went in shame.

cf. W710

W919

BHG 1322zb Cod Paris Supp. Grec. 1319 ff 56v-60v

W919

de magistro ter tentato

In one of the great and famous cities there was a man, sober and wise, who, for his virtues, was appointed to teach the sons of the leading citizens. But some, envious of his virtue, hired a city prostitute to corrupt him. Three days she came to the school at dismissal time, each time more decorated than before. The first time, he merely scowled and looked at the floor; the second time he wept and the third time he covered his nose and his eyes. This was because the first day he thought of her birth, the second of her death, and the third time, of her lying in the tomb.

W920

BHG 1322k Cod. Paris. Supp. grec. 1319 ff. 42v-49

W920

de coronis electorum

A monk had a vision in which he saw a great city in which the people were wearing different kinds of clothes and had different faces. He talked first to a man who had known great poverty and severe sickness in life (he was a leper, λελωβημέvoς) all of which he had borne with great patience - for which he now had his reward. Then he spoke to a monk who was faithful to the end; thirdly, to a man who had been honestly and decently married; lastly, to two persons in fairly clean garments who had lived very sinful lives, but who repented at the end and, by confession, were received into the city.

W921

BHG 1438g Cod Paris Grec 1596 pp.363-365

W921

de camelis

The son of a scholasticos [educated man or lawyer] trained to his father's profession associated with a calligrapher, from whom he heard τ_ περ_ _φελείας ψυχ_ς and went off to become a monk. He chanced upon a monk who had a wife and children and did not want a disciple, but the young man served the monk and his family so well for nine years that the monk began to fear he was an angel and that fire would fall on them all from heaven. He ordered camels to take the family to the village and the young monk (whom he forbade to follow him) to a monastery. The young man ordered the camels not to move until the elder withdraw the prohibition. Finally, the monk and the disciple sent away the woman and children and stayed together for more or less another eight years; both of them then died.

For a similar story, see W237, The monk in the Tower (no camels,) PE 1.27.3

W922

BHG 1450zs Cod Paris Grec 1596 pp 415-418 Huber 9

W922

de Antiocho

A story of some length with some very spirited dialogue about Antiochos the holy monk and agent [_πoκρισιάριoς] of his monastery, who was accused by a woman of getting her pregnant. Rudely summoned before the bishop, he took the child in his arms (it was forty days old) and it confessed that its father was Alexander the Lector -- who promptly went off and eventually died as an _γκλειστoς.

cf W220 W315 W423 W949 also W967 (very similar) +art cit

W923

BHG 1440x Cod Paris Coislin 257 ff 76v-77

W923

de puero monacho

A child was given to a monastery by its parents; they came to see "the little one." The higoumen told one of the monks to fetch "the little one." but as he came by, slapped him saying: "Who sent for you ? Get to your cell !" This happened three times; but the third time the higoumen called him back, took him by the hand and gave him to the parents, saying: "Your son has become a monk." "Let us pray that we might attain to such humility" the narrator adds.

W924

BHG 1442pb Cod Paris Coislin 257 ff 42-43

W924

de paramonario

In a martyrion of Saint Serapion in Alexandria, πρ_ τ_ς _λίoυ πύλης, a γέρωv used to beg in the baptistery. Sometimes he left at the third, or at the fifth, or at the evening hour. One day the paramonarios followed him; he bought a loaf for twelve numia and a cheese for four, then went into an empty tomb. When asked, he told his pursuer that he begged each day until he had sixteen numia, then came here to weep for his sins. It was agreed that henceforth the paramonarios would bring the victuals and the man would pray for him; but one day he asked to stay with the elder, as a monk. The latter now went back to begging, this time for thirty-two numia a day. Now a stratiotês followed the elder and he too offered to bring supplies in return for prayers. "I need two loaves and two cheeses a day [δύo _vvόvωv χρεία _χω κα_ β' τυρίωv καθ__μεραv] said the elder. Later, perceiving that his end was nigh, he told the younger to halve the supplies and continue in prayer; so, he would have the elder singing with him as usual. But then the younger man paid a brief visit to his relatives -- and found no elder singing with him when he returned. So he went and wept at the elder's grave. A voice said: "I did not abandon you; you broke my command. And it was not I who sang with you, but an angel of the Lord. Stay there, weeping for your sins and asking to be helped."

