Orthodox icon of Saint Seraphim the Wonderworker of Sarov with scenes of his life (2).
Commemorated January 2nd.
Saint Seraphim is a great ascetic and wonder worker of the Church. He spent most of his life alone in the wilderness where he befriended the wild animals. He was given a vision from the Mother of God to leave his life in solitude and to teach others. With the purest of heart he began to receive visitors and provide spiritual guidance and healing.
His teaching can be summarized by the following quotes: nAcquire the Spirit of Peace and a thousand souls around you will be saved.b"You cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of him who gives and kindles joy in the heart of him who receives." "All condemnation is from the devil.
Never condemn each other instead of condemning others, strive to reach inner peace." "Keep silent, refrain from judgment. This will raise you above the deadly arrows of slander, insult, and outrage and will shield your glowing hearts against all evil."
St. Seraphim of Sarov icon (3)
Orthodox icon of Saint Seraphim of Sarov (3).
Commemorated January 2.
St. Sergius of Randonezh icon
Orthodox icon of saint Sergius of Randonezh icon. Contemporary icon
Commemorated September 25.
St. Sergius the Martyr icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Sergius the Martyr of Syria.
Commemorated October 7th. u00a0
St. Silas the Apostle icon
Orthodox handmade icon of Apostle Silas of the Seventy.
Commemorated July 30th.
Saint Silas was a respected figure in the original Church at Jerusalem, one of the “chief men among the brethren” (Acts 15:22). The Council of the Apostles was convened at Jerusalem in the year 51 to deal with the question of whether Gentile Christian converts should be required to observe the Mosaic Law. The Apostles sent a message with Paul and Barnabas to the Christians of Antioch, giving the decision of the Council that Christians of Gentile origin did not have to observe the prescriptions of the Mosaic Law. Nonetheless, they were told that they must refrain from partaking of foods offered to idols, from things strangled and from blood, to refrain from fornication (Acts 15:20-29). Together with Sts Paul and Barnabas, the Council of the Apostles sent Sts Silas and Jude to explain the message in greater detail, since they both were filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit. St Jude was later sent back to Jerusalem, but St Silas remained at Antioch and zealously assisted St Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, on his missionary journeys preaching the Gospel. They visited Syria, Cilicia, Macedonia.
In the city of Philippi they were accused of inciting unrest among the people, and for this they were arrested, beaten with rods, and then thrown into prison. At midnight, when the saints were at prayer, suddenly there was a strong earthquake, their chains fell off from them and the doors of the prison opened. The prison guard, supposing that the prisoners had fled, wanted to kill himself, but was stopped by the Apostle Paul. Then, he fell down trembling at the feet of the saints, and with faith accepted their preaching about Christ. He then led them out of the prison and took them to his own home, where he washed their wounds, and was baptized together with all his household.
From Philippi Sts Paul and Silas proceeded on to the cities of Amphipolis, Apollonia and Thessalonica. In each city they made new converts to Christ and built up the Church.
At Corinth the holy Apostle Silas was consecrated as bishop, and worked many miracles and signs, and there he finished his life.
St. Silouan the Athonite icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Silouan of Mt. Athos or Silouan the Athonite.
Commemorated September 24.
Saint Silouan was a monk of the early twentieth century at the Monastery of St. Panteleimon and is known for his wise counsel. Saint Silouanu00a0was born Simeon Ivanovich Antonov in 1866 to Russian Orthodox parents who came from the village of Sovsk in Russia's Tambov region. At twenty-seven he left Russia and went to Mount Athos, where he became a monk given the name Silouan, the Russian version of the Biblical name Silvanus.
Saint Silouan received the grace of unceasing prayer and saw Christ in a vision. After long years of spiritual trial, he acquired great humility and inner stillness. St Silouan died on September 24, 1938. His writings were edited by his disciple and pupil, Archimandrite Sophrony who has written the life of the saint along with a record of St. Silouan's teachings in the book Saint Silouan the Athonite.
St. Simeon of Thessaloniki icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Simeon, Symeon, Bishop of Thessaloniki. Contemporary icon.
St. Simeon the God-Receiver icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Simeon the God Receiver, Symeon,
Commemorated February 3.
