September 24, 2016

Synaxarion of Saint Kopris, Disciple of St. Theodosios the Coenobiarch

On the twenty-fourth of this month [September], we commemorate our Holy Father Kopris.


Kopris was not dung, but another cluster of grapes,
A fair blossom that is offered to the Lord.

He was born on a dung heap outside the Monastery of Theodosios the Coenobiarch, by a woman who was being pursued by the Hagarenes with a large number of others of the neighborhood, and who fled to Saint Theodosios for safety from the hands of the impious, and she was prevailed upon by birth pangs. And finding there a dung heap, she gave birth on it. After the passage of the Hagarenes the monks found the new born child on the dung heap and, at the order of Saint Theodosios they adopted him and named him Kopris.* He was nurtured on the milk of a goat. When this goat was grazing with the other goats on the mountain, it would reckon the time when to suckle the child, it would then come down from the mountain, and after it had suckled him, it returned again. This it did until the child grew and was able to eat stronger food.

When he had thus reached maturity, he was beloved by Theodosios the Great. And having kept intact that which is according to the image of God, he was made worthy of the grace of the Spirit, which made wild beasts subject to him. For once he found a she-bear in the garden eating the lettuces, and he took it by the ear and led it outside the garden. After censuring it with the prayer of Theodosios the Great, he was able to have it never enter the garden again.

On another occasion he was going up the mountain with the donkey of the monastery to collect wood, when a she-bear appeared and struck the donkey in the thigh. The Saint therefore seized the bear and loaded the wood onto it with the words: "I’m not letting you go; for you will do the donkey’s service until it gets well." And by the prayers of Theodosios the Great the bear was subject to him, and carried the wood.

Once when he was on duty in the kitchen the brass cauldron was boiling over and the lentils were spilling out. Unable easily to find the usual stick, he plunged his bare hand in the cauldron and - O the wonder! - the extreme boiling immediately ceased, and his hand remained completely unharmed.

Because he was adorned with every kind of virtue and the office of the priesthood, and until his old age he never ceased his asceticism (despite the fact the thrice-blessed one was ninety years old, and he would always be found in a hidden place praying), he was made worthy to see Theodosios the Great, who had already died, and he appeared to him and they chanted together. And afterwards he heard the voice of the same Theodosios say to him: "Brother Kopris, behold the time has come for your death. Therefore come towards me, that you may find rest in the prepared place of rest." Thus the Saint shined like the sun amid the holy fathers who were there, and a few days after he heard the voice from above, he became slightly ill. And having greeted all the fathers and brothers, he departed to the Lord.


* Kopri is the Greek word for "dung".