Featured Saint 21/5

St Arsenius the Great
Claim to fame: St Arsenius was born to two rich parents. His parents were very righteous and honourable people. He was raised in the fear of God. After his parents died, his sister Afrositty and he gave all their riches to the poor and lived an ascetic life. When therefore after over ten years at the court he seemed clearly to hear the voice of God through the Gospel, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26). He left Constantinople and came by sea to Alexandria and fled into the wilderness. When he first presented himself to Abba Macarius the Great, the father of the monks of Skete, he recommended him to the care of Saint John the Dwarf to try him. In the evening, when the rest of the monks sat down to take their meal, Saint John left Arsenius standing in the middle without inviting him. Such a reception was a severe trial to an ex- courtier; but was followed by another much rougher, for Saint John took a loaf of bread and threw it on the ground before him, biding him with an air of indifference to eat it if he would. Arsenius cheerfully sat on the ground and took his meal. Saint John was so satisfied with his behaviour that he required no further trial for his admission, and said, “This man will make a monk”. Nothing is so much spoken of about Arsenius as his gift of tears, weeping both over his own shortcomings and those of the world.

Quote: “I have always something to repent for after having talked but have ever been sorry for having been silent.”