In this Orthodox icon He is show holding the infant Jesus. Saint Simeon the God-Receiver was a just and devout man. God promised him that he would not die until the promised Messiah, Christ the Lord, came into the world. When St Simeon saw their arrival in the temple when Jesus was brought for the traditional 40 day blessing, the Holy Spirit revealed to Simeon that the baby held by the Virgin Mary was the Promised Messiah, the Savior of the world.
The Elder Simeon took the Child in his arms and said, Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people, a light to enlighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel (Luke 2:29-32). Simeon blessed the All-Pure Virgin and St Joseph, and turning to the Mother of God he said, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be spoken against. Yea, a sword shall pierce through your own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed (Luke 2:34-35). The holy righteous Simeon the God-Receiver died at a very old age (Tradition says he was 360). His holy relics were transferred to Constantinople in the sixth century.
St. Simeon the new Theologian icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Symeon, Simeon the new Theologian.
Commemorated October 12th.
Saint Simeon the New Theologian was born in the year 949 in the city of Galatea (Paphlagonia), and he was educated at Constantinople. His father prepared him for a career at court, and for a certain while the youth occupied a high position at the imperial court. When he was fourteen, he met the renowned Elder Simeon the Pious at the Studion Monastery, who would be a major influence in his spiritual development. He remained in the world for several years preparing himself for the monastic life under the Elder's guidance, and finally entered the monastery at the age of twenty-seven.
St Simeon the Pious recommended to the young man the writings of St Mark the Ascetic (March 5) and other spiritual writers. He read these books attentively and tried to put into practice what he read. Three points made by St Mark in his work On the Spiritual Law (see Vol. I of the English PHILOKALIA) particularly impressed him. First, you should listen to your conscience and do what it tells you if you wish your soul to be healed (PHILOKALIA, p. 115). Second, only by fulfilling the commandments can one obtain the activity of the Holy Spirit.
Thirdly, one who prays only with the body and without spiritual knowledge is like the blind man who cried out, Son of David, have mercy upon me (Luke 18:38) (PHILOKALIA, p. 111). When the blind man received his sight, however, he called Christ the Son of God (John 9:38). St Simeon was wounded with a love for spiritual beauty, and tried to acquire it. In addition to the Rule given him by his Elder, his conscience told him to add a few more Psalms and prostrations, and to repeat constantly, Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me. Naturally, he heeded his conscience.
During the day, he cared for the needs of people living in the palace of Patricius. At night, his prayers grew longer and he remained praying until midnight. Once, as he was praying in this way, a most brilliant divine radiance descended upon him and filled the room. He saw nothing but light all around him, and he was not even aware of the ground beneath his feet. It seemed to him that he himself became light. Then his mind rose upward to the heavens, and he saw a second light brighter than the light which surrounded him.
Then, on the edge of this second light, he seemed to see St Simeon the Pious, who had given him St Mark the Ascetic to read. Seven years after this vision, St Simeon entered the monastery. There he increased his fasting and vigilance, and learned to renounce his own will. The Enemy of our salvation stirred up the brethren of the monastery against St Simeon, who was indifferent to the praises or reproaches of others. Because of the increased discontent in the monastery, St Simeon was sent to the Monastery of St Mamas in Constantinople.
There he was tonsured into the monastic schema, and increased his spiritual struggles. He attained to a high spiritual level, and increased his knowledge of spiritual things through reading the Holy Scriptures and the writings of the Fathers, as well as in conversation with holy Elders. Around the year 980, St Simeon was made igumen of the monastery of St Mamas and continued in this office for twenty-five years. He repaired and restored the monastery, which had suffered from neglect, and also brought order to the life of the monks. The strict monastic discipline, for which St Simeon strove, led to great dissatisfaction among the brethren.
Once, after Liturgy, some of the monks attacked him and nearly killed him. When the Patriarch of Constantinople expelled them from the monastery and wanted to hand them over to the civil authorities, St Simeon asked that they be treated with leniency and be permitted to live in the world. About the year 1005, St Simeon resigned his position as igumen in favor of Arsenius, while he himself settled near the monastery in peace. There he composed his theological works, portions of which appear in the PHILOKALIA. The chief theme of his works is the hidden activity of spiritual perfection, and the struggle against the passions and sinful thoughts.
