Saint abba Pambo of Nitria
Commemorated on July 18
– Abba Pambo said, “If you have a heart, you can be saved.”
– There was a monk named Pambo and they said of him that he spent three years
saying to God, “Do not glorify me on earth.” But God glorified him so that one could
not gaze steadfastly at him because of the glory of his countenance.
– They said of Abba Pambo that he was like Moses, who received the image of the
glory of Adam when his face shone. His face shone like lightning and he was like a
king sitting on his throne. It was the same with Abba Silvanus and Abba Sisoes.
Pambo was an Egyptian and an ascetic on Mount Nitria. He was a contemporary of St. Anthony the Great, and himself was great in monastic asceticism. He was known particularly for two characteristics: through extensive training, he sealed his lips so that he did not speak one unnecessary word and that he never ate anyone’s bread except that bread which he earned with his own hands by weaving reeds. He was similar to an angel of God and, in later years his face shown like the face of Moses once did, so much so that the monks were unable to look him in the face. He did not render an immediate answer even to a simple question before praying and contemplating about it in his heart. The Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria once visited the monks in Nitria. The monks begged Pambo saying: “Tell the pope a constructive word, which would be beneficial to him.” The quiet Pambo replied: “If he does not benefit by my silence he will not even benefit by my word.” At one time, St. Pambo with his monks traveled throughout Egypt. When they came upon a group of men who remained seated as the monks passed by, St. Pambo addressed them and said: “Arise and greet the monks so that you may receive a blessing from them for they continually converse with God and their lips are holy.” This glorious saint was able to discern clearly the fate of both the living and the dead. He rested in the Lord in the year 386 A.D.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič for Old Calendar date July 18, and New Calendar date July 31.
Prophesy of Abba Pambo regarding the state of the world in the end times
…And I’ll tell you this, my child, that the days will come when the Christians will add to and will take away from, and will alter the books of the Holy Evangelists, and of the Holy Apostles, and of the Divine Prophets, and of the Holy Fathers. They’ll tone down the Holy Scriptures and will compose troparia, hymns, and writings technologically. Their nous will be spilled out among them, and will become alienated from it’s Heavenly Prototype. For this reason the Holy Fathers had previously encouraged the monks of the desert to write down the lives of the Fathers not onto parchment, but onto paper, because the coming generation will change them to suit their own personal tastes. So you see, the evil that comes will be horrible.
Then the disciple asked: “What sayest thou, o Abba, that the traditions and practices among the Christians will be altered? Perhaps there will be a dearth of priests in the Church when these unfortunate times come?”
Pambo continued: “In those times, the love for God in most souls will grow cold and a great sadness will fall upon the world. One nation shall face off against another. Peoples will move away from their own places. Rulers will be confused. The clergy will be thrown into anarchy, and the monks will be inclined more to negligence. Church leaders will consider useless anything concerned with the salvation of souls, as much for their own souls as for the souls of their flocks: indeed, they will despise any such concern. All will show eagerness and energy for every matter regarding their dining table and their appetites. They will be lazy in their prayers and casual in their criticisms. As for the lives and teachings of the Holy Fathers, they will not have any interest to hear them, much less to emulate them, but rather they will complain and say that ‘if we had lived in those times, then we would have conducted ourselves similarly.’ And the Bishops shall give way to the powerful of the world, giving answers on different matters only after taking gifts from everywhere and consulting the rational logic of the academics. The poor man’s rights will not be defended. They will afflict widows. They will harass orphans. Debauchery will permeate these people. Most will not believe in God. They will hate each other, and devour one another like beasts. The one will steal from the other. They will be drunk and will walk about as ones blind.”
The disciple again asked: “What shall we do in such a state?”
Elder Pambo answered, “My child, in these times, whoever will save his soul and prompt others to be saved will be called great in the Kingdom of the Heavens.”
(From the Prophesies by Abba Pambo, Orthodox Christian Witness, Vol. XL, no. 7 (562)(July 2006): 16-18.)
Abba Pambo was born in AD 303. He struggled in the Egyptian desert.