Icon of St. Arsenios the Great (Koutloumousiou – Athos, 16th c.) – S357


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Revered later as a great lover of silence and humility, St. Arsenios was born rich and was well educated, serving the Church in Rome as a deacon.  The Emperor Theodosius called him to become the tutor of his two sons.  Once when one of the sons misbehaved, St. Arsenios had him punished, but the son thought up a harsh revenge on the saint.  When he heard of it, St. Arsenios fled to Scetis in Egypt and became a disciple of St. John the Dwarf.

He was a fervent monk, a great ascetic, a lover of solitude, and a strict non-possessor.  Once when told a relative had died and left him much money, he said, “I died before he did.  How then can I become his heir?”  Later St. Arsenios lived more as a hermit, only coming to church services on feast days.  During his 35 years as a hermit, St. Arsenios often questioned himself when tempted to think of any worldly thing, “Why did you come into the desert?” thus keeping his motives pure, and his vision of what is most important clear and to the point.  He was a great ascetic of the skete  and hermitic life, a giant of prayer and dispassion, and an icon of fervent monasticism to the present day.   He died in a.d. 448.

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Church Feast Day 1





Koutloumousiou Monastery, Mt. Athos, Greece


16th c.