THE LIFE AND CONVERSATION OF OUR HOLY FATHER, WHO WAS GLORIOUS IN
EVERY WAY, APA ONNOPHRIOS THE ANCHORITE, WHO ENDED HIS LIFE ON THE
FOURTEENTH DAY OF THE MONTH OCTOBER IN THE PEACE OF GOD! BLESS US! AMEN.
A certain brother who was an anchorite, and whose name was Apa Pa[p]noute, made
a discourse to the God-loving brethren, and these were the words which he
addressed to them:
I, [your] brother, was thinking one day, and I determined to go into the inner desert,
so that I might see if there were any brethren who were monks living in the most
remote parts of it. I marched four days and four nights, and I neither ate bread nor
drank water. I marched on into the inner desert, and at the end of a [further number]
of days I came upon a cave. And when I had drawn nigh thereto I knocked at the
door at midday, and no one answered me, and I thought in my mind: ``There is no
brother in this place.'' And I saw a brother seated inside it, and he was silent, and I
took hold of his arm, and his arm came off in my hands, and became particles of
dust; and I felt his body all over, and I found that he was dead, and that the skin
had perished (?). And I looked and I saw a short-sleeved shirt hanging up inside the
cave, and when I felt it with my hands, it also fell to pieces and became dust. And I
stood up, and I prayed, and I took my garment and wrapped the body up in it, and I
dug a hole in the earth with my hands, and I buried him [in it]. And I came forth
from that place.
And I marched on into the desert, and I came upon another cave, and my courage
came to me, and I thrust open the door [and cried out], and no one answered me.
And I went in and I found no man, and I came forth, saying , ``The place of a
servant of God; he will soon return to this place.'' And I remained in that place, and
I prayed until the day ran to its close, and I recited the books which I had learned by
heart. And afterwards, just as the sun was about to set, I looked up and saw a herd
of buffaloes in the far distance coming towards me, and that brother was among
them, and when he approached me he was naked, and his hair covered his shame,
and it served as raiment to clothe him.
And when he had come to the place where I was he was exceedingly afraid, for he
thought that I was a spirit, and he stood up and prayed, for very often spirits used
to come to tempt him, according to what he himself subsequently said. And I
perceived that he was afraid, and I went to him, and I said unto him, ``Wherefore
art thou afraid, O servant of God? Look, and thou wilt see my footprints, and that I
am a man. Touch me, and [thou wilt find] that I am flesh and blood.'' And when he
had gazed upon me he repeated the prayer in the Gospel.
And I urged him to take me into the cave. And he asked me, ``Wherefore didst thou
come to this place?'' And I said, ``I came to this place because I wished to see the
servants of God who live in this desert, and God hath not denied me that which I
asked of Him.'' And I asked him, saying, ``How didst thou come to this place? And
how long ago is it since thou didst come here? And what dost thou usually eat? And
why dost thou go naked and wear no clothing on thy body?''
And he began to talk with me, saying, ``I was a monk, and I lived among a
congregation of monks in Thebais. And there came into my heart a thought of this
kind: Rise up, go forth, and abide in a place by thyself. And thou shalt lead a life of
peaceful contemplation. Thou shalt become an anchorite, and shalt receive the
brethren. Thou shalt shew abundant hospitality to strangers, and thou shalt find
abundant wages by the work of thy hands. And that which I thought in my mind I
carried into effect. I came away from the house of the monks, I built myself a
habitation in a place apart, and I took up my abode therein. And men employed me,
and what they gave me for the work of my hands I used to give away in charity to
``At that time the Devil became envious of me, because of the wage which I was
earning before the Lord in respect of what I did for strangers and for other folk who
were in want, for he saw how diligent I was in manual labour, and he was exceeding
jealous of me. And he entered into a certain woman who was a nun, and who came
to me, and employed me to do certain hand work, and when I had finished it I gave
it to her, and she talked to me about further work.
``And it became a customary thing for us to meet each other, and the Enemy put it
into my heart to take work of the hands from her. And when we had learned to talk
freely to each other we ate bread together, and the affair continued to grow until at
last we brought forth death, and produced iniquity. And when once I had fallen with
her into folly we remained in this wicked state for six months.
