The Monk Theophanes of Antioch
Commemorated on June 10
The Monk Theophanes of Antioch was the son of pagans. At a youthful age he entered into marriage, but after three years his wife died. Saint Theophanes then came to believe in Christ, he accepted Baptism, he gave up everything and began to live out beyond the city in the manner of the Gospel self-denial. He zealously taught the keeping of the commandments of God to everyone that came to him, he exhorted in particular about leading a life pure and chaste, and he denounced the debauchery of the people of Antioch. When the Monk Theophanes learned about a certain profligate woman, Pansemna by name, very much caught up in the snares of the devil, he very much wanted to save her. Knowing how difficult it would be to fulfill such an ascetic deed, and conscious of his own infirmity, the Monk Theophanes long prayed and he besought the Lord, that the Lord might send unto him His help to save the sinful woman. Finally, the saint dressed himself up in fine clothing, from his father he took along much gold and then went forth to Pansemna. The monk gave her the gold and he besought her to forsake the dissolute life and leave it to marry him. Pansemna happily consented and gave him her word to become his wife. The sole condition, which the Monk Theophanes set for Pansemna, was that she should accept Baptism. Because of the attractive marriage offer, Pansemna consented. In preparing her for the acceptance of Baptism, Saint Theophanes instructed her in the Christian faith, and he explained, that the truth of God does not tolerate sin and corruption, but that the love of God is gracious to those that repent. Having accepted Baptism, Saint Pansemna by the grace of God was completely reborn as a person. She distributed on God-pleasing matters everything, that she had acquired through profligacy, and she settled into an hut alongside the cell of the monk and began to live the life of an ascetic. And after 22 months she died on the very same day as the monk (+ 369).
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.