The Monk Isaac
Commemorated on May 30, March 22
The Monk Isaac
lived during the IV Century, accepted monastic vows and pursued asceticism in
the wilderness. During the years of the reign of the emperor Valentus (364-378)
– a zealous adherent of the Arian heresy, they began to persecute the
Orthodox, closing and destroying churches. Having learned of the persecution,
the Monk Isaac quit the wilderness and arrived in Constantinople, so as to
console and encourage the Orthodox. At this time barbarian Goths, dwelling
along the River Danube/Dunaj, were making war against the empire. They seized
Thrace and advanced towards Constantinople. When the emperor Valentus was
leaving the capital with his soldiers, the Monk Isaac – turning himself
towards the emperor, loudly cried out: "Emperor, unlock the churches of
the Orthodox, and then the Lord wilt aid thee!". But the emperor,
disdaining the words of the monk, confidently continued on his way. Three times
did the monk repeat his request and prophecy. The angry emperor gave orders to
hurl the Monk Isaac into a deep ravine, grown over with prickly thorns. By day
the ravine was a swamp, and to emerge from it was impossible. But the monk with
the help of God remained alive, and he emerged, overtook the emperor and said:
"Thou wanted to destroy me, but the holy Angels did save me from peril.
Hear me, open up the churches to the Orthodox and thou shalt defeat the enemy.
If however thou dost not heed me, then thou shalt not return alive, but shalt
perish in fire". The emperor was astonished at the boldness of the monk
and ordered his attendants Saturninus and Victor to take the monk and hold him
in prison until his return.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.