``Afterwards I meditated in my heart upon what I had done, and I grieved, and wept
exceedingly, and I was always having sighs. And I thought in my heart when I was
alone, saying, `If I were to die to-day or to-morrow they would punish us with a
severe punishment, with the gnashing of teeth, and with outer darkness, and with
the fire that cannot be quenched, and with the worm that never sleepeth, and that
devoureth the soul. Rise up, let us escape from this place, let us get away into the
desert.' And I wished to escape from the sin.
``And I rose up and came forth, and I departed into the desert, and I have never
been with that woman since I have been here. And I found this spring of water, and
this palm-tree, and this cave. This palm-tree yieldeth twelve bunches of dates each
year, a bunch for each month, and one bunch of dates is sufficient to last me for the
month. I possess nothing, neither raiment nor the food of bread. My hair increaseth,
and as my clothes were worn out utterly long ago, I clothe myself, as is most
seemly, with the raiment of my hair. And behold, it is thirty years since I came to
this place, and the climate thereof bestoweth upon me health uniformly. And I never
And I asked him, ``At first when thou didst come to this place, didst thou suffer
And he said unto me, ``Yea, I did suffer greatly, so much so in fact that sometimes
through the intensity of my sorrow I used to throw myself on the ground, and cry up
to God because of my manifold sins. And I also suffered great pain through an
infirmity which was upon me. [One day] I looked and I saw a man who was
exceedingly splendid standing by me, and he said unto me, `In what part of the
body art thou ill?' And my strength returned unto me a little, and I said unto him, `I
am ill in my liver.' And he said unto me, `Shew me the place wherin thou art ill,' and
I shewed him the place where my liver was in pain. And he stretched out his hand
upon me, and his fingers rested upon each other, and he made an opening between
my ribs as with a sword (or, knife), and he brought forth my liver, and he shewed me
the wounds that were in it, and he relieved the pains in them, and bound the
wounds up, and he put my liver back into its place again. And he rubbed my body
lightly with his hands, and he rejoined the sides of the opening which he had made
in my side, and he said unto me, `Behold, thou art healed. Sin not again lest evil
more severe than this come upon thee. But make thyself a servant of God from this
time for ever.' From that day all my bowels have remained in a healthy condition,
and I have ceased to suffer in my liver, and I have lived in this place in the desert
without pains. And he taught me what the medicament was wherewith he treated my
And I entreated him to let me stay in the cave wherein I had seen him at first, and
he said unto me, ``Thy strength is not sufficient to enable thee to resist the attacks
of the devils.'' And I urged him to tell me his name, and he said unto me, ``Timothy
is my name. Remember me, O my beloved brother [in thy prayers], so that the Lord
may make me to bring to an end the good fight whereto He hath summoned me.''
And I cast myself down at his feet so that he might remember and bless me. And he
blessed me, saying, ``The Lord bless thee! May he deliver thee from the snares of
the Devil, and may He set thee on all His good paths at all times, and mayest thou
escape to the saints.''
And when he had finished blessing me my strength came to me in such a degree
that I never felt when I was hungry or when I was thirsty. And when I perceived the
great marvel that had come to me I rose up, and I journeyed into the mountain. And
when four days had passed by I felt pain, and I stretched out my hands to heaven,
and I prayed, and behold the man who had come unto me at first again came unto
me, and he gave unto me strength as at the first. In short, when four days had
passed I journeyed on into [the desert].
And straightway I looked, and I saw a man in the distance, and he was an
exceedingly horrifying object, for his hair was spread out over his body like that of a
panther, and he was naked, and his privy parts were covered with leaves. And when
he had come nigh unto me I was afraid, and I went up on a pinnacle of the
mountain, [thinking that] perhaps he was a man in delirium. And when he had come
he cast himself down for a little time under the shadow of the pinnacle of the
mountain, and he was greatly distressed because of the pain which he was suffering,
and he was in great danger of dying of hunger and thirst. And he lifted up his eyes
to the pinnacle of the mountain, and when he saw me he cried out, saying, ``Come
down to me, O thou holy man. I also am a man of the mountain like unto thyself,
and I am living in the desert because of my sins.'' And he said unto me, ``Thou art
a friend (?) of God.'' And I sat down before him, and I conjured him to tell me his
And he said unto me, ``Onnophrios is my name. And behold, I have lived in this
desert for sixty years. I wander about in the mountains like the wild animals, and I
never see any man who recognizeth me. I lived at one time in a habitation of monks,
in the mountain of Shmun of the Thebaid. And the name of that monastary was
Erete. We all lived together, and each of us was of the same mind, and peace dwelt
in our midst. We lived with each other a life of quiet contemplation, and we ascribed
glory unto God. And I passed nights in vigil with them, and I learned the rules of
God from them; and their chief men were perfect even as the angels of the Lord.