W925

BHG 1322s

W925

de Sozomeno eleemosynario

When Cyriacos was Patriarch of Jerusalem [temp. Constantine I --> Julian] Sozomen gave his garment to a poor man whom he found as he went around the squares of Constantinople. Then he had a dream of a most beautiful paradise, in which there were men with golden chests which contained all the rich clothing he was going to receive as his reward for the garment he had just given to Christ, an hundredfold. He gave another garment and had the same dream, so he gave away everything and became a wondrous monk [Θαυμάστoς {nomen ?} μovαχός.] There is a final vision in which he receives an hundredfold for all he gave away.

W926

BHG 1322ed Cod. Londin. Harley. 5639 ff. 134rv

W926

de vetula in spelunca

An elder saw a naked woman in a hole in the rock and thought her to be a beast; he gave her clothing and learned she was the daughter of a patrician who had fled marriage and had been in the rock for seventy years, with an unfailing source of food and drink. She sent him away with a charge to return with clothing, but on his return he found the opening in the rock closed and guarded by wild beasts. He found her dead within, and an eye which has never seen since his youth was instantly restored to health.

cf W348 W886 W009 W509

[n.b. this is immediately folowed in the cod. by BHG 1322ec (ff.134v-135) which is almost identical with BHG 1322eb, vetula in spelunca, W886]

W927

Acts of Thomas Act 7, 31-33

W927

A black beast's recriminations reversed

A great serpant [black dragon in Syriac] had slain a youth for having intercourse with a beautiful woman. Thomas made the beast [=Satan] suck the gall from the wound, whereupon the youth revived and the beast exploded.

W928

Acts of Thomas Act 7, 51-58.

W928

A pagan mistress resuscitated

a) cc.51-54 A youth who had a pagan mistress found his hands paralysed when he went to receive the eucharist. As she refused to become a Christian, he had to leave her; so he slew her, for (he said) he could not bear to see her commit adultery with another man. Thomas blessed water and told the man to wash his hands in it, at which they are healed. Then they went to the inn where the dead girl lay; Thomas raised her up with his hands.

b) cc.55-57 the resuscitated girls describes her experiences of hell (cf Apoc.Petri.) and of a most foul black man who took her into the pit where there was a stench and wheel of fire with souls hanging on it, and so forth.

c) c.58 She is charged not to commit adultery, which is heinous beyond all other sins.

W929

Acts of Thomas Act 7, 62-67

W929

Rape victims rehabilitated

The captain of King Misdaeus had a wife and daughter who were raped by a black man and a boy returning from a wedding feast three years earlier and who were still severely troubled by the experience. Thomas healed them by incorporating them into the body of the church.

W930

Acts of Thomas Act 8, 68-81

W930

Thomas commands and is advised by wild asses

Thomas caused wild asses to draw his carriage. The captain of the chariots had a wife and a daughter who were sorely possessed by demons. Thomas commanded the [wild] asses to stand in the court of the house, and he summoned the demons. The women came forth as dead persons. When the demons were put to flight, the women fell down as though dead. The asses then opened their mouths and urged Thomas to action. He prayed, and thus resuscitated the women, who revived and ate. The asses then returned to their wild state.

W931

Garitte 13

W931

A deacon's eucharist mutiplies bread

At Ravenna, in the palace of Prince Gregory (the son of Boethius,) a Byzantine deacon said that in the time of Heraclius, he and others were taken prisoner by the Avars. They escaped and wondered by night in the desert of Thrace without food. Finding a crumb of bread, they coerced the reluctant deacon into celebrating the eucharist. The bread multiplied and it sufficed for more than twenty days.

W932

Garitte 14

W932

Slavs cut open a priest

Abba Theodore the Asian, formerly a grazer in the Jordanian desert, said: "I was at Latros, a mountain in Asia, when the Slavs came to a village and entered the church. They scoffed at the priest who would not give them the sacrament and at his belief that it did not break down in the stomach. So they made him eat all the eucharistic bread, then cut him open. They found nothing."

W933

Garitte 15

W933

A priest tricked into sin at the last

A monk of Choziba heard the demons plotting to go to a village near the Abrahamites' monastery and trick the priest there into πoρvεία because he was going to die next day. The monk walked all night and found the priest extremely sad. He confessed his recent πoρvεία and then died. So let us guard ourselves from the habitations of demons which women are [a domiciliis daemonum quae sunt mulieres,] for there is no other such instrument against us like women.

cf W464 W503 W551

W943

Garitte 16

W943

A miraculous supply of eucharistic bread

Abba Stephan the archpriest of Saint Theodosios' monastery told how he would not communicate with his monastery because they commemorated Constans II [641-688] who killed his brother and did much evil; so the higoumen would not give him communion. One night he had a vision of the Mother of God who gave him bread and applauded his rejection of Constans II. When he awoke from his dream, he found a container of exceedingly white bread which sufficed for him and for his [older] disciple Basil.

