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St. John of Egypt, desert hermit

Feast of Saint John of Egypt

(4th c.)

St. John of Egypt, also known as John the Hermit or John the Anchorite, worked alongside his father, a carpenter, until he was twenty-five years old.  He then discerned a call from God to go out into the desert and become a hermit.  He spent sixteen years in spiritual training under the care of a religious superior who commanded him to perform difficult and unreasonable tasks, which John obeyed with childlike simplicity.

After this time of spiritual training he withdrew into greater solitude in a small cell at the top of a cliff, praying incessantly and avoiding contact with people for the last fifty years of his life.  He had the gift of prophecy and could perform miracles, and foretold to Emperor Theodosius his future victories as well as the time of his death.  People traveled from afar for his counsel or blessings, and to hear him preach.  He would receive visitors two days a week from a tiny window in his cell.  He became so famous for his holiness that St. Augustine wrote of him, making reference to the devils who came to tempt John continually. 

St. John of Egypt’s feast day is March 27th.

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If you want to find rest in this life and the next, say at every moment ‘Who am I?’ and judge no one.”

Sayings of the Desert Fathers

A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, ‘You are mad; you are not like us.’ ”

Saint Anthony of the Desert, founder of the first monastic community of the early Church
St. John of Egypt, icon

Saint John of Egypt, desert hermitpray for us.

Be not afraid!  And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always.  Holy Family, pray for us.  Amen.

The Holy Family, Murillo
The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities (c. 1675-82) by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617 – 1682)

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