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The Baptism of the Prostitute, John Moschus, Leimonarion

Ανάληψη_The Ascension of the Lord_ Вознесение Господне _119774.b1

By John Moschus, Leimonarion

Abba Theonas and Abba Theodore related that at Alexandria under the patriarch Paul (538-542), a young girl surviving the death of her parents gained a great fortune. She was not yet baptized. One day, going into an orchard which her parents had left to her — for there were some orchards in the midst of the city belonging to great persons — when she had thus gone into the orchard she saw a man who was preparing to do away with himself. She ran to him and said, “What are you doing, my good man?” He replied, “Truly, woman, leave me alone, because I am in great distress.” The young girl said to him, “Tell me the truth, and perhaps I can come to your assistance.” He said, “I have large debts and I am greatly pressed by my creditors; I prefer to die rather than live such a miserable life.” The young girl said to him, “I beseech you, take everything I have, pay what you owe, but don’t kill yourself now.” He took (what he needed) and paid back what he owed. After this, the young girl found herself in financial trouble, and having no one to look after her, deprived of parents, she was in great need and fell into lewdness/dissoluteness. Those who knew her and who knew what had been the status of her parents said, “Who knows the judgements of God? Who knows why He permits that a soul falls and for what reason?” Sometime afterwards, the young girl fell sick; she returned to her own place and with great remorse she said to her neighbors, “In the name of the Lord, have pity on my soul and ask the Papa (patriarch) if he would make me a Christian.” But casting scorn on her they said, “Is he going to receive such a prostitute?” She was greatly afflicted. Since she was in deep despair, the angel of the Lord appeared to her in the guise of the man on whom she had taken pity; and he said to her, “What is it that you want to have?” She replied, “I desire to be a Christian, and no one wishes to speak for me.” and he said to her, “Do you truly desire it?” She said, “Ye! s, I pray you.” He said to her, “Don’t be discouraged anymore. I am going to introduce/conduct some others, and they will bear you to the church.” He thus gave her over to two others — who were also angels — and they escorted her into the church. And again, they were transformed into important persons, of augustal rank, and the priests summoned those who sponsored the baptisms. The priests said to them, “Are Your Charities responsible/answerable for her?” They responded, “Yes.” The priests, having thus performed all of the series of ceremonies for those who wished to be baptized, then baptized her in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. They likewise dressed her in the robes of the newly-baptized; and dressed in white, she returned to her place, borne along by them; and having set her down, they disappeared. The neighbors saw her dressed in white and they said to her, “Who has baptized you?” She told them, “Certain men came, conveyed me to the church! , spoke to the priests, and had me baptized.” They demanded of her, “Who were these people?” Since she couldn’t find anything to say in reply, they went to report this thing to the Papa. The Papa then summoned those who ΦΥΛΑΚΑΣ ΑΓΓΕΛΟΣ_623ef4c11572f5f61642ceec441cfc44presided at the baptistery. He said to them, “Are you the ones who baptized her?” They admitted it, saying that they had been bidden to by such and such ones, (who were) augustals. The bishop then sent them out to look among those who were so designated (as augustals), and inform him quickly of those who had answered so well concerning her. They said, “We know nothing, we have no knowledge of having done this thing.” Then the bishop recognized that this was the work of God. He called in the young girl and said to her, “Tell me, my daughter, what good deed have you done?” She answered, “I am a prostitute and am poverty-stricken. What good deed could I have done?” He asked her, “You have absolutely no knowledge of having done a good deed?” She responded, “No, except that once I saw someone who was going to kill himself, because he was hard-pressed by his creditors; and I gave to him all of my fortune to deliver him.” Saying this, she fell asleep in the Lord, herself delivered from both voluntary and involuntary faults. Then the bishop glorifying God said, “You are just, Lord, and your judgements are true” (Ps. 118: 137).

Excerpts from The Leimonarion, (The Spiritual Meadow) of John Moschus, 207
John Moschus, (born c. 540–550, probably Damascus, Syria—died 619 or 634,Rome [Italy], or Constantinople, Byzantine Empire) ‘Eukratas’, Byzantine monk and spiritual writer whose work Pratum spirituale (“The Spiritual Meadow”), Moschus began his monastic life at St. Theodosius the Cenobiarch in Palestine Monastery near Jerusalemabout 565. where he met Sophronius and became his close friend.They visited several monasteries, writing down the lives and spiritual wisdom of the ascetics they met. From these notes emerged their renowned book, the LEIMONARION or SPIRITUAL MEADOW. St John Moschus died at Rome. His body was taken to Jerusalem by St Sophronius Patriarch of Jerusalem of his friend and buried at the monastery of St Theodosius.

χριστος ascens

There is not a single being who is perfect. We can only be perfect with God; without Him it is impossible.
Care for the soul is more precious than the gifts of this world.
We cannot achieve salvation unless we change our thoughts and make them different… This is achieved by the work of Divine power in us. Our minds thus become deified, free of passions, and holy.
God is perfect, He is faultless. And so, when Divine love becomes manifest in us in the fullness of Grace, we radiate this love —- not only on the earth, but throughout the entire universe as well. So God is in us, and He is present everywhere. It is God’s all-encompassing love that manifests itself in us. When this happens, we see no difference between people: everyone is good, everyone is our brother, and we consider ourselves to be the worst of men —- servants of every created thing. – Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

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