Monday, June 28, 2010

Saint Sennuphios the Sign-Bearer


By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Sennuphius was a great ascetic and wonderworker of the Egyptian desert. He was a contemporary of Patriarch Theophilus and Emperor Theodosius the Great. He is called the "Standard-bearer" because by his prayers he once helped Emperor Theodosius to gain a victory over the army of his adversaries. When the emperor summoned Sennuphius to Constantinople, Sennuphius replied that he was unable to do so but sent him his tattered monastic habit and staff. Setting out to battle the emperor donned Sennuphius' monastic habit and carried the staff and returned victorious from battle.

REFLECTION

Protestants have rejected the miracles of God through material things. By doing this they thought to despiritualize the Christian Faith, however, in doing this, they have impoverished and deformed Christianity. They have rejected the action of God's power through icons, through the relics of the saints, through the Cross and, finally, some of them even through the power of Holy Communion. If they were to follow this erroneous path, they would have to reject even the miracles which have occurred from the living body of the Lord Jesus, for His body was material; the same with the miracles by the touch of the apostles' hands and the hands of the saints, for these hands are also material and not even to mention the rod of Moses, or the vesture of the All-holy Birth-giver of God, of the handkerchief of the Apostle Paul and so forth. In their rejection, Protestants stand in contradiction to the entire ancient Church. Here is one out of thousands and thousands of proofs that God acts through things, especially when He wants to glorify His saints: there was a tall pillar erected in Alexandria bearing the statue of Emperor Theodosius dressed in monastic habit and with a monastic staff in his hand. This pillar served as a memorial of the emperor's victory which he, clad in the monastic habit of St. Sennuphius and with Sennuphius' staff in his hands, carried against his adversaries. When God wills, then even one garment of a saint conquers the powerful armies of unbelievers. Who would dare to limit the actions or the methods of action of the power of the Almighty God?

HYMN OF PRAISE: SAINT SENNUPHIUS

Sennuphius the Elder, in the wilderness fasts,
His body passionless, as dry bones,
But from a dry stone, as water one time,
From him flows, the Grace of the Holy Spirit;
In a deadened body, is hidden a spirit powerful
That, the glorious Emperor Theodosius heard,
And, when to set out for war, the emperor wanted,
Invited the Elder Sennuphius to come,
His blessing to give, that the emperor the devil to crush,
Numerous gifts to him, the emperor promised.
The Elder Sennuphius, into tears broke out,
To Emperor Theodosius, a reply he sends,
The roads are too distant, that he cannot come,
And with worries, cannot confuse his prayer,
For every gift, gives thanks to the emperor
And to him [Theodosius], his old monastic habit he sends,
Along with the cassock, an old staff he sends,
This, to the emperor, the gifts from the monk were!
The staff, let the emperor to take, and the habit to don,
And, in battle, every adversary he will defeat.
As a monk attired, the emperor for battle set out
Glorious victor from battle he returned.
The emperor, a pillar of victory in the city erected,
His likeness as a monk on top of the pillar, he placed,
That the faith of Emperor Theodosius, the world remembers
And of Saint Sennuphius, the miraculous power.

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