``And I heard them speaking about our father Elijah, the Tishbite, and saying that
he was wholly powerful in God. And there lived in this desert John the Baptist also,
than whom of all those who have been born of women none hath arisen who is
greater than he. [Matt. 11:11] He lived in the desert-places until the day of his
manifestation before Israel.
``And I said unto them: `My fathers, are not then those who are in the desert more
excellent than we are? For behold, we see each other daily, and we partake of the
Sacrament together. When we are hungry we make use of the food which is prepared
for us. When we are thirsty we take water to drink. When we are weak our brethren
reach out their hands to help us, and when we wish for the loan of a vessel to eat
from we make use of those belonging to each other, for the love of God.
```But where shall those who are living in the desert, for God's sake, find a man if
trouble come upon them? If they are hungry where can they find food? If they are
thirsty where can they find water to drink? When they begin to lead the life of the
anchorite they rejoice exceedingly because of hunger, and thirst, and the excellence
of their manner of life.
```And the Adversary who fighteth with them to tempt them thereby doth not wish
them to continue the life of the anchorite, for he knoweth that the reward is great
which they will receive from God when they shall come forth from the body. When
they are preaching ascetic labours the compassion of God cometh upon them, and He
maketh the angels to serve them in respect of their food, and He bringeth for them
water out of the rock.
```For it is written in Isaiah, Those who abide patiently in the Lord shall renew their
strength, they shall spread out their wings like the eagles in flight. They shall fly
away and shall not fall, they shall journey and shall not suffer hunger. [Isa. 40:31]
He saith, Water shall be brought to them out of the rock. When they suffer hunger
He will make the grass which is in the field to be sweet to their mouths, even as
honey is sweet. If tribulation come upon them, or danger rise up against them,
straightway they spread out their hands and they pray to the King Jesus until there
cometh to them speedily His help which He sendeth forth, and straightway He
strengtheneth them because of the integrity of their heart in respect to Him.
```Hast thou never heard that which is written, The Lord will not forsake His people,
and the patient endurance of the miserable man shall not fail utterly? [Ps. 9:9-12]
And again, The poor man crieth out, and the Lord heareth him, and delivereth him in
all his tribulations. [Ps. 34(33):6] The Lord giveth unto every man according to what
he hath suffered. Blessed is the man who shall do the will of God upon the earth! I
say unto thee that the angels shall serve him from the time when he entereth the
body, and they shall comfort him at all times in his need.'
``And to me, your brother, when I had heard these things from these perfect men of
God, they became like unto honey, which is sweet in my belly, and a mighty ecstasy
took place within me, and I became like unto those whose minds are carried away
into another world. And I rose up straightway, and I took a few bread cakes with me,
sufficient for the four days' journey, so that I might eat of them until [I arrived at]
the place which God should appoint for me.
``And when I had come forth from the monastery I looked, and I saw a being of
light before me, and I was afraid, and I thought in my mind that I would turn back to
the place to which I came first of all, and remain there(?). And when he knew that I
was afraid, he said unto me, `Fear not, for I am the angel that dwelleth with thee,
and that hath travelled with thee from thy childhood; this stewardship, which the
Lord hath appointed to thee, thou shalt be able to fulfil.'
``And when I had come into the mountain, and I had journeyed in the desert for six
or seven miles, I saw a cave, and I turned towards it, for I saw that there was a
man inside it. And a very great saint of God came out to me; now this form (or,
behaviour) was goodly, and there was a fine graciousness over his countenance, and
when I had seen him I made obeisance unto him.
``And he raised me up, and he saluted me, and he said unto me, `Thou art
Onnophrios, my fellow worker in the Lord; come in. The Lord be with thee. Thou
shalt succeed in the good work whereunto He hath invited thee.' And I went inside,
and I sat down there with him for a few days, and I learned the rules of the doctrine
of God from him, and he taught me the regulations which governed the life of the
monk in the desert. And when he saw that I was acquainted with the hidden and
terrible fighting which existed in the desert, he said unto me, `Rise up, my son, and
let me take thee to a desolate place in the inner desert, and thou shalt abide
therein by thyself for God's sake. Since God hath appointed thee to this work thou
must dwell in the desert.'