W944

Garitte 17

W944

"As though it had been raining blood"

Sergios, the deacon of Saint Paul's, said that when Constans II killed his brother and Duke George, one day everybody came to SS. Cosmas and Damian crying κύριε _λέησov -- because the candles [sc. lamps ?] before the altar were filled with blood. One was sent to the emperor, one to the empress and one to the jacobite patriarch of Constantinople, Peter [655-666] and something like blood was found on the ground, as though it had been raining blood.

W945

Garitte 18

W945

A deacon stricken zith leprosy

Theodore, archdeacon of Saint Theodore's [monastery] at the gate of Jerusalem said that Aurea, the wife of the deacon Zacharias, accused her husband of fornication before the Patriarch Sophronios [of Jerusalem, 634-638.] Zacharias denied the charge before the altar, and was struck with leprosy.

W946

Garitte 19

W946

An archdeacon who worked as a mason for the Saracens

The same narrator said that when the Saracens took Jerusalem in 634 and gained possession of the capitolium, they sought labourers to build a Masquid [mosque]. John the archdeacon of Saint Theodore's -- a marble mason by training -- signed on without being coerced. Sophronios the patriarch tried in vain to dissuade him, so he anathematised him. Then John had an accident; he fell from a ladder, hurting his foot very badly. Gangrene set in and he died a terrible death. So we must be obedient, especially to priests who have the power to loose and to bind (Mtt. 18.18.)

W946 bis W005

Garitte 20

W946 bis W005

Orestes, priest of the Tachina monastery near Apameia in Pisidia, near Phrygian Antioch, said that John of Bonita heard at Constantinople from Asiano, a deacon and shipmaster ---> W005

W947

Garitte 21

W947

Theodore the recluse against taking the Lord's name in vain

The miracle of Theodore the recluse, Sokeonali [Garitte thinks this is not = Syceote, nor is this in the saint's miracles, BHG 1748]

Theodore was offended by all kinds of people repeatedly saying: "Blessed be God." He gathered the people together and got some water. He signed the vessel with the sign of the cross and then threw the water in the air, saying: "Blessed be God: now stay there" -- and it did. The people began to cry κύριε _λέησov, until Theodore said; "Blessed be God, descend !" -- and the water came down, which greatly impressed everybody.

W948

Garitte 22

W948

A children's eucharist

Abba Theodore said that at Byzantium he heard from men who loved God that one day some boys were playing in a locality called Sergii; they were playing at celebrating the holy eucharist, with a lance. When they proclaimed ε_ς _γιoς the elements were immediately transferred to the altar of Saint Mary Urbicii. The "ministers" were ordained, each to the rank which he had assumed in this make-believe.

cf W364, W486, W487.

Garitte 23 = W486

W949

Garitte 24

W949

[This and the following item are only known in Iberian; Latin trans. by Garitte, CSCO 202-203 (Iberian 11-12,) Captivitas Hierosolymae, cc. 20, 21, pp. 44-45.]

The Patriarch Zacharias accused of paternity

Abba Symeon said that when Jesusalem fell [614] the Persians did the Patriarch Zacharias much honour, for one of the wives of Chosroes was a (Nestorian) Christian who greatly honoured the True Cross, which was given to her, and also the captive patriarch for whom an honourable place in the palace was provided. Then some jews accused the patriarch of fornication and bribed a girl to accuse him of fathering her child. When he came to trial, the patriarch took the fifteen or twenty day old child in his arms, signed its mouth with the cross, and asked it; "Am I your father ?" "Not so" said the child, and the king honoured him yet more, taking him for a prophet.

cf W220, W315, W423, W922, W949 W967 +art cit

W950

Garitte 25

W950

[nb rubric to the forgoing item]

How Zacharias tried to cure a woman's sterility

Abba Symeon also said of the Patriarch Zacharias that a provincial governor's wife was sterile. Importuned by the man, the patriarch finally turned to the Cross and prayed for him. Then he washed his own face and gave the water to the man telling him to have his wife drink it and wash in it. She was disgusted and threw it out, but when the man looked where she had thrown it, he found two beautiful flowers blooming. "We would have had two boys, " he said, but for her pride. She remained sterile all her days.