He wrote instructions for monks: Theological and Practical Chapters, A Treatise on the Three Methods of Prayer, (in Vol. IV of the English PHILOKALIA) and A Treatise on Faith. Moreover, St Simeon was an outstanding church poet. He also wrote Hymns of Divine Love, about seventy poems filled with profound prayerful meditations. The sublime teachings of St Simeon about the mysteries of mental prayer and spiritual struggle have earned him the title the New Theologian. These teachings were not the invention of St Simeon, but they had merely been forgotten over time. Some of these teachings seemed unacceptable and strange to his contemporaries.
This led to conflict with Constantinople's church authorities, and St Simeon was banished from the city. He withdrew across the Bosphorus and settled in the ancient monastery of St Makrina. The saint peacefully fell asleep in the Lord in the year 1021. During his life he received the gift of working miracles. Numerous miracles also took place after his death; one of them was the miraculous discovery of his icon. His Life was written by his cell-attendant and disciple, St Nicetas Stethatos. Since March 12 falls during Great Lent, St Simeon's Feast is transfer to October 12.
St. Simeon the Stylites icon (2)
Orthodox icon of Saint Simeon, Symeon the Stylites (2).
Commemorated September 1st.
Saint Simeon the Stylite was born in the Cappadocian village of Sisan of Christian parents, Sisotian and Martha. At thirteen years of age he began to tend his father's flock of sheep. He devoted himself attentively and with love to this, his first obedience. Once, after he heard the Beatitudes in church, he was struck by their profundity. Not trusting to his own immature judgment, he turned therefore with his questions to an experienced Elder. The Elder readily explained to the boy the meaning of what he had heard. The seed fell on good soil, and it strengthened his resolve to serve God.
When Simeon was eighteen, he received monastic tonsure and devoted himself to feats of the strictest abstinence and unceasing prayer. His zeal, beyond the strength of the other monastic brethren, so alarmed the igumen that he told Simeon that to either moderate his ascetic deeds or leave the monastery. St Simeon then withdrew from the monastery and lived in an empty well in the nearby mountains, where he was able to carry out his austere struggles unhindered. After some time, angels appeared in a dream to the igumen, who commanded him to bring back Simeon to the monastery. The monk, however, did not long remain at the monastery.
After a short while he settled into a stony cave, situated not far from the village of Galanissa, and he dwelt there for three years, all the while perfecting himself in monastic feats. Once, he decided to spent the entire forty days of Great Lent without food or drink. With the help of God, the monk endured this strict fast. From that time he abstained from food completely during the entire period of the Great Lent, even from bread and water. For twenty days he prayed while standing, and for twenty days while sitting, so as not to permit the corporeal powers to relax.
A whole crowd of people began to throng to the place of his efforts, wanting to receive healing from sickness and to hear a word of Christian edification. Shunning worldly glory and striving again to find his lost solitude, the monk chose a previously unknown mode of asceticism. He went up a pillar six to eight feet high, and settled upon it in a little cell, devoting himself to intense prayer and fasting. Reports of St Simeon reached the highest church hierarchy and the imperial court. Patriarch Domninos II (441-448) of Antioch visited the monk, celebrated Divine Liturgy on the pillar and communed the ascetic with the Holy Mysteries.
Elders living in the desert heard about St Simeon, who had chosen a new and strange form of ascetic striving. Wanting to test the new ascetic and determine whether his extreme ascetic feats were pleasing to God, they sent messengers to him, who in the name of these desert fathers were to bid St Simeon to come down from the pillar. In the case of disobedience they were to forcibly drag him to the ground. But if he was willing to submit, they were to leave him on his pillar. St Simeon displayed complete obedience and deep Christian humility.
The monks told him to stay where he was, asking God to be his helper. St Simeon endured many temptations, and he invariably gained the victory over them. He relied not on his own weak powers, but on the Lord Himself, Who always came to help him. The monk gradually increased the height of the pillar on which he stood. His final pillar was 80 feet in height. Around him a double wall was raised, which hindered the unruly crowd of people from coming too close and disturbing his prayerful concentration. Women, in general, were not permitted beyond the wall.
The saint did not make an exception even for his own mother, who after long and unsuccessful searches finally succeeded in finding her lost son. He would not see her, saying, If we are worthy, we shall see one another in the life to come. St Martha submitted to this, remaining at the foot of the pillar in silence and prayer, where she finally died. St Simeon asked that her coffin be brought to him. He reverently bid farewell to his dead mother, and a joyful smile appeared on her face.
