|« Prev||Account of St. Spyridon: His Modesty and…||Next »|
Chapter XI.—Account of St. Spyridon: His Modesty and Steadfastness.
Ruf. H. E. i. 5; Soc. i. 8, 12. Ruf.
gives the first two stories; Soc. copies and gives credit; Soz. appends
three more, and gives credit to himself only throughout. Ruf. had
already said, “sed et multa alia ejus feruntur gesta mirabilia,
quæ etiam nunc ore omnium
bishop of Trimythun in Cyprus, flourished at this period. To show his
virtues, I think the fame which still prevails about him suffices. The
wonderful works which he wrought by Divine assistance are, it appears,
generally known by those who dwell in the same region. I shall not
conceal the facts which have come to me.
He was a peasant, was married, and had children; yet was not, on this account, deficient in spiritual attainments. It is related that one night some wicked men entered his sheepfold, and were in the act of stealing his sheep, when they were suddenly bound, and yet no one bound them. The next day, when he went to the fold, he found them fettered, and released them from their invisible bonds; but he censured them for having preferred to steal what it was lawful for them to win and take, and also for making such a great exertion by night: yet he felt compassion towards them, and, desirous of affording them instruction, so as to induce them to lead a better life, he said to them, “Go, and take this ram with you; for you are wearied with watching, and it is not just that your labor should be so blamed, that you should return empty-handed from my sheepfold.” This action is well worthy admiration, but not less so is that which I shall now relate. An individual confided a deposit to the care of his daughter, who was a virgin, and was named Irene. For greater security, she buried it; and it so happened that she died soon after, without mentioning the circumstance to any one. The person to whom the deposit belonged came to ask for it. Spyridon knew not what answer to give 247him, so he searched the whole house for it; but not being able to find it, the man wept, tore his hair, and seemed ready to expire. Spyridon, moved with pity, went to the grave, and called the girl by name; and when she answered, he inquired about the deposit. After obtaining the information desired, he returned, found the treasure in the place that had been signified to him, and gave it to the owner. As I have entered upon this subject, it may not be amiss to add this incident also.
It was a custom with this Spyridon to give a certain
portion of his fruits to the poor, and to lend another portion to those
who wished it as a gratuity; but neither in giving nor taking back did
he ever himself distribute or receive: he merely pointed out the
storehouse, and told those who resorted to him to take as much as they
needed, or to restore what they had borrowed. A certain man who had
borrowed in this way, came as though he were about to return it, and
when as usual he was directed to replace his loan in the storehouse, he
saw an opportunity for an injustice; imagining that the matter would be
concealed, he did not liquidate the debt, but fraudulently pretending
to have discharged his obligation, he went away as though he had made
the return. This, however, could not be long concealed. After some time
the man came back again to borrow, and was sent to the storehouse, with
permission to measure out for himself as much as he required. Finding
the storehouse empty, he went to acquaint Spyridon, and this latter
said to him, “I wonder, O man, how it is that you alone have
found the storehouse empty and unsupplied with the articles you
require: reflect whether you have restored the first loan, since you
are in need a second time: were it otherwise, what you seek would not
be lacking. Go, trust, and you will find.” The man felt the
reproof and acknowledged his error. The firmness and the accuracy in
the administration of ecclesiastical affairs on the part of this divine
man are worthy of admiration. It is said that on one occasion
thereafter, the bishops of Cyprus met to consult on some particular
emergency. Spyridon was present, as likewise Triphyllius,10931093
This Triphyllius is mentioned by Hieron. de vir.
illust. i. 92, as the author of a commentary on the Song of
Solomon, which his biographer had read; and of many other works which
had not come into his hands.
bishop of the Ledri, a man otherwise eloquent, who on account of
practicing the law, had lived alone while at Berytus.10941094
Berytus in Phœnicia was celebrated for its
school of law, in which, among others, Gregory Thaumaturgus is said to
have studied. Biographers, imitating Valesius, have imagined that
Sozomen studied there.
When an assembly had convened, having been requested to
address the people, Triphyllius had occasion, in the middle of his
discourse, to quote the text, “Take up thy bed and
and he substituted the word “couch” (σκίμπους), for the
word “bed” (κράββατος ).
Spyridon was indignant, and exclaimed, “Art thou greater than he
who uttered the word ‘bed,’ that thou art ashamed to use
his words?” When he had said this, he turned from the throne of
the priest, and looked towards the people; by this act he taught them
to keep the man who is proud of eloquence within bounds and he was fit
to make such a rebuke; for he was reverenced and most illustrious for
his works: at the same time he was the superior of that presbyter in
age and in the priesthood.
The reception which Spyridon gave to strangers will
appear from the following incident. In the quadragesima, it happened
that a traveler came upon a journey to visit him on one of those days
in which it was his custom to keep a continuous fast with his
ενστάσης. While it was
Lent and probably Holy Week. See Tertull. de Pat. 13, and de
and on the day appointed for tasting food, he would remain without
nourishment to mid-day. Perceiving that the stranger was much fatigued,
Spyridon said to his daughter, “Come, wash his feet and set meat
before him.” The virgin replying that there was neither bread nor
barley-food in the house, for it would have been superfluous to provide
such things at the time of the fast, Spyridon first prayed and asked
forgiveness, and bade her to cook some salt pork which chanced to be in
the house. When it was prepared, he sat down to table with the
stranger, partook of the meat, and told him to follow his example. But
the stranger declining, under the plea of being a Christian, he said to
him, “It is for that very reason that you ought not to decline
partaking of the meat; for the Divine word shows that to the pure all
things are pure.”10971097
Such are the details which I had to relate concerning Spyridon.
|« Prev||Account of St. Spyridon: His Modesty and…||Next »|