Sunday, June 6, 2010

Commemoration of the Righteous Bessarion

Today, June 6 (new calendar), the Holy Orthodox Church commemorates the Righteous Monk, Bessarion. This monk, one of the desert fathers, is the subject of one of my favorite moral stories about the importance of seeing our sins even in our brothers and that the struggle for the virtues in this earthly life, the failures, setbacks and even victory are not individual or ego driven, but communal. The story of his life from the Prologue of Ohrid:

Bessarion was born and educated in Egypt. He dedicated himself to the spiritual life at an early age and "did not stain his spiritual garment in which he was clothed at baptism." He visited St. Gerasimus by the Jordan and learned from St. Isidore of Pelusium. He subdued his body through extreme fasting and vigils but he concealed his life of mortification from men as much as possible. At one time, he stood for forty days at prayer, neither eating nor sleeping. He wore one garment both in summer and winter. He possessed the great gift of miracle-working. He did not have a permanent dwelling place but lived in the mountains and forests until a ripe old age. He healed the sick and worked many other miracles for the benefit of the people and to the glory of God. He died peacefully in the year 466 A.D.

See the humility of Bessarion here in this story:

The following is said about St. Bessarion: on one occasion all the monks were gathered in church for prayer. The abbot approached a monk who had committed a sin and ordered him to leave the church. The monk started to leave and Bessarion followed him saying: "And I, also, am the same kind of sinner!"

Through his intercessions, may Christ, our Lord and God and Saviour have mercy upon us and save us.

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