W951

Garitte 26

W951

A Persian who knew the virtue of an icon

Abba Symeon said that the archpriest of his village said:

A young Persian entered my house and, seeing an icon of the Mother of God, asked if I knew its force -- for he/she did. They were in Iberia in the time of Chosroes [II, 590-628.] They were playing ball with a girl and the ball hit an icon, whereupon the girl fell down possessed of a demon and ill. Only a christian priest could rid her of the malady, which he did by imposition of the icon and by prayer.

W952

Garitte 27

W952

The priest whose child played with wolves

Brother George of Synnada said that in Philomelion, Pisidia, a priest was celebrating the liturgy when they came and told him that a wolf had made off with his child. He calmly completed the liturgy, then went and found his child safely playing in the sand whilst the wolves looked on.

W953

Garitte 28

W953

A priest and two deacons accused of magic

Bishop Theodore said that under Archbishop Arcadius [of Constantia in Cyprus ?] a priest and two deacons were accused of magic and taken for questioning. The priest told how for six years one dressed in white would come at the liturgy, bind him, and stand him in a corner (celebrating the liturgy himself) until the dismissal. But after nine years, the priest was bound as soon as he came to the church. He did not receive communion: that is how he was found out. Invited to another priest's liturgy, he hid the sacrament, and dropped it on the way to the house. Geese gathered and indicated its presence; thus the priest was apprehended. He was condemned to be burned, the deacons to be beheaded.

cf W117, W854

Garitte 29 = W716

W954

Garitte 30

W954

A monk who knew the hour of his death

The priest of our Lavra of Saint Sabas, Michael, said there was a monk who lived here for more than fifty years, and he knew the day on which he would die. On Friday at the third hour he had his disciples make fire, celebrate the liturgy and give him communion. On Sunday night at the sixth hour he told them to make fire and put on incense; there was light throughout the whole house and a sweet smell. He said: "Peace be with you," and softly sent to sleep.

W955

Anasatasios D01 PG 89:1105A-1109C

W955

A youthful convert who went astray

(Attributed to Clement of Alexandria; it is found in Eusebius, HE 3.23, citing Clement, The rich man who finds salvation:) John the apostle found and converted a youth whom he entrusted to the bishop at Ephesos, who trained and baptised him. But the youth made off and fell in with a band of robbers who made him there leader. When John came in search of that which he had entrusted to the bishop, he mounted a horse and went into the mountains, where he fell among the thieves. "Take me to your leader" he demanded, then pleaded with the boy to return, which he did, in tears.

W956

Cod. Paris. grec. 1596 pp. 427-428

W956

Two monks who succeeded each other in the wilderness

A great monk had a servant, John, whom he educated [_παίδευσεv α_τ_v _π_ _τη δύo τά τε _Ελληvικ_ γράμματα κα_ τ_ ψαλτήριov] and tonsured, then left him everything and went off into the desert where he lived on σκίλλας with two lions, who buried him after twenty five years. Then he appeared to John, summoning him into the desert. Guided by an angel, John found the place; he too was befriended, and eventually buried, by the lions.

W957

Cod. Paris. grec. 1596 pp. 438-439

W957

A suicide averted

Abba Longinos was offered some gold by a shipmaster; he asked him rather to go to Saint Peter's steps and give it to the man he would find there. In the event, this was a person about to hang himself as his debts were overwhelming. The shipmaster arrived in the nick of time.

cf W234

-slightly different version given by Regnault, SPD anonymes p. 294 1709 (J709) from Cod Sianï 448

-also trans of Armenian, SPN p.270

W958

Cod. Paris. grec. 1596 pp. 475-476

W958

No heaven for unenthusiastic monks

Abba Thalassios once asked himself if the monastic struggle was really worth the effort. He had a vision of one who took him to the heavenly gates. When they asked for admittance, a voice said nobody who lived a slack life could be admitted, and advised them to go and carry on the struggle.

cf W326, PS130 same story, different persons.

W959

Cod. Paris. grec. 1596 pp. 481-482

W959

A monk with only one garment

An anchorite went into the desert having only one habit [lebêton.] He saw a naked grazer whom he pursued, and to run faster, threw off his lebêton. Then the grazer said: "You have cast the material of the world from you, so I will wait for you." The other asked him how he could be saved: "Flee from men and be saved."

