December 8, 2010

Life and Miracles of Saint Patapios of Thebes

St. Patapios of Thebes (Feast Day - December 8)

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Patapios was born and brought up in the Faith and in the fear of God by pious parents in the Egyptian city of Thebes. At an early age he perceived and abhorred the vanity of this world and withdrew into the wilderness of Egypt. There he devoted himself to a life of asceticism, cleansing his heart of all earthly desires and thoughts, for the sake of God's love. However, when his virtues became known among the people, they began to come to him and to seek solace from him in their sufferings.

Fearing the praise of men, which darkens the minds of men and separates them from God, Patapios fled this wilderness to Constantinople, for this wonderful saint thought that he could hide himself more easily from people in the city than in the wilderness. Patapios built a hut for himself in the proximity of the Church of Blachernae in Constantinople. There, immured and unknown, he continued his interrupted life of eremetic asceticism.

However, a light cannot be hidden. A child, blind from birth, was led by God's providence to St. Patapios. He besought the saint to pray to God that he be given his sight and be able to look upon God's creation-thus allowing him to praise God all the more. Patapios having compassion on the suffering child, prayed to God, and the child's sight was restored. This miracle revealed God's chosen one throughout the entire city, and people rushed to him for healing, comfort and instruction.

Patapios healed an eminent man of dropsy by tracing the sign of the Cross over him and anointing him with oil. By making the sign of the Cross in the air with his hand, he freed a youth from an unclean spirit that had cruelly tormented him. The evil spirit, with a loud shriek, came out from God's creature like smoke. He made the sign of the Cross over a woman who had a sore on her breast all filled with worms, and made her healthy. Many other miracles did St. Patapios perform, all through prayer in the name of Christ and by the sign of the Cross.

He entered into rest peacefully in great old age and took up his habitation in the Heavenly Kingdom in the seventh century.*

* Most sources date his repose to the 5th century.

The Venerable Patapios

Patapios, like a mariner,
Fixes his gaze into the tempest,
Where he will see the light of the harbor
Beyond this vain and glorious world,
Agitated by the winds of passions,
Darkened by the gloom of vanity.
He casts a glance to the heavens -
Patapios, like a mariner.
The spirit is the eye for seeing heaven
And the wondrous heavenly world -
A true spirit in a pure heart.
Patapios, his soul directed to God,
Bathed his heart in tender tears.
Concentrated, he awaits the light,
The light of heaven, the calm harbor -
Patapios, like a mariner.

Whosoever seeks shall find;
Whosoever knocks, to him it shall be opened.
The Merciful God loves the saints,
The thirsty seekers of the Kingdom of God.
He captured Patapios's glance,
And revealed the heavenly light to him.
Patapios saw and he wept -
God's light inflamed by tears -
Until he sailed to the calm harbor.
His life has remained a wondrous sign
To voyagers on the open seas of the world.

A Miracle of St. Patapios: "We Want the Apolytikion of St. Patapios"

By Fr. Cosmas of Grigoriou

One evening a pious Zairian couple arrived at our Mission Center. I knew them very well because they are assiduous followers of our liturgical services and catechetical teaching. They said to me: 'Father, will you give us the Apolytikion and the Kontakion of St. Patapios?'

'Why is that? And how do you know about St. Patapios?' I asked.

The husband replied as follows: 'Recently we have been through a lot of difficulties in our house. We prayed hard at night for God's help. One night I had this vision in a dream. I could see that I was holding tightly onto a rope and walking towards one of our churches without touching the ground, and my wife was walking behind me in exactly the same way. At that moment, a monk came out of the church and said to us: "Do not be downcast about your problems. Take this Gospel and this prayer-rope, read, pray and call upon my name and I will help you. I am St. Patapios."'

They felt they received these gifts from his hands, and that the Bible was open to the Gospel of St. John. To be sure, with the help of a Zairian, I translated the chants in honour of St. Patapios into Swahili and gave them to the couple, with an icon of the Saint.

From the book Apostle to Zaire: The Life and Legacy of Blessed Cosmas of Grigoriou.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
The image of God, was faithfully preserved in you, O Father. For you took up the Cross and followed Christ. By Your actions you taught us to look beyond the flesh for it passes, rather to be concerned about the soul which is immortal. Wherefore, O Holy Patapios, your soul rejoices with the angels.

Another Apolytikion in the Third Tone
Thou didst follow the divine call from thy youth, and illumine the world with the gifts of thy holy labours. Thou wast made glorious with the grace of dispassion, and dost heal various passions. O Patapios, venerable Father, pray to Christ our God to grant us His great mercy.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Having found thy church to be a place of spiritual healing, all the people flock with haste thereto, O Saint, and they ask thee to bestow the ready healing of their diseases and forgiveness of the sins they wrought in their lifetime; O Patapios most righteous, in every need, thou art the protector of all.