June 19, 2010

The Relics of Saint Paisios the Great

St. Paisios the Great (Feast Day - June 19)

Saint Paisios the Great was born in Egypt about the year 300 and was consecrated to God as a monk at a young age. He together with Saint John the Short (Nov. 9) was trained in the ascetical life in Scete by the great Abba Pambo (July 18). He practiced extreme fasting and vigil beyond the limits of human strength, and received many revelations of mysteries. The Saviour often appeared to him; once He appeared to him with two Angels, as He had to Abraham, and allowed him to wash His immaculate feet. When he was asked which virtue was the highest of all, he would answer, "That which is done in secret."

Saint Paisios the Great is known as Saint Pishoy or Bishoy by the Coptic Church. Having passed away in the early fifth century, Saint Isidore of Pelusium had his relics along with those of Saint Paul of Tammah, a companion of Saint Paisios, transferred to the Monastery of Saint Pishoy at Deir El Barsha, which still exists today near Mallawi. On December 13, 841 AD, the Coptic Pope Joseph I and moved the body of Saint Pishoy as well as that of Saint Paul of Tammah to the Monastery of Saint Pishoy in the wilderness of Scetes. It is said that they first attempted to move the body of Saint Pishoy only, but when they carried it to the boat on the Nile, the boat would not move until they brought in the body of Saint Paul of Tammah as well. Today, the two bodies lie in the main church of the Coptic Monastery of Saint Pishoy in the Nitrian Desert.

The Monastery of Saint Pishoy at Scetes, Egypt, is the most famous Coptic monastery named after Saint Pishoy. It is the most eastern monastery among the four current monasteries of the Nitrian Desert. Today, the Monastery of Saint Pishoy contains the relics of Saint Pishoy, Saint Paul of Tammah, as well as the relics of other saints. Eyewitnesses recount that the body of Saint Pishoy remains in incorruption until the present day.

On the feast of Saint Pishoy's departure on July 15 (according to the Copts) of each year, the Coptic Pope leads the celebrations in honor of the great Saint and to join the monks of the monastery in their joy for the feast. Thousands of visitors come over a period of 10 days (July 5-15) to join in the celebration and to receive the blessing and intercession of the great Saint.

Read more here.