December 2, 2017

Synaxarion of the Holy Hermits John, Heraclemon, Andrew and Theophilos of Oxyrhynchus

Sts. John, Heraclemon, Andrew and Theophilos (Feast Day - December 2)


Four men in a land without sorrow,
Full of afflictions they entered the land.

These Saints were from the city of Oxyrhynchus, which is in Egypt, near the Nile River, and were the sons of Christian parents. Because they engaged in reading the divine Scriptures, by this they were moved towards compunction. And leaving the world behind, they went into the deepest desert, being led there by God. 

There they found a holy man who was very old, and lived near him for a year. After he died, they lived there for sixty years, occupying themselves always with fasting and hard work. Their only food was fruit, and for drink they only had water, which they drank only twice a week. Every other day of the week, they separated themselves from each other, and each walked to different mountains and caves, so they could pray to God alone.

On Saturday and Sunday they came together, and offered to God proper thanksgiving, receiving the divine Mysteries from a holy Angel. This was related by the great hermit Paphnutios, who wrote about their lives.*


* These fourth century Saints are written about in Saint Paphnutios' Life of Saint Onouphrios, having encountered them in the desert after burying Saint Onouphrios.