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Τρίτη, 25 Σεπτεμβρίου 2012

A STORY FROM THE "LEIMONARION"



(THE "SPIRITUAL MEADOW")

Jn the reign of the most faithful Caesar Tiberius Constantine
(578-582), we went to the Great Oasis and when we were there, we saw a monk named Abba Leo, a Cappadocian by race, who was great in the eyes of God. Many people told us a multitude of wondrous stories about this monk. When we made contact with him and gained some experience of him, we reaped considerable benefits; especially from his humility, recollection, poverty, and charity which he showed to all.

This ever memorable elder said to us, "Believe me, children, I am going to reign." We said to him, "Believe us, abba, nobody from Cappadocia ever reigned. This is an ill suited thought you are harboring." But he said again, "It is a fact, children, that I am going to reign;" and nobody could persuade him to put the idea away from him.

When the Maziques came and overran all of that region, they came to the Great Oasis and slew many monks, while many others were taken prisoner. Among those taken prisoner at the Lavra of the Great Oasis were Abba John, formerly lector at the Great Church in Constantinople, Abba Eustathios the Roman, and Abba Theodore, all three of whom were ill. When they had been captured, Abba John said to the barbarians, "Take me to the city and I will have the bishop give you twenty four pieces of gold."

So one of the barbarians led him off and brought him near to the city. Abba John went in to the bishop. Abba Leo the Cappadocian was in the city at that time and so were some others of the fathers; that is why they were not captured. Abba John went in and began to implore the bishop to give the barbarian the twenty four pieces of gold, but the bishop could only find eight. He was willing to give these to the barbarian, but the barbarian would not take them. "Either give me twenty four pieces of gold or the monk," he said.

The men of the fortress had no choice but to hand over Abba John, who wept and groaned, to the barbarian; they took him to their tents. Three days later, Abba Leo took the eight pieces of gold and went out into the wilderness to where the barbarians were camped. He pleaded with them in these words, "Take me and the eight pieces of gold, and let those three monks go. For, as they are sick and cannot work for you, you will only have to kill them. But as for me, I am in good health and I can work for you." Then the barbarians took both him and the eight pieces of gold of which he spoke, letting the other three monks go free.

Abba Leo went off somewhere with them and when he was worn out and could go no further, they beheaded him. And so, Abba Leo fulfilled that which is spoken in the Scriptures, Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (Jn 15:13). Then we realized what he was talking about when he used to say, "I am going to reign." For reign he did, having laid down his life for his friends...

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