March 24, 2018

The Life of a Holy Woman, Who Died in the Desert

By St. John Moschos

From the Monastery of Sampson, about twenty miles from Jerusalem, two fathers once went on pilgrimage to Mount Sinai. This is what they told us when they came back:

'When we were on our way back from worshiping at the holy mountain it happened that we took a wrong path and wandered completely alone in the desert for several days. At last, however, we saw that we were walking towards a narrow cave in the distance. We could see a small pool of water, with grass growing around it, and signs of human habitation.

"There must surely be a servant of God in this place," we said to each other.

When we went in we could not see anybody but we could hear someone crying. After a further search we found a sort of a bed with someone lying on it. We came nearer and asked this servant of God to speak to us. When we got no reply we went nearer and lifted him up, only to find that though the body was still warm the soul had departed to the Lord. So we realized that he had died the moment we entered the cave.

We therefore dug a grave in the cave, and one of us took off the cloak he was wearing to wrap the body in. As we lifted the body out of the place it was lying to prepare it for burial in the usual way, we discovered it was a woman, and we glorified God. We said the prayers for the dead over her and buried her.'

From The Spiritual Meadow, Ch. 170.