``And straightway he rose up, and journeyed with me into the desert for a distance
of four days' journey, and at the end of the four days we came to a small hut, and
he said unto me, `This is the place which the Lord hath appointed thee to live in;'
and he sat down with me for a month of days, until I understood the good work
which it was meet for me to do. And afterwards he departed from me, and we never
saw each other again until this year when I saw him once on the day whereon he
laid down the body, and I buried him inside the place wherein he was.'' And I (i.e.
Papnoute) said unto him, ``My good and beloved father, at the beginning, when
thou didst first come to this place, didst thou suffer from the weather?''
And the blessed old man said unto me, ``I suffered greatly on several occasions
from hunger, and thirst, and the heat outside in the daytime, and the great cold by
night, and my flesh was wasted away by the dews of heaven. And when God [saw]
that I endured patiently in my good strife of fasting, and that I gave my heart to
ascetic practices, He made holy angels serve me, and bring to me my daily food, and
an angel gave it to me evening by evening, and he stood by my body. And the
palm-tree yielded unto me each year twelve bunches of dates, and I ate one bunch
every month. And, moreover, he made the herbs (or, grasses) which grow in the
desert to be sweet to my mouth, even as honey. For it is written, Man shall not live
by bread alone, but by every word which cometh forth from the mouth of God doth
man live. [Matt. 4:4; Luke 4:4]
``If thou doest the will of God, He shall take care of thee in every place. For He
hath said in the Holy Gospel, Take no care for what ye shall eat, or for what ye shall
drink, or with what raiment ye shall clothe yourselves, for your Father Who is in
heaven knoweth of what things ye have need without your asking Him. Seek ye His
kingdom and His righteousness, and these things shall be added unto you.'' [Matt.
And when I had heard these things I marvelled exceedingly, and I said unto him,
``O my holy father, where dost thou partake of the Sacrament on the Sabbath Day
and on the First Day of the week?''
And he said unto me, ``O my holy father, an angel cometh and administereth to me
the Sacrament on the Sabbath Day and on the First Day of the week. And the angel
cometh and administereth the Sacrament to every one who is in the desert, and he
giveth unto them consolation. And, moreover, when they desire to see any one, they
are taken up into the heights of heaven, and they see all the saints, and they salute
them, and thereby their hearts receive light, and they rejoice, and are glad with God
in those good things. And when they see them they receive consolation, and they
forget that they have suffered in any way; and afterwards they return to their
bodies, and they continue to feel comforted for a very long time. And if they are
transferred to another world through the joy which they have seen they do not even
remember that the world existeth.''
And when I had heard these things I rejoiced exceedingly that I was held to be
worthy to hear them from him. And I forgot all the sufferings which I had endured
when I was journeying in the desert, and strength came into my body, and renewed
power came to my body and to my soul. And I said unto him, ``Blessed am I that I
am held to be worthy to see thy holy face, and to hear thy sweet words.''
Then he said unto me, ``Rise up, O my brother, and let us depart to the place
wherein we are to be.'' And we rose up, and we journeyed on, and we came to a hut,
and when we had entered into the hut he stood up and prayed with me. And when
we had finished the prayer we gave (i.e. said) the ``Amen'', and we sat down
together and talked on about the majesty of God.
And at the time when the sun was about to set I looked and I saw a loaf of bread
and a vessel of water. And he said unto me, ``Rise up, my brother, and eat, and
drink this small quantity of water, for I see that thou art exhausted by hunger and
thirst, and by the toil of the road.'' And I said unto him, ``As God Almighty liveth, I
will neither eat nor drink unless we stretch ourselves out and eat the bread
together.'' And when I continued to press him with difficulty [he agreed], and we
stretched ourselves out together, and we divided the bread, and ate, and put back
some of it; and the two of us drank from the vessel of water, and we were satisfied,
and we left some of it in the vessel. And we passed the whole night in prayer, and
we prayed to God until the morning.
And when it was morning I saw that his face was changed, and was altogether
transformed, and that it was like unto that of another man, and that it seemed to be
[made] wholly of fire. And his form terrified me exceedingly. And he said unto me,
``Fear thou not, O my brother in God, for the Lord hath sent thee to care for my
body, and to bury it. In a day or two I shall fulfil my stewardship, and shall go to the
place of everlasting rest.'' Now that day was the sixteenth day of the month Paone
And he also said unto me, ``When thou departest into Egypt proclaim the
remembrance of me as a sweet-smelling thing to the brethren. Whosoever shall
make an offering in my name, and keep me in remembrance, Jesus Himself shall
bring him in the first hour of a thousand years.''