St Simeon spent 80 years in arduous monastic feats, 47 years of which he stood upon the pillar. God granted him to accomplish in such unusual conditions an indeed apostolic service. Many pagans accepted Baptism, struck by the moral staunchness and bodily strength which the Lord bestowed upon His servant. The first one to learn of the death of the saint was his close disciple Anthony.
Concerned that his teacher had not appeared to the people for three days, he went up on the pillar and found the dead body stooped over at prayer. Patriarch Martyrius of Antioch performed the funeral before a huge throng of clergy and people. They buried him near his pillar. At the place of his ascetic deeds, Anthony established a monastery, upon which rested the special blessing of St Simeon.
St. Simon The Apostle icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Apostle Simeon the Zealot (Symeon).
Commemorated May 10.
Saint Simeon is one of the twelve Apostles. He is believed to be the bridegroom at the wedding of Cana. Saint Simeon was from Cana in Galilee. After he saw the miracle at the wedding he became zealous for Christ and is give the name Zealot He traveled to many places from Britain to the Black Sea, proclaiming the Gospel of Christ. After winning many pagans to the Lord, St Simon suffered martyrdom by crucifixion. St Simon is also commemorated on June 30 with the other Apostles.
St. Simon the Myrrh-gusher icon
Orthodox icon of Saint. Simon the Myrrh-streamer, or Myrrh-gusher, the founder of Simonopetra Monastery. Contemporary icon
Commemorated on December 28
"On December 28, shortly after the Feast of the Nativity, the Church celebrates the memory of St. Simon the Myrrh-gusher through whom the Lord wrought great wonders. A star, like that which led the Magi to Bethlehem, miraculously revealed to the saint the site upon which, by divine command, he was to found a monastery. The monastery was appropriately dedicated to the Feast of the Nativity and was named New Bethlehem. Today, seven centuries later, it is still one of the flourishing monasteries on Mt. Athos.
The life of the venerable Simon was arrayed with mighty ascetic feats and miracles not only during his lifetime, but even after his repose when there gushed forth from his relics are abundant fount of myrrh in a manner similar to that of the Great Martyr Demetrius of Thessalonica. Where he came from, who his parents were, and where he began his monastic labors, no one knows. Some time in the 13th century, he arrived on the Holy Mountaim Recalling the saying of the Fathers that without obedience one cannot be saved, the venerable Simon sought before all else to find a spiritual elder, one to whom he could entrust his soul without reserve, an elder who would be not only a faithful guide unto salvation and a radiant model of ascetic perfection, but also strict in bodily discipline.
After looking all over the Holy Mountain, he finally chose out of the multitude of monks leading virtuous lives, an unknown elder, perfect in all respects in the ascetic life. He labored in complete submission to his elder, fulfilling all his obediences with love and zeal and soon attained to such great spiritual heights that he became known all over the Holy Mountain for his irreproachable life. Finally. the time came when the elder was convinced that his period of trial was over. Casting aside his paternal kindness towards the venerable Simon, he decided to dwell with him. as with a brother and on several occasions he even asked for his advice and counsel.
But instead of rejoicing over the benevolence and honor bestowed upon him by his elder, Simon was utterly grieved. He decided to leave, seeking for himself total reclusion. Expressing his intention to his elder, he asked his blessing amidst a shower of tears, desiring with heartfelt sorrow that the elder would grant his consent. In this way, he took leave of his dear elder for whom he had already become not so much a disciple as another mighty co-struggler in the angelic life.
For a long time St. Simon searched all over the Holy Mountain for a secluded hermitage where no one would know of his existence and no one would find him. Finally, with God's help, he found a deserted mountainside with caves on the southern part of the Holy Mountain. Knowing that before him lay the relentless struggle of unseen warfare, the saint clothed himself with spiritual armor with the help of the Holy Spirit, taking the cross, prayer, faith, patience, fasting, and everything that could crush the wily schemes of the demons and raise a man to angelic purity and childlike simplicity. It is difficult to recount the fierce s c h e m e s and hidden traps with which satan tormented and tried to catch unawares Saint Simon. The holy ascetic, however, boldly trampled upon the brazen arrogance of his adversary and crushed all his plans. For many years St. Simon remained secluded within his cave where he manfully endured the constant battle with the unseen enemies of his soul. He lived in sorrows and utter deprivation, lacking even the assurance of his own salvation.
