December 28, 2018

Saint Babylas the Mime of Tarsus

Venerable Babylas (Feast Day - December 28)


Casting aside the burden of all material things Babylas,
Immaterially you came to the place of immateriality.

By St. John Moschos

(The Spiritual Meadow, 32)

There was a certain mime in Cilician Tarsus called Babylas and with him were two concubines, one called Cometa, the other Nicosa. They lived in a very self-indulgent style, doing whatever the demons might put into their minds. One day, however, by divine providence they went into a church and heard the Gospel being read, where it says: "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 3:2). Conscience-stricken, he wept with horror, crying out against his miserable self for the sins he had done. He ran out of the church and called to his two companions.

"You know how self-indulgently I have lived with you," he said. "I have not been fonder of either of you more than the other, so everything I have belongs to both of you. Take all I have and divide it equally between you, for as of now I renounce the world to be a monk."

With one accord they both burst into tears.

"We have shared with you this life of pleasure to the endangering of our souls," they said. "Now that you are going to do this thing pleasing to God, are you going to send us away and do it all by yourself? No, certainly not. We shall share with you in the good things as well."

And so the mime enclosed himself in one of the towers of the city and the two women sold everything, gave the money to the poor, took the habit of piety, and secured for themselves a little cell near the tower, where they too were enclosed. I met this man myself, and was greatly edified by him. He is exceptionally gentle, humble and merciful. Let those who read profit from what I have written.