Lives of the Saints
Our holy monastic father Euphrosynus was born of simple parents although he
surpassed even those of noble lineage in good works. For there are many who are
devoid of good works, despite their noble birth, and so are cast down into Hades while
the simple in their humility are lifted up to paradise by God as was the godly
Euphrosynus. Because of his virtuous life he was translated to paradise, as we will
see, and was shown to be an inhabitant there.
Euphrosynus lived in a monastery where he served the brethren, laboring in the kitchen
and serving them with great humility and submissiveness as though they were not men
but God Himself. He labored in obedience day and night, but he never left off praying
and fasting. His patience was inexpressible. He bore much abuse and disparagement
and suffered frequent vexations. Scorched by the material fire of the cookstove, he was
warmed by the spiritual fire of the love of God, and his heart burned with longing for
the Lord. While passing his days preparing food for the brethren, he at the same time
prepared a table for himself in the kingdom of God by his virtuous life, where he would
eat his fill with those of whom it is said, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the
kingdom of God. He served the Lord secretly so that he might be rewarded by Him
openly, even as it came to pass.
The Lord's reward to His servant was made manifest in the following manner. A certain
priest who lived in the same monastery prayed fervently to the Lord that He reveal to
him the things which are prepared for them that love Him. One night he had a vision.
It seemed to him that he was standing in a garden, and as he considered the
unutterable beauty of this garden, he saw Euphrosynus, the monastery's cook, walking
by. The priest approached him and asked, "Brother Euphrosynus, what is this place?
Can this be paradise?"
"It is paradise, Father," answered Euphrosynus.
Again the priest inquired, "How is that you are here?"
Euphrosynus the cook replied, "This is the dwelling place of God's elect, and by God's
great goodness I have made my abode here as well."
The priest asked, "Do you have authority over all these beautiful things?"
Euphrosynus replied, "As far as I am able, I distribute to others the things you see
here."
The priest inquired, "Can you give me some portion of these things?"
"By the grace of my God, take what you desire," Euphrosynus said.
The priest then pointed to some apples and asked for them. Euphrosynus took three
apples, placed them in a kerchief, and gave them to the priest, saying, "Take what you
have requested and delight therein."
At that moment, the semantron was struck for Matins, and the priest awoke and came
to himself. He thought that he had been dreaming, but when he stretched out his hand
to pick up his handkerchief, he found in it the three apples that he had received from
Euphrosynus in the vision. They gave off an ineffable fragrance. Amazed, he arose from
his couch, placed the apples on the bed, and went to church where he found
Euphrosynus standing together with the brethren at the morning service. Approaching
Euphrosynus, the priest implored him to reveal where he had been that night.
Euphrosynus replied, "Forgive me, Father; I have been in that place where we saw one
another."
The priest said, "You must reveal God's greatness, so that the truth is not concealed!"
But the wise Euphrosynus humbly answered, "You, Father, implored the Lord to reveal
to you the reward given to His chosen. The Lord was pleased to make this known to
your godliness through me, wretched and unworthy as I am, and thus, we found
ourselves together in paradise."
The priest inquired, "What did you give me, Father, in paradise when I spoke with you?"
"I gave you the three fragrant apples which you have placed on your bed in your cell,"
answered Euphrosynus. "But forgive me, Father, for I am a worm and not a man."
When Matins had finished, the priest summoned the brethren and showed them the
three apples from paradise, and he told them exactly what had occurred. All smelled
the ineffable fragrance emitted by those apples and discerned their spiritual
sweetness, and they marvelled at what they were told by the priest. They hurried to
the kitchen to reverence the servant of God, but they could not find him. When
Euphrosynus left the church, he hid from the glory of men, and no one knew where he
had gone. It is pointless to inquire into his whereabouts, for if he had access to
paradise, where could he not have hidden himself?
The brethren divided the apples among themselves and distributed pieces of them as a
blessing to many, especially to those who were in need of healing. Whoever ate of
these apples was healed of his infirmities, and thus, all received great benefit from the
holy and venerable Euphrosynus. The account of the vision was written down not only
on scrolls but also in the hearts of those who were told of it, and all who heard thereof
strove to increase their labors and please God.
By the prayers of the venerable Euphrosynus, may the Lord deem us also worthy to
dwell in paradise. Amen.
[1] From The Great Collection of the Lives of the Saints, Volume 1: September,
compiled by St. Demetrius of Rostov
St  Euphrosynus the Cook