The Monk Aninos the Monastic

Commemorated on March 18

      The Monk Aninos the Monastic was born at Chalcedon into a Christian family. After the death of his parents, he withdrew at age fifteen into a monastery, where he received monastic tonsure. In search of complete quietude he went off into the depths of the wilderness, where the River Euphrates separates Syria from Persia. There he came upon an elder named Maium and settled together with him. Both ascetics led a very strict life. During the whole Forty-Day Great Lent they ate nothing, taking delight and joy instead in spiritual nourishment.
      Saint Aninos every day carried drinking water from afar. One time he returned with full water pitchers earlier than usual, since an Angel had filled the vessels with water. the elder Maium realised, that his student had attained to high spiritual accomplishment, and he in turn besought Saint Aninos to become his guide, but that one out of humility refused. Afterwards the elder re-settled into a monastery, and Saint Aninos remained alone in the wilderness.
      By constant exertions the saint conquered the passions within himself, and he was granted gifts of healing and perspicacity. Even the wild beasts became docile and served him. Wherever the saint went, two lions followed after him, one of which he had healed of an hurt on the paw. Accounts about the saint spread throughout all the surrounding area, and the sick and those afflicted by evil spirits began to come to him, seeking healing. Several students likewise gathered around the saint. One time, in his seventeenth year as an ascetic, several men had come to the saint and asked for something to quench their thirst. Trusting on the power of God, the monk sent one of his disciples to a dried-up well. By a miracle of God this well filled up to its very top, and this water remained for many days. When the water ended, the monk did not dare to ask a miracle for himself, and by night he himself began to carry water from the Euphrates. The Neocaesarea bishop Patrikios repeatedly visited the monk and ordained him presbyter, although the humble ascetic was resolved not to accept the priestly dignity. And having learned, that the saint himself carried water from afar off, bishop Patrikios twice gave him donkeys, but the monk each time gave them away to the poor and continued to carry the water himself. Then the bishop gave orders to dig out a large well, which from time to time they filled, bringing donkeys from the city.
      Saint Aninos discerned the desire of a certain pillar-dweller monk, asceticising afar off from him, to come down off his pillar and make a complaint in court against a robber, who had hurt him with a stone. Saint Aninos wrote a letter to the pillar-dweller, advising him not to carry out his intent. The letter of the monk was conveyed to the pillar-dweller by a trusty lion, and it brought him to his senses.
      A certain pious woman, having fallen ill, set out to the Monk Aninos to ask prayers of him. Along the way a robber chanced upon her. Not finding any money on the woman, he decided to commit an act of violence and force her into sin. The woman called on the help of the monk and cried out: "Saint Aninos, help me!" Terror suddenly overcame the robber, and he let go the woman. Having continued on to the monk, the woman told him about everything and received healing. And the robber in repentance likewise came to the monk, accepted Baptism and tonsure as a monk. The spear, which he thrust into the ground, back when he had intended to commit his act of violence, grew up into a mighty oak.
      At the extreme old age of 110 the saint foretold the time of his end, and he directed his successor as hegumen to gather the brethren.
      Before his death Saint Aninos conversed with the holy Prophets Moses, Aaron and Or [or Hur: vide Ex. 24: 14], and with the words: "Lord, receive my soul", the saint expired to the Lord.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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