EULOGIUS THE PRIEST
1. A certain Eulogius, a disciple of blessed John the bishop, a priest and great ascetic, used to fast two days together and often extended his fast to the whole week, eating only bread and salt. Men thought highly of him. He went to Abba Joseph at Panephysis, in the hope of finding greater austerity with him. The old man received him joyfully and supplied him with everything he had to refresh him. Eulogius’ disciples said, ‘The priest only eats bread and salt.’ Abba Joseph ate in silence. The visitors spent three days there without hearing them chanting or praying, for the brothers laboured in secret. They went away without having been edified. By the will of God, it became so dark that they lost their way and returned to the old man. Before knocking on the door, they heard chanting. So they waited for a suitable moment and then knocked. Those who were inside, having ended their psalmody, received them joyfully. Then, because of the heat, the disciples of Eulogius rushed to the water jar and offered it to him. Now it contained a mixture of sea-water and river-water, so that he could not drink it. Coming to himself, Eulogius threw himself at the old man’s feet and, wanting to know about his manner of life, he asked him, ‘Abba, what is this? You did not chant before, but only after we left. And now when I take the jug, I find salt water in it.’ The old man said to him, ‘The brother is distraught and has mixed sea-water with it by mistake.’ But Eulogius pressed the old man, wanting to learn the truth. So the old man said, ‘This little bottle of wine is for hospitality, but that water is what the brothers always drink.’ Then he instructed him in discernment of thoughts and in controlling all the merely human in himself. So he became more balanced and ate whatever was brought him and learnt how to work in secret. Then he said to the old man, ‘Truly, your way of life is indeed genuine.
Sayings of the Desert Fathers – Benedicta Ward.