« Malchion, a presbyter of Antioch Malchus, a hermit in Syria Mamertus, Saint, bp. of Vienne »

Malchus, a hermit in Syria

Malchus (1), one of the earliest hermits in Syria, was seen in extreme old age by Jerome in 374 and told him the story of his life, which was written down by Jerome 16 years after wards. He was born at Nisibis near Edessa, and was the only son of a proprietor of that district. He fled from his parents when they importuned him to marry, and joined one of the monastic establishments in the desert of Chalcis. As life advanced he desired to revisit his home. The caravan was surprised by Arabs; he was made a slave, and set to feed flocks. He worked faithfully, and every thing prospered in his hands. His master required him to marry a woman who was his companion in slavery. Malchus pretended to comply, but secretly told the woman that he would rather die by his own hand than break his vow of continency. He found her of the same mind, and indeed she had a husband living. The pair agreed, though living separately, to pass as man and wife. After a time they escaped to the Roman settlements in Mesopotamia. Finding the abbat of his monastery dead Malchus took up his abode in the hamlet of Maronia, near Antioch, his reputed wife living with the virgins near. Maronia came by inheritance to Evagrius, afterwards bp. of Antioch, in whose company Jerome came from Italy in 374; and the story of the aged hermit confirmed Jerome in his desire for the life in the desert, on which he entered in 375 (Hieron. Vita Malchi, Opp. vol. ii. 41, ed. Vall.).

[W.H.F.]

« Malchion, a presbyter of Antioch Malchus, a hermit in Syria Mamertus, Saint, bp. of Vienne »





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