Featured Saint 28/05

St. Ammonius The Hermit
Claim to fame: Ammonas (Greek: Ἀμμώνας), Amoun (Ἀμοῦν), or Ammonius the Hermit was a 4th-century Christian ascetic and the founder of one of the most celebrated monastic communities in Egypt. Pushed into marriage by his family, he managed to persuade his bride to take a vow of chastity together with him by the authority of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Corinthians. They remained like this for seventeen years, keeping themselves pure and chaste, after which his wife departed to the eternal bliss. The Saint saw in a vision St. Antonios calling him to put on the monastic garb. When he woke from his sleep, he rose and went to St. Isidore, who put on him the holy Eskeem. He dwelt with him for some time, after which he went to mount Tounah, where was St. Antonios.

Fun Fact: The devil tried to snare him again. This time in the form of a monk who went around in the monasteries weeping and saying: “Abba Ammonius the hermit had married, and he kept the woman with him in his cell. He had put the monks to shame and disgraced the monastic garb.” When Abba Apollo (Ebelo), who was like the angels, heard of that, he took with him Abba Yousab and Abba Nohi (Bohi), and came to mount Tounah to the cell of Abba Ammonius. They knocked on the door of the cell, and when she opened to them, they realized the matter. They entered and prayed together as the custom and sat to talk about the greatness of God. At the end of the day, Abba Ammonius told them, let us go to see the “Naive” for she was baking some bread. When they went out to where she was, they saw her standing amid a great fire, and her hands were stretched out towards heaven praying. They marvelled exceedingly and glorified God. After they had eaten the bread, everyone went separately to sleep and the angel of the Lord revealed the story of the “Naive” with St. Ammonius to Abba Apollo, and that God brought them there to be present at the time of her departure.
About the third hour of the night, she became sick with fever. She knelt and delivered up her soul at the hand of the Lord. They swathed her, and after praying over her, they buried her. Then Abba Ammonius told them about her virtues, and that for the eighteen years that she stayed with him, she never raised her face to look at him, and that her food was bread and salt. After this, St. Antonios sent him to El-Natroun valley to establish their new monasteries, and many believers followed him. He organized for them their livelihood and directed them with excellence. Soon after, this holy father departed in peace.