Three Good Books

THEODORE OF PHERME

Theodore was trained as a monk in Scetis, probably by Macarius the Great. He was an educated man, and was ordained deacon, though he refused through humility to exercise this office. After the first devastation of Scetis he went to Pherme, which Palladius describes as ‘a mountain in Egypt… which borders on the great desert of Scetis’.

1. Abba Theodore of Pherme had acquired three good books. He came to Abba Macarius and said to him, ‘I have three excellent books from which I derive profit; the brethren also make use of them and derive profit from them. Tell me what I ought to do: keep them for my use and that of the brethren, or sell them and give the money to the poor?’ The old man answered him in this way, ‘Your actions are good; but it is best of all to posses nothing.’ Hearing that, he went and sold his books and gave the money for them to the poor.

(Sayings of the Desert Fathers, B. Ward, p.73)

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