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December 15, 2014

Saint Pardos the Solitary of Palestine

St. Pardus the Hermit (Feast Day - December 15)

Our holy father lived in Palestine in the sixth century. In his youth, Pardos was a wagoner. One day, arriving in Jericho, he left his beast of burden in front of an inn which he entered. At that moment, it happened that a child fell in front of the beast which trampled upon it, thereby killing it. When Pardos beheld the crushed child, cruelly slain by his animal, his heart became extremely laden with guilt. Though it was an unintentional sin, the conscience-stricken Pardos laid on himself a harsh penance. He abandoned his trade, and, though very young he left the world. He withdrew into the arid desert to live a life of mortification, spiritual toil and repentance.

With many tears, he offered unto God his profound repentance on account of the child’s death. He somehow desired to give his life in exchange for that of the child, for which he prayed to God. He then searched out a lion, hoping it might devour him, but the beast fled from him. Then he decided to lay in the narrow track that the lion habitually tread upon, hoping that it would slay him. But, once more, the lion leapt over him and would not approach. Therefore, he perceived that it was God’s will that he continue to live and not perish as prey. Somewhat allayed, the sensitive and God-fearing soul remained a lowly penitent till his death, as if he were the least of all men in worth.

From The Lives of the Saints of the Holy Land and Sinai Desert (Buena Vista, CO: Holy Apostles Convent, 1997), pp. 514-5.