Abba Poemen said of Abba Nisterus that he was like the serpent of brass which Moses made for the healing of the people: he possessed all virtue and without speaking, he healed everyone. (“Paradise of the Desert Fathers”)
Abba Patermutius was baptised, and begged to be given some precepts by which he might begin to walk along the way to salvation. They gave him the first three verses of Psalm 1 [Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the waterside, that bringeth forth his fruit in due season, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper] They told him that if he diligently took these verses to heart it would be enough to lead him into the way of salvation and to a growth in holiness (scientia pietatis). He stayed with them for three days and then went off to the desert where he stayed for a long time, persevering day and night in prayers and tears, living off roots and herbs.
“He went back to the church where the presbyters realised how the three verses of Psalm 1 which they had given him had affected his speech, his actions and his whole way of life. The presbyters marvelled at how such a sudden conversion could have led him immediately into such a strict self-discipline. They gave him further instruction in the holy Scriptures, and suggested that he stay with them permanently. So as not to appear disobedient he lived out a week with them but then returned to the desert, where he spent the next seven years very abstemiously, receiving such a fulness of grace from the Lord, that he was able to learn almost the whole of Scripture by heart. He took bread only on Sundays, and this was given to him by divine providence. For after he came away from his prayers he would find bread there which no human hand had brought. When he had given thanks and consumed it he found that it was sufficient to see him through to the next Sunday.
“A long time afterwards he came back from the desert and encouraged many people to follow his example, among whom was a young man who wanted to be his disciple. After giving him the monastic habit, that is, the sleeveless tunic, the hood and the goatskin cloak, he began to instruct him in the other principles of monastic life, especially the duty of taking care to bury Christians who had died. And when that disciple had observed the care with which he clothed the dead in burial garments, he said, ‘I hope that when I am dead, master, you will prepare and bury me like that.’
“‘I will indeed, my son, and I shall keep on clothing you until you say “enough”‘.
“Not long after this the young man died and this promise was fulfilled. For having clothed him in several garments he said in the presence of all those there, ‘Is this sufficient for your burial, my son, or should we add some more?’ Everybody then heard the voice of the dead boy, even though his jaw had been tied up and his face covered, saying, ‘Enough, father. You have fulfilled your promise’. Those present were astonished, and wondered exceedingly about such a miraculous deed. But once the boy was buried, he made no attempt to boast about it but went straight back to his hermitage.
Contents of the Vitae Patrum,Book Two,Chapter IX, by Rufinus priest of Aquileia, pages 424 -491
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
O God of our Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Thy gentleness: take not Thy mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide our life in peace.