The Monk Bessarion, Wonderworker of Egypt

Commemorated on June 6

      The Monk Bessarion, Wonderworker of Egypt, by descent an Egyptian, was baptised while still in his youth and he led a strict life, striving to preserve the grace given him during Baptism. Seeking to become more closely acquainted with the monastic life, he undertook a journey to the holy places, he was in Jerusalem, he visited the Monk Gerasimos (Comm. 4 March) in the Jordanian wilderness, he viewed other monastic wilderness-monasteries, and assimilated all the rules of monastic life. Upon his return, he accepted monastic tonsure and became a disciple of the Monk Isidor Pelusiotes (Comm. 4 February). Saint Bessarion took upon himself a vow of silence, he partook of food only once a week, and sometimes he remained without food or drink for 40 days. There was an instance when the monk, immersed in prayer, stood motionless for 40 days and 40 nights without food or sleep.
      The Monk Bessarion received from God the gift of wonderworking: when on a journey his disciple was strongly beset by thirst, he sweetened bitter water; by his prayer the Lord sent rain upon the earth, and he could as though on dry land cross a river; with but a single word he cast out devils, but he did this privately to avoid glory. His humility was so great, that when one time a priest ordered someone from the skete settlement to leave church for having fallen into sin, together with him went also the monk with the words: "I too am a sinner". The Monk Bessarion slept only standing or sitting. A large portion of the life of the saint was spent under the open sky in prayerful solitude. He peacefully expired to the Lord, having reached old age.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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