And I said unto him, ``If he be a poor man he will not be able to give an offering in
thy name.'' And he said unto me, ``Let him feed a poor brother in my name.''
And I said unto him, ``If he be a poor man he will not be able to feed him; wilt thou
not take him in to the feast at the first hour of a thousand years?'' And he said unto
me, ``Let him give a little scent in my name.''
And I said unto him, ``If he be a poor man he will not be able to give scent in thy
name because of [his] poverty. O my good father, let thy grace be with us all, for
whatsoever thou shalt ask of God that will God give unto thee.'' And he said unto
me, ``Let him stand up and say three times prayers to God in my name, and the
Lord Jesus shall bring him to the thousand years, and he shall receive an inheritance
with all the saints.''
And I said unto him, ``O my holy father, if I am worthy of it, I should like to be
present in thy holy abode when thou shalt cease [to be] in this body.'' And he said
unto me, ``Certainly thou shalt, my son. For thou hast not been appointed to the
stewardship, but the Lord hath appointed thee to console the holy brethren who live
in the desert, and to proclaim their sweet odour among the brethren who worship
God for the benefit of those who hearken unto thee. Get thee forth to Egypt, O my
son, and do thou continue to carry on the good work.''
And straightway I fell down upon the ground, and I said unto him, ``Bless me, O my
father, that I may be made to stand before God, and that as I have been held
worthy to see thee upon the earth, I may also be held worthy to see thee in the
Other World before the Lord Jesus the Christ.'' And he said unto me, ``O my son,
may God not cause thee to grieve about any matter whatsoever, and may He
strengthen thee in His love, so that thine eyes may receive the light of His Godhead,
and so that thou mayest neither lean to one side nor fall, but mayest end
successfully the work whereunto thou has set thy hand. May the angels shelter thee,
and deliver thee from the plottings of the Jews, and may no accusation fall upon
thee when thou hast to meet God.''
And when he had made an end of saying these things he rose up, and prayed to God
with sighings and many tears; and afterwards he laid himself upon the ground, and
he completed his stewardship in God, and yielded up his spirit into the hand of God
on the sixteenth day of the month Paone. And I heard the voices of the angels
singing hymns before the blessed Apa Onnofrios, and there was great joy at his
And I took off the garment wherewith I was clothed, and tore it into two pieces; in
the one I wrapped up [the holy man] for burial, and the other I used as raiment, so
that I might not be naked. And I placed his body down in a cleft in the rock, and I
heard the sounds of a multitude of angels rejoicing, and crying out, ``Alleluia;'' and
I said my prayer over him, and I rolled several stones upon him. And I stood up and
prayed the second time, and straightway the palm-tree fell down, and I marvelled
exceedingly at what had taken place; and I ate what was left of the bread, and I
drank of the water which was left to us.
And when I perceived that it was not according to the will of God for me to remain in
this place, I spread out my hands, and I prayed unto the Lord; and behold, the man
who had come to me at the first, and who had given me strength, came to me again
as he had done before. And he said unto me, ``My God, our Lord, informed us this
day that thou wast coming to us in this place. Behold, for six years we have seen no
man except thyself.'' And when we had talked together for a long time . . . . . .
. . . . . . said unto him, ``O our brother, stablish thy heart with a little bread, for
thou hast travelled from a place afar off. The Lord hath ordained that we are to
remain with each other for some days, and we will rejoice with thee, O our beloved
brother.'' And whilst we were talking to each other, behold, five loaves of bread were
brought in, and they were warm and soft as if they had been [just] baked in the
oven, and straightway there were also brought in other articles of food, and we sat
down and ate together. And he said unto me, ``Behold, this is the sixth year since
we came to this place, and four loaves of bread have been allotted to us daily, and
these came to us through God; but as soon as thou didst come unto us this day,
behold, a fifth loaf hath been brought for thee. And we have never known whence
they came, but when we came in we found them placed here.''
And when we had finished eating together we passed the whole night in praying, and
we prayed till morning. And when the morning had come I entreated them to let me
remain with them until the day of my death. And they said unto me, ``O our brother
labourer, it is not ordained for thee to tarry in this place. But rise up, and go into
Egypt, and tell those whom thou shalt see there that the brethren [here] remember
them; and it shall be a benefit unto those who hearken.''
