The Monk Konon

Commemorated on February 19

      The Monk Konon was born in Cilicia. While still at an early age he accepted monasticism at the Pentuklos monastery, nigh to Jordan, where he was ordained presbyter. The Jerusalem archbishop Peter learned about the strict ascetic and sent him people for Baptism. The Monk Konon baptised those that came and anointed them with holy chrism (myrh), but he shunned baptising women. One time there appeared to him the Baptist of the Lord Saint John the Forerunner, promising to help with prayers in the struggle with temptations.
      A girl came from Persia for Baptism. She was so pretty, that the Monk Konon could not anoint her with the holy chrism while uncovered. Over the course of two days the newly-baptised girl remained unanointed by the holy chrism. The Monk Konon wanted to find a pious woman to entrust with the chrism-anointing, but to find any such woman was difficult, since the area was desolate without any nearby settlements. The ascetic decided to quit the monastery, but on the way Saint John the Forerunner again appeared to him and said: "Return thou unto thy monastery, for I shalt help thee be free of temptation". The Monk Konon tried to argue the point, saying that when Saint John the Forerunner had appeared before, he had then already promised him help to be free of temptation. Saint John the Baptist thereupon signed the ascetic with the Sign of the Cross and said, that for the struggle with temptations he would receive a reward. Then he commanded him to return to the monastery and have no doubts. The Monk Konon obediently fulfilled the advice of the Baptist of the Lord, and immediately he anointed with chrism the Persian, without even taking note that she was a girl. After this the ascetic dwelt at the monastery for 20 years, and having achieved perfect dispassion, he peacefully expired to God in about the year 555.

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