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December 24, 2016

Sayings of Holy Abba Betimius

Holy Abba Betimius (Feast Day - December 24)


You stripped yourself of your corruptible skin Betimius,
And will receive it incorruptible at the resurrection.

Abba Betimius lived a venerable life, and reposed in peace. In the Lausiac History, the following is written about him:

1. Abba Betimius said: "When I went down to Scete they gave me some apples to take to the brethren, and when I had knocked at the door of Abba Achilla, he said to me when he saw me, 'If these apples had been of gold I would not have wished you to knock at my door; and moreover, do not knock at the door of any other brother;' so I returned and placed the apples in the church and departed."

2. Abba Ammon said: "On one occasion I and Abba Betimius went to visit Abba Achilla, for we had heard that he was meditating upon the passage, 'Fear not, O Jacob, to go down to Egypt' (Genesis 46:3), and that he was repeating these words several times; and when we knocked he opened unto us, and he asked us, saying, 'Where are you from?' And being afraid to say, 'We come from the cells,' we made answer that we were from the Mountain of Nitria, and he brought us in, and we found that he was working by night at plaiting palm leaves, and we asked him, saying, 'Speak a word unto us.' Then he answered and said, 'Between the evening and the morning I have twisted twenty branches, but in very truth I have no need for all this, only I am afraid lest God be angry with me, and He chide me, saying, Though you were able to work you did not do so; therefore I toil and I work with all my might.'”

3. They used to say of Abba Betimius that, when the brethren were coming down from the harvest to Scete, they brought down as a gift for the brethren who were there a jar of oil, which contained the measure of a kesta and was sealed with plaster. And at the return of the period the year following when they were going to the harvest, they brought everything which was of benefit to the church; and Abba Betimius made a small hole with a needle in the vessel of oil, and poured out a little for himself, and thought that he had done some great thing in not having consumed the whole of the oil which was in the vessel. And when the brethren brought their vessels with the plaster coverings intact and the vessels themselves unopened, whilst his vessel had been perforated, he stood there full of shame, just like a man who thinks that he has been found committing fornication.

4. Abba Betimius asked Abba Poemen, saying, "If a man be angry with me, and I express my contrition, and he will not accept it, what am I to do ?" The old man said unto him, "Take with you two of your friends, and express your contrition in their presence." And the old man Betimius said unto him, "And if he will not be persuaded to accept it then?" And Abba Poemen answered and said, "Take with you five others." And Abba Betimius answered and said, "And if he will not be persuaded by these?" Abba Poemen said, "Then take with you a priest." and Abba Betimius said, "And if he will not be persuaded then?" Abba Poemen said unto him, "Without anger and without excitement pray unto God that he may put into his mind the desire for peace, and straightway you shall have no further care."