Monday, December 29, 2014

The History of our Venerable Father Benjamin

Venerable Benjamin (Feast Day - December 29)

And there was also in the mountain of Nitria a marvellous man whose name was Benjamin, who attained to a high state of perfection in the ascetic life, for he had fasted and toiled for eighty years. Now he was held to be worthy of the gift of the craft of the physician, and from every wound (or stripe) upon which he laid his hand, and which Christ blessed or gave [him the power to heal], straightway every pain departed. 

And this man, who was worthy of such a gift, collected water in his body for eight months before his death, and he was so much swollen that he might well have been called a second Job. And Dioscurus took us, that is to say, the blessed Origen and myself, and said unto us, “Come ye and see a new Job, who whilst [suffering from] such a severe disease of the body as this healeth others.” And Benjamin gave thanks concerning his affliction beyond measure, and glorified God continually, and his soul rejoiced and was glad in the hope which it laid up for the saints.

Now when we had gone and seen the swelling of his body we found that it had become so large that a man could not with all his hand encircle one of his fingers; and being unable to look upon such a terrible affliction through disease we turned away our eyes. Then the blessed man Benjamin said unto us, “My sons, pray that the inner man may not collect water. Even when this my body was in health it in no wise helped me, and now that it is sick it in no wise hindereth me.” 

Now during the [last] eight months of his illness they made a broad chair for him, and he used to sit therein always, because he was not able to lie down upon a bed by reason of the necessity of his belly and of the other [members of his] body. And whilst he himself lived in such suffering through all his affliction he was healing others, and it is for this reason that I am compelled to narrate to you concerning the affliction of this righteous man, so that when such an affliction as this happeneth unto the righteous we may not hold the matter to be hard. Now when this blessed man died, the whole of the framework of the doorway had to be removed to enable them to bring out his body from his cell, for his body was very large indeed.

From The Paradise Of The Holy Fathers, Ch. 12.

Please Visit Our Sponsors