W960

Cod. Paris. grec. 1596 p. 610

W960

How property damaged the life of a community

The members of a community near Nisibis sowed and reaped much grain which they distributed to the other monasteries. An officer [στρατηλάτης, "ε_ς πρεσβείαv τo_ Πέρσoυ"] gave to the great higoumen of that community an offering of thirty pounds of gold [τριάκovτα λιτρ¢ v πρόσoδov] which was invested in land. But then their grain would not sprout any more. At this, the higoumen said they should sell the property and give to the poor; then the earth would yield its increase again.

W961

BHG 1438r Cod Athen 513 f. 198rv

W961

de moniali meretrice

A monastria was tormented by πoρvεία to the extent that she left her community, installed herself in a παvδoχείov and proceeded to make significant profits as a prostitute, for she was very good looking. Then, remembering the pains of hell, she gave everything away and set out to return to her community. But she died at the gate. A solitary had a dream of angels and demons disputing over her soul. The angels won, on account of her intention to repent.

n.b. this is almost identical with W482 q.v.

W962

BHG 1440n nb

W962

de compunctione duorum fratrum

Two physical brothers became monks at the Mount of Nitria. Their elder had a vision of them, each with a paper which they washed with their tears. The letters of one document were easily expunged; those on the other only with great labour. An angel explained that the writing on the papers was their sins. One brother's sins were natural, so they were easily expunged; but the other's were unnatural sins, requiring much more effort of repentance and humility. The elder would always exhort him to great effort.

Dorotheos of Gaza, Instructions [SC 92] contains a number of personal remeniscenses but not many items which really qualify as tales. In addition to W515 and W580, however, the following should not be overlooked.

W963

Dorotheos of Gaza, Instructions c.24

W963

A brother selected by Saint Basil

Once when he was at a monastery, Basil the Great asked: "Have you anybody here on the road to salvation ?" After some misunderstanding, they produced a brother, whom Basil asked to bring him the wherewithal to wash. When he had finished, Basil himself brought water and then invited the brother to wash; which he did, without hesitation. "Remind me to ordain you when I enter the sanctuary" said the saint, and that is what he did.

W964

Dorotheos of Gaza, Instructions c.34

W964

On humility

In order to explain to a grandee of Gaza why christians feel the more humble, the nearer they are to God, Dorotheos asked the man how he saw himself in Gaza. "As a great man and one of the first people," came the reply. But how would he look in Caesarea ? Less than the greatest. And how in Antioch ? "I would think of myself as a peasant there" [_χω _μαυτ_v _ς _vα παγαvόv.] "And what if you were in Constantinople, near to the emperor ?" "Then I would hold myself to be a mere indigent" [πέvητα.] So do christians diminish in self-esteem as they approach God.

W965

Dorotheos of Gaza, Instructions c.118

W965

On being at the offices

A father with the gift of perception saw a glorious personnage coming out of the sanctuary at the time of psalm-singing. He had a vessel of blessed water and a spoon [? μίληv] with which he marked those who were present with the sign of the cross, and also certain places which were empty. He came and did the same at the end of the service. Once the father asked for an explanation: this was an angel of God who marked which persons stayed to the end of the office, and which ones were there in spirit, even though legitimately prevented from attending physically.

W966

BHG 1448ce angelorum visio sub missa

W966

Cod Vatic. 497 ff.209v-210, Paris. Graec. 1596, p.632

A priest, a wondrous man [πρεσβύτης τις θαυμαστ_ς _v_ρ] who was accustomed to seeing visions, saw one at the eucharist of the heavenly host. In the vision he received instruction concerning the fortunes of those who live and communicate religiously.

W967

BHG 1450zq / 2304b de infante patrem episcopum prodente

W967

This, the first part of an epilogue to Life of S. Nicetas of Thebes, ed. Canart, AB 84 (1966) 329-331 at end of an article "Le nouveau-né qui dénonce son père, 309-329.

cf W220, W315, W423, W922, W949

As it says in the Meadow of Sophronius, there was monk who ate cheese (brought to him by visitors) in Lent. For this he was imprisoned and then abused by his bishop at dinner. His defence was that these were his first visitors in years there in the inner desert so he assumed it was already Easter; the sin was not a great one and please would the bishop excuse him. The monk then asked the forty-day old child which was there to name his father, to which the baby said "the bishop" (three times.) For the bishop had fathered the child on the wife of his protopapas. The monk was sent back to the desert with requests for his prayers. Nothing is said of what became of the bishop.

 

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