Thursday, August 3, 2017

Saint Kosmas the Eunuch

St. Kosmas the Eunuch (Feast Day - August 3)

By John Moschos

(Spiritual Meadow, Ch. 40)

This story was told to us by Abba Basil, a presbyter of the Monastery of the Byzantines:

When I was at Theoupolis with Patriarch Gregory, Abba Kosmas visited us from Jerusalem, a eunuch from the Lavra of Pharan. He was an outstandingly monk, extremely zealous in upholding the true faith and teachings, and well versed in the knowledge of the divine Scriptures. He had hardly been there for more than a few days when he died, and the patriarch ordered his honorable relics to be buried in his own monastery next to a certain bishop. I went there one day to pay my respects to the tomb of the old man, and found a poor man lying on the tomb asking alms of those going into the church. When he caught sight of me he prostrated himself three times as he prayed to the old man.

"Abba", he said to me, "this old man whom you buried these two months past was assuredly a very great person."

"How do you know that?" I asked

"Well, sir," he replied, "I was paralyzed for twelve years but God cured me through him. And whenever I am in trouble he comes to me and brings me consolation and peace. And here's another miracle of his: from the day in which you buried him until now I hear him crying out each night to the bishop [buried next to him], 'Don't touch me, you heretic. Don't come near me, you enemy of the holy catholic Church of God.' Hearing this cry from the one who healed me, I went to the patriarch and told him everything exactly as it had happened, and begged him to lift the body of the old man from the place where it was and bury it elsewhere.

'Believe me, my son,' said Abba Gregory the Patriarch, 'Abba Kosmas cannot come to any harm from any heretic. All this has come to pass so that we should take note of the old man's virtue and zeal for the faith. As he was in this life so he is now that he is laid to rest. And he lets us know his opinion about the bishop, lest we should think that he had been orthodox.'

Abba Basil also told us about a time when he was visiting this same Abba Kosmas in the Lavra of Pharan:

"I was wondering, the other day," the old man said to Basil, "what the Lord meant when he said to his disciples, 'Let him sell his coat and buy a sword,' (Lk. 22:36) and when the disciples said, 'Here are two swords,' he said, 'It is enough' (Lk. 22:38). I was quite perplexed by these sayings and could not understand what they meant. I was so fixated on them that I left my cell even in the midday heat to go to the Lavra of Pyrgia in order to question Abba Theophilos on the subject. As I was going through the desert near Calamon I saw an enormous reptile coming down the hill towards Calamon. He was so big that as he moved his back curved up like an arched vault, and he left footprints behind him in the earth even deeper. But I passed over these footprints unharmed, and I realized that the devil was trying to put a stop to my inquiry. The prayers of the old man had come to my aid. So I managed to get to Abba Theophilos and told him of my worries.

'The two swords signify the two kinds of life, active and contemplative [praktikon kai to theoretikon],' said Theophilos. 'He who has both of these will achieve perfection.'"

I myself visited this same Abba Kosmas when he was in the Lavra of Pharan, and I stayed there for twelve years. He was talking to me once for my soul's health and mentioned something from the sayings of holy Athanasius, Archbishop of Alexandria.

"If you come across something from the works of Athanasius," he said, "and you haven't got any paper with you to write it down on, write it on your clothing." This was typical of how great was the zeal which this old man had for our holy fathers and teachers.

This Abba Kosmas was also said to have remained standing from Vespers through the night till Sunday morning, singing psalms and reading, both in his cell and in church, never sitting down once, until at last when the services were complete, he would sit and read the Gospels until it was time for the eucharist. 
 

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