And I entreated them to tell me their names, but they would no be persuaded to
utter them, and although I pressed them to do so they would not tell me their
names. And they answered and said, ``He Who hath given names unto everything,
and Who knoweth everything, He it is Who knoweth our names. Now therefore, O our
brother, keep us in thy memory until we see thee in the House of God. And be thou
most careful and let not the world lead thee astray as it hath lead astray many.''
And when they had finished [saying] these things they blessed me, and they saluted
me, and I came forth from their mountain.
And when I had journeyed away from them for some days I came to a well of water,
and I sat down there for a little because of [my] fatigue; and large trees were
growing by the well. And when I had refreshed myself and had rested a little, I
walked among the trees, and I marvelled, and I said unto myself, ``Who was it that
planted them in this place?'' And among them there were date-palms, loaded with
fruit, and citron trees, and pomegranate trees, and fig trees, and apple trees, and
vines, and dorakion trees, and kisma trees, and trees which emitted sweet odours.
And the well supplied water, and it watered all the trees which were growing in that
And whilst I was marvelling at the trees, and was looking at them, and at the fruit
that was on them, behold four young men appeared in the distance, and their forms
were goodly, and they were dressed in fine skin garments which, as it were, covered
all their bodies. And when they had come up to me they said unto me, ``Hail, thou
man of God, O our beloved brother!'' And I cast myself upon the ground and made
obeisance unto them, but they raised me up and kissed me. And they remained in a
state of great dignity (?), and they were like unto beings who had transferred
themselves from another world in respect for the joy and comfort which they
displayed towards me; and they gathered fruit from the trees and placed it in my
mouth. And as for me my heart rejoiced because of the affection which they shewed
towards me, and I passed seven days with them eating of the fruit of the trees.
And I asked them, saying, | ``Whence have ye come to this place? And of what
region are ye natives?''
And they said unto me, ``O our brother, God hath sent thee unto us so that we may
declare unto thee our whole manner of life. For we are natives of a city of Egypt
called Pemdje (Oxyrhynchus). Our fathers were councillors (or, magistrates) of the
city, and they sent us to the school there to have us educated; and we were all in
the same school together, and we were all of the same mind. And when we had
finished our education in the school they sent us on to the college, and when we had
been thoroughly well taught there and had learned therein all the learning (?) and all
the wisdom of this world, we wished to be instructed in the wisdom of God.
``And it came to pass on a certain day that whilst we were talking together about
these things a good resolution stirred in our inner man, and we four rose up, and we
set ourselves on the way to the desert, so that we might live therein quietly until we
should see what the Lord had ordained for us. And we took with us a few loaves of
bread, sufficient for seven days. And when we had come into the mountain,
straightway an ecstasy fell upon us, and a man, who was all light, laid hold of our
hands and brought us into this place. And when we had come into this place we
found a holy man of God, and the angel of the Lord put us in his hand, and he
taught us to be servants of God for a year of days. And at the end of the year the
holy and blessed old man died, and we remained by ourselves in this place.
``Behold, O our lord brother, we declare unto thee by God that for sixty years we
have not known the taste of bread, or of any other kind of food except the fruit of
these trees whereon we live. If we wish to see each other we come here every week
to do so. We pass the whole night of the First Day of the week together, and after
that each one departeth to perform his spiritual labours [for the rest of the week].''
And I said unto them, ``Where do ye receive the Eucharist?''
And they said unto me, ``We assemble here for that purpose, for an angel of God
cometh hither every Sabbath, and he administereth unto us the Eucharist on the
Sabbath and on the First Day of the week.''
And I stayed with them, and I rejoiced exceedingly. [And they said unto me], ``On
the seventh day the angel of the Lord will come, and he will administer the Eucharist
to thee and to us together. And the man who shall receive the Eucharist at the hand
of that angel shall be cleansed from all sin, and the Adversary shall never have
dominion over him.''
And whilst we were talking together I smelled a strong sweet smell, the like whereof
I never smelled before. And immediately the sweet smell reached us we rose up, and
we stood on our feet, and we blessed God. And afterwards the angel came, and he
administered unto us the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of the Lord. And I became
like unto those who sleep, because of the awesome sight which I saw. And he
blessed us, and he went up into heaven, and we watched him with our eyes. And
when he had gone up they comforted me, and said unto me, ``Be of good cheer, for
thou shalt prevail, and thou shalt become a man of might;'' and straightway I
became of good cheer, even as those who are under [the influence of] wine.
