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December 18, 2020

Saint Eubiotos as a Model for our Lives

St. Eubiotos of Kyzikos (Feast Day - December 18)

By Protopresbyter Fr. George Papavarnavas

Saint Eubiotos was from Kyzikos of Asia Minor, and lived towards the end of the third century and the beginning of the fourth century. He was a famous ascetic and confessor. Having been arrested by pagans he endured with great courage horrible tortures, from which, miraculously, he remained unharmed. Because of the miracles that took place during his martyrdom, many well-meaning pagans believed in Christ and became confessors and martyrs. When Maximian saw that the Saint remained unharmed by the horrible tortures, he ordered the executioners to behead him. They, however, because it suddenly became dark, slaughtered each other. Thus, the Saint remained unharmed again, for this reason he was thrown into prison, where he remained twenty-two days. He was then released, at the behest of Maximian, when he was informed that Constantine the Great was ascending from the western parts of Europe to the east. He lived another five years in asceticism and prayer. Many people hastened to his hermitage, mainly people in pain, whom he received with great love and supported, strengthening and comforting them with his divinely inspired and comforting words, but also with the miraculous healings of various diseases that took place with his divinely-