May 16, 2020

Saint Andrew the Fool for Christ and the Plague in Constantinople

(Life of Andrew the Fool, 30)

At that time a great plague broke out in this queen of cities, and one could see the blessed man sitting on the ground in the middle of the avenues and streets of the city, as well as in the porticoes, wailing and lamenting loudly, for he was entreating the Lord, who loves mankind, to forgive us our sins and have pity on us and stop the terrible pestilence. When the passers-by saw him thus upset they said, "Look how he wails and laments over his mother who just passed away!" Others said, "Look how the crazy man bewails his sins, as the Holy Writ says, for one can also shed tears under the influence of demons. Ο that there were Christians who had such tears, so that they could drown the abyss of their trespasses!" Still others said, "Who knows? Maybe regaining his reason for a moment he laments over his own fate?" With these remarks they went away.

The servant of God did not stop making his supplication with tears until he had put an end to the destruction. He fell into ecstasy and found himself transported to the servant of God Daniel at Anaplous — for he was also struggling, standing in the open air working countless miracles for the glory of God, because of which even the Emperor Leo used to go out to him with his Augusta to partake of his prayer. Now as the righteous man had arrived there in his vision, the holy Daniel caught sight of him and said jokingly, as it were, "Come, good runner and holy Master of the stadium, you who outshine the sun in the middle of the turmoil, come, let us invoke the Lord together, for he is compassionate, forbearing and abounding in mercy, that he may save the imperial city from the destroyer!" As they began to invoke God, at once fire descended from heaven and seized an Ethiopian whose hands were darkened, full of blood and dripping destruction. The fire devoured him and pushed him through the air, driving him out of the reigning city and its vicinity by force, and thus the destruction ended.