Χριστός ανέστη! Αληθώς ανέστη!
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
ХристосВоскрес! Воистину Воскрес!
Kristus (ir) augšāmcēlies! Patiesi viņš ir augšāmcēlies!
Saint Isidora, the Fool for Christ of Tabennisi Monastery
Commemorated on May 1
”We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. 11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; 12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: 13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.” (I Cor. 4:9-13)
”God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise.” (1 Cor 1:27)
“You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world.”
An Angel appeared to St. Piteroum, a man confirmed in virtues who lived in asceticism on Mt. Porphyrite, and said to him:
“Why do you boast that you are pious by remaining in this place? Would you like to meet a woman who is more pious than you? Go to the Convent of those of Tabennesis, and there you will find a nun who wears a crown on her head. She is superior to you. She contends with such a multitude, and yet her heart has never distanced itself from God. As for you, you sit here, but your mind wanders through the cities. Never grumbled against God and was given to silence.“
Abba Pitirim and blessed Isidora, Fool for Christ
Once one Angel came to Saint Pitirim*, who was a famous Egyptian man of faith and told him: “Why do you praise your exploits so much and think you are devout, when with your thoughts you wander all over the world? If you want to see a really devout woman you need to go to the Tavennis nunnery where you will find a humble laborer who wears a bandage on her head. She is better then you are, because she serves everyone in various ways though everyone despises her. And though she is surrounded by many people she never steps away from God in her heart.” The Angel was talking about venerable Isidora.
Great Pitirim immediately went to that nunnery and wanted to see the virgins who lived there. Everyone came to him except Isidora. Then Pitirim said: “She who the Angel told me about is not here” — they answered him: “There is one mad woman here who works at the kitchen.” — “Bring her, — says Pitirim, — maybe she is the one who I am looking for.” When they started calling Isidora she refused to come, probably knowing what the matter was, and she did not want to open her secret exploit of foolishness for Christ. Then they started to bring her by force explaining that Abba Pitirim wanted to see her and Pitirim was very respected by everyone. When she was brought to the Abba and when he saw her with a shabby cloth on her head he fell to her feet and said: “Bless me, mother.” But she fell to his feet and answered: “You bless me, my master!” When everyone saw that they were amazed and began to say: “Abba, do not shame yourself, she is mad!” —“You are all mad, — exclaimed the holy elder, — and she is better than you and me. She is our spiritual mother, and I pray to be equal to her on the Day of Judgment.”
After those words everyone fell to the feet of Abba Pitirim with tears, confessing how often they had afflicted this holy woman. Many laughed at her and scoffed over her humble appearance, others rudely insulted her, some beat her and once even poured slops over her. Saint Isidora suffered everything humbly, pretending to be mad. Saint Pitirim accepted their confession and together with the Saint Isidora prayed for them. Then he consoled Saint Isidora and returned to his monastery.
A few days later blessed Isidora, who could not bear the honors, services and apologies of the sisters secretly left the nunnery. Thus nobody knew where she went and how she ended her days.
Selected stories from “Lavsaik.” – Palladius, The Lausiac History
*St. Pitirim of Egypt (4th century), disciple of St. Anthony the Great an anchorite who lived in solitude in the arid mountains of the Thebaid on Mt. Porphyrite .Mons Porphyrites (Mountain of Porphyry) at Jebel Abu Dukhan the Eastern Desert.
Commemorated on November 29
Kontakion of Venerable Isidora (Tone II):
Having acquired the mind of Christ, O divinely wise one, thou didst reject the wisdom of this world, showing the appearance of drunkenness to men, but worshiping God with understanding, and meditating on His wisdom every hour, filled with the Holy Spirit. Wherefore, we all cry out: Rejoice, O Isidora, thou boast of Tabenna!