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.

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