Meanwhile, hearing of the severity of his life and in particular of his spiritual discernment and insight, many monks on the Holy Mountain began to come to him and to receive great spiritual benefit from his soul-profiting counsel, thus fulfilling the word of God: "A city that is set on a hill cannot he hid" (Matt. 5:14). Together with those who came to him, Simon was accounted worthy to receive from the Lord the gift of foreknowledge. However, through his humility he grew weary of such earthly honor, and he sought refuge from the disturbance created by all those who came to him. He was burdened by the stream of visitors which, it seemed to him, only served as a hindrance to his desire for a life of seclusion. He yearned, therefore, to abandon his dwelling for a yet more isolated one. But God, desiring the well-being and salvation of each and every one, prevented the. realization of his desire in the following way:
One night, while persevering in prayer, the righteous one saw outside his cave, as if before his very eyes, the effulgence of a divine light; an ineffable fragrance spread all around him and he heard a loud voice: "Simon, Simon, thou faithful friend and servant of my Son! Do not go away from here. I shall glorify this place; you shall be its guiding light, and your name shall be glorified.'' Out of caution, Simon chose at first not to believe this vision, not desiring to fall into the nets of the evil one; for he knew, according to the word of the Apostle, that satan could transform himself into an angel of light. Neyertheless, he continued to ponder upon the actual source of the voice. This took place shortly before the Feast of the Nativity of Christ. Then, one night, walking outside his cave, he saw a strange apparition: a star descended from the heavens and came to rest just above the rocky cliffs where later the holy monastery was to be situated. This same vision repeated itself on the following evenings; but the venerable Simon was still fearful. Wasit possible that this was solely one of the consequences of his intense spiritual warfare? And he continued to distrust the vision.
When the Eve of the Nativity of Christ arrived, he saw in a dream a brilliant star and heard a divine voice: "Simon! you must build a monastic dwelling here. I myself shall help you. Cast aside your doubts, or you shall be punished for your unbelief." The same voice spoke to him three times. At that time (as he later related to his disciples) it seemed to him that he was in Bethlehem of Judea, in the very place where the shepherds were tending their flocks, and he heard the sweet sound of angelic singing: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men: fear not, for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people" (Luke2:l4, 10). After this, said the saint, all fear and uneasiness were dispelled from my soul and I rejoiced in spirit, and secretly beheld the scene in Bethlehem; there, before the manger, the Sovereign Lady stood before the Divine Child, lying in swaddling clothes.
Several days after the Feast of the Nativity, three rich men, brothers after the flesh, came to the venerable one. They confessed all their sins and began persuasively to entreat him to permit them to live in obedience under his direction. After a brief period of trial and testing, St. Simon revealed unto them, as to his own sons according to the spirit, the divine vision. More than once he related to them the v i s i o n concerning the building of a monastery on the neighboring cliffs, asking them not to speak of this to any, one while he was still alive until the proper time. Hearing all this, the brothers with love offered to the saintly elder all of their earthly wealth for the construction of the monastery, and in accordance with the saint's wish and blessing, they offered immediately to prepare everything necessary for such an important and God-pleasing labor.
All necessary preparations were made. They had yet to learn, however, of the exact site for the foundation upon which the monastery was to be built. When St. Simon directed the brothers to the location where the church and other buildings were to be constructed they w e r e horrified, seeing t h e sheer cliffs which, according to his orders, were to serve as the monastery's foundation. "Are you trying to fool us, Abba?" they asked the saint, 'or are you speaking the truth? How can this be the site, when that cliff might be quite dangerous for the workers and even more so for those that will dwell here. If this is your desire, we shall surely oppose you !"
The matter was left undecided. In the meantime, seeing that he could not convince them to proceed with the work, St. Simon ordered the trapeza meal to be served. While they were eating, one of the saint's disciples who was bringing wine to the table, lost his , balance ,through the prompting of a demon, and fell off the cliff into a great abyss; still holding in one hand a pitcher and in the other several glasses of wine. Stricken with horror at this sudden tragedy, the spokesman of the brothers strongly rebuked the venerable one: "Behold, Abba, what has already been wrought by these deadly crags before you have even begun your undertaking. How many similar incidents of such a frightful death will occur if we should agree to build the monastery here." The saint did not answer but secretly prayed to the Sovereign Lady Theotokos that he would not be put to shame in placing his trust in her intercession. "Who can tell of all thy miracles, O Sovereign Lady, and who can praise thy majesty?' What happened next was entirely unexpected: the brother who had fallen over the precipice suddenly appeared before them. Through the intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos he was not only perfectly whole and unscathed, but he even held the glasses and pitcher from which not a drop of wine had spilled! Such a miracle brought fear and trembling upon the laborers. They fell to their knees before the saint and beseeching forgiveness said: "Now we know, O father, that you are truly a man of God." With heartfelt sincerity they were all grateful to be numbered among the saint's disciples and were soon accounted worthy of the angelic habit. Then, under the immediate supervision of the venerable Simon himself, his disciples, formerly simple laborers, proceeded with the construction of the Monastery.
The situation, however, was such that before anything else it was necessary to lay the foundation. According to the instruction of the saint, they were to use a nearby stone of enormous size. The elder ordered them to move it, but they, forgetting about the miracle of the unspilled wine, were of the firm opinion that not only was it impossible for them with their combined efforts to move that massive weight, but that it could not even be budged. They stood there bewildered, not having the slightest idea what to do. Seeing this, the saint approached them and, making the sign of the life-giving Cross on the stone, he single-handedly lifted it upon his shoulder and carried it to the designated site. In this way he demonstrated in actual fact the truth of the word which the Lord spoke unto the Apostles: "Verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove" (Matt. 17120).
That such a man, whose body was weakened by fasting and ascetic labor, should lift such a weight far exceeding human strength, can only serve as a testimony of God's almighty power and His readiness to help those who turn to Him with faith.
Having established the monastery which he named New Bethlehem, and having spent his life in God-pleasing labors, St. Simon reposed on the 28th of December, 1287. On the morning of the next day, in the presence of the entire brotherhood, the face of the righteous one shone with a wondrous light. After his soul had ascended unto the choirs of the righteous, a fragrant myrrh issued forth from his holy relics through which St. Simon worked many miracles to the glory of God, for kings, monks, and laymen.
Many years after the saint's earthly departure, a pious Serbian king helped to greatly enlarge and rebuild the monastery in honor of its founder. Since that time it has been known as Simonopetra, or the "Rock of Simon". Today it is perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring architectural monuments in the world, a standing testimony to the power of faith and God's good will toward men."
Orthodox icon of Saint Sisoes the Great. Copy of an icon of 15th century.
Commemorated July 6th.
Saint Sisoes the Great (+ 429) was a solitary monk, pursuing asceticism in the Egyptian desert in a cave sanctified by the prayerful labors of his predecessor, St Anthony the Great (January 17). For his sixty years of labor in the desert, St Sisoes attained to sublime spiritual purity and he was granted the gift of wonderworking, so that by his prayers he once restored a dead child back to life. Extremely strict with himself, Abba Sisoes was very merciful and compassionate to others, and he received everyone with love. To those who visited him, the saint first of all always taught humility.
When one of the monks asked how he might attain to a constant remembrance of God, St Sisoes remarked, That is no great thing, my son, but it is a great thing to regard yourself as inferior to everyone else. This leads to the acquisition of humility. Asked by the monks whether one year is sufficient for repentance if a brother sins, Abba Sisoes said, I trust in the mercy of God that if such a man repents with all his heart, then God will accept his repentance in three days. When St Sisoes lay upon his deathbed, the disciples surrounding the Elder saw that his face shone like the sun.
They asked the dying man what he saw. Abba Sisoes replied that he saw St Anthony, the prophets, and the apostles. His face increased in brightness, and he spoke with someone. The monks asked, With whom are you speaking, Father? He said that angels had come for his soul, and he was entreating them to give him a little more time for repentance. The monks said, You have no need for repentance, Father St Sisoes said with great humility, I do not think that I have even begun to repent.
After these words the face of the holy abba shone so brightly that the brethren were not able to look upon him. St Sisoes told them that he saw the Lord Himself. Then there was a flash like lightning, and a fragrant odor, and Abba Sisoes departed to the Heavenly Kingdom.
St. Smaragdos the Martyr icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Smaragdos, Smaragdus. Contemporary icon.