And we stood on our feet during the [eve of] the First Day of the week, and we
prayed the whole night long until the morning. And when the light appeared at dawn
on the First Day of the week, behold, we smelled that exceedingly sweet smell
again, and we enjoyed it, and we rejoiced after the manner of those who are in
another world. And afterwards the angel came, and he administered unto us the
Eucharist, and he blessed each one of us, saying, ``Everlasting life shall be unto
thee, and [the power of] prophecy which shall never be destroyed.'' And we all, with
one mouth and with one accord, answered and said, ``Amen; so be it!''
And afterwards the angel turned to me, and said unto me, ``Arise, and depart thou
to Egypt, and tell the God-loving brethren the things which thou hast seen, so that
they may emulate the life and conversation of the saints.'' And I entreated him to
let me remain with them, but he said unto me, ``The Lord doth not allot unto us the
work which is imagined by the heart, but God giveth unto each man according to
what he is able to bear. Now, therefore, arise and depart, for that is what the Lord
hath ordained for thee.'' And he blessed me, and went up into the heavens in great
And they brought a large number of plums, and we ate them together, and I came
forth from them, and they accompanied me on my way for a distance of six miles.
And I entreated them, saying, ``Declare unto me your names,'' and they declared
me their names, each one of them. The name of the first was John, of the second
Andrew, of the third Heraklamon, and of the fourth Theophilus; and they commanded
me to declare their names unto the brethren, [so that] they might remember them
[in their prayers]. And I on my part entreated them to keep my name in
remembrance. And we prayed and we kissed each other. And I journeyed forth, and I
grieved exceedingly; nevertheless, because of the blessing which the holy men had
bestowed upon me, I rejoiced. And I came into Egypt after a journey of three days,
and having found certain God-loving brethren I rested with them for ten days, and I
described unto them what had happened unto me; and they said unto me, ``Verily
thou art worthy of a great reward.''
Now those brethren were lovers of God, and they contended strenuously in the
ascetic life, and they were worshippers of God with their whole hearts; and their
place of abode was Shiet (Scete). And they made haste and they wrote down these
things which they had heard from Apa Papnoute, and they quickly put them in a
book, which they sent to Shiet, where it was deposited in the church for the benefit
of those who should hear it [read]. And they spoke about it, and it was the subject
of meditation in the mouth of everyone. And they glorified God, and blessed His
saints, through the grace and love to man of our Lord Jesus the Christ, to Whom be
glory, and His Good Father, and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever! Amen.
COLOPHON OF ORIGINAL COPTIC MANUSCRIPT
I, Victor, the least of all men, the deacon, the son of the blessed Mercurius, the
deacon of [the church of] Saint Mercurius, the general-in-chief, of the city of
Latopolis, wrote this book. Remember me, O Lord, when Thou comest into Thy
Written [in the month of] Tybi, the third day (December 30), in the Third Indiction, in
the seven hundred and twenty-first year of the Era of the Martyrs (i.e. A.D. 1005),
year [of Saracens] 365 (i.e. A.D. 987).
. . . . by the zeal and care of our fathers and beloved brethren, Abba Abraham, the
governor, and Abba Khael, the archdeacon, and the warden Zacharias, deacon and
monk of the Monastery of Saint Mercurius, the general-in-chief, which is in the
Mountain of Tbo (Edfu, or Utfu). They made the book with [the proceeds of] their
own labour, and they deposited it in their monastery in order that [the brethren] may
read therein, and that those who read therein, and those who hear it read with
attention, may profit to the full thereby, and our Good Saviour and Saint Apa
Onnophrios, the anchorite, may bless them, and all those who are assembled in their
monastery, with the blessing of heaven, and the blessing of earth, in the most
May He give blessing, and fullness, and abundance, and lasting salvation in this
Monastery. May He deliver them from the wiles of the Devil and of evil-doing men,
and when they come forth from the body, according to what is ordained for every
man, may they hear [the words], ``Well [done], servants good and faithful; since ye
have been faithful in a few things, I will set you over many. Enter into the joy of thy
Lord.'' [Matt. 25: 21] May they be worthy of an inheritance with all the saints. Amen.
So be it!
THE LIFE OF APA
Translated by Sir E. A. Wallis
Budge from a Coptic source
dated ca. A.D. 1000
Lives of the Saints