Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Horrific Act of Abba Apollo of Scetis


1. It was said of a certain Abba Apollo of Scetis, that he had been a shepherd and was very uncouth. He had seen a pregnant woman in the field one day and being urged by the devil, he had said, 'I should like to see how the child lies in her womb.' So he ripped her up and saw the foetus. Immediately his heart was troubled and, filled with compunction, he went to Scetis and told the Fathers what he had done. Now he heard them chanting, 'The years of our age are three score years and ten, and even by reason of strength fourscore; yet their span is but toil and trouble.' (Ps. 90.10) He said to them, 'I am forty years old and I have not made one prayer; and now, if I live another year, I shall not cease to pray God that he may pardon my sins.' 

In fact, he did not work with his hands but passed all his time in prayer, saying, 'I, who as man have sinned, do you, as God, forgive.' So this prayer became his activity by night and day. A brother who lived with him heard him saying, 'I have sinned against you, Lord; forgive me, that I may enjoy a little peace.' And he was sure that God had forgiven him all his sins, including the murder of the woman; but for the child's murder, he was in doubt. Then an old man said to him, 'God has forgiven you even the death of the child, but he leaves you in grief because that is good for your soul.'

2. There was in the Cells an old man called Apollo. If someone came to find him about doing a piece of work, he would set out joyfully, saying, 'I am going to work with Christ today, for the salvation of my soul, for that is the reward he gives.' 

From The Sayings of the Desert Fathers.



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