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November 22, 2017

Synaxarion of the Venerable Abba the Ishmaelite

Venerable Abba (Feast Day - November 22)


Abba was the image of all abbas,
Rightly I honor you as a child does a father.

Our Holy Father Abba (which is translated as Father) was from the race of the Ishmaelites. Forsaking parents and country and wealth, he became the follower of a certain monk. Receiving from him the monastic schema, they lived together for a few years. Both then went to the great and venerable Eusebius the struggler (Feb. 15) to become his disciples. After his fellow monk died, the blessed Abba remained with the great Eusebius.

Abiding there for thirty-eight years, he always increased the virtues before him, as if he had just began his monastic conduct. For he never covered his feet with shoes, and ate only the amount of food that gave some strength to his body. It was customary for him to exceed even this with the water he drank. And though he was bound with heavy iron, he rarely sat down, spending most of the day and night standing up and praying. Even when he slept on his knees, he offered entreaties to the Lord. He completely refused to lie down on a bed, and no one ever saw him reclining. Also when he became abbot and director of the monks there, he set himself before all his subordinate brothers, as a model and example of philosophy and virtue.

Having conducted himself in this manner, and arriving at the fullness of his age, he reposed in the Lord.