The Monk Serapion

Commemorated on May 14

      The Monk Serapion lived during the V Century in Egypt. He was called the Syndonite-wearer since he wore only a coarse linen garb, called a "syndon". From the time of his youth the monk lived, like the birds of the sky, not having a shelter, and for several days at a time he did not eat, not having the means to buy bread. He gave away his syndon-garb to a beggar, shivering from the cold, and he himself remained half-naked. A certain Greek philosopher, wanting to test the non-covetousness of the monk, one time gave the monk a gold coin and kept an eye on him. The saint went to the bread market, bought with it one loaf of bread, gave the merchant the gold coin and left, having no regard for the exchange value of the money. Saint Serapion by a special path led many on the way of salvation. One time he gave himself over into slavery to a Greek actor, whom he saw fit to convert to Christ. The actor, imitating the example of the holy life of the saint, believed and was baptised together with all his family. He besought Saint Serapion to remain with him not as a servant, but as a guide and friend, but the monk withdrew, not taking any of the money offered him. Having set off to Rome, Saint Serapion got on a ship, but paid nothing to the ship-owners. At first they began to reproach him for this, but noticing that the elder had gone five days already without eating, they began to feed him for the sake of God and in this they fulfilled the command of the Lord. At Rome the monk continued to wander about, going from house to house, having nothing, gathering together only but spiritual wealth for himself and for his neighbour.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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