The Monk Pamba

Commemorated on July 18

      The Monk Pamba (IV) asceticised in the Nitreian wilderness in Egypt. The Monk Anthony the Great (Comm. 17 January) said, that the Monk Pamba by the fear of God inspired within himself the Holy Spirit. And the Monk Pimen the Great (Comm. 27 August) said: "We beheld three things in Father Pamba: hunger every day, silence and handcrafts". The Monk Theodore the Studite termed Saint Pamba "exalted in deed and in word".
      At the beginning of his monasticism, Saint Pamba heard the verses from the 38th [39th] Psalm of David: "preserve mine path, that I sin not by my tongue". These words sank deep into his soul, and he attempted to follow them always. Thus, when they asked him about something, he answered only after a long pondering and a prayer, risking to say something that he afterwards might regret. Saint Pamba was a model of a lover of work for his disciples. Each day he worked until exhausted, and by the bread acquired by his own toil.
      The disciples of the Monk Pamba became great ascetics: Dioskoros, afterwards Bishop of Hermopolis (this Dioskoros, bishop of Hermopolis, mustneeds be distinguished from another Dioskoros – an arch heretic and patriarch of Constantinople, who lived rather later and was condemned by the Fourth OEcumenical Council), and also Ammonios, Eusebios and Eythymios – mentioned in the life of Sainted John Chrysostom. One time the Nun Melania the Roman (Comm. 31 December) brought Saint Pamba a large amount of silver for the needs of the monastery, but he did not leave off from his work nor even glance at the money that was brought. Only after the incessant requests of Saint Melania did he permit her to give the alms to a certain monastic brother for distribution to the needs of the monastery. Saint Pamba was distinguished by his humility, but together with this he highly esteemed the vocation of monk and he taught the laypeople to be respectful of monastics, who often converse with God.
      The monk died at age 70. Telling the brethren that stood about his death-bed concerning the virtues he strove for during his life, Saint Pamba said: "For I do expire to the Lord such, as that I am but begun to live a God-pleasing monastic".

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.