Icon of Sisoes, Abba (Crete, 16th c.) – S414

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Church Feast Day 1

6-Jul

Heritage

Cretan

Style

Egg Tempera

Date

16th c.

Description

Abba (or Father) Sisoes (died a.d. 429) was one of the great early monastic fathers of the Egyptian desert, where formal Christian monasticism began.  He was a great teacher of monks and lived in Scetis (now Wadi El-Natroun) in the Nitrian desert in his early monastic life.  After St. Anthony the Great’s death in a.d. 356, Abba Sisoes went to St. Anthony’s cave in the Eastern desert of Egypt near the Red Sea up on a mountain.  There he labored for over 60 years in the ascetic life of fasting, prayer, and self-denial.

Because of his great struggles he became a wonder-worker, even raising a child from the dead by his prayers.  Many monks came to seek his guidance.  He placed humility above all virtues.  Once when asked how to gain constant remembrance of God, he said, “That is no great thing, my son, but to regard yourself as inferior to all creatures, this leads to the acquisition of humility.”  When he was dying, Abba Sisoes’ face grew bright as he saw first Abba Anthony, then the Prophets, then the Apostles, then the Angels, and at last Christ Himself with a flash of lightning.  In this icon, Abba Sisoes sees vanity when looking at Alexander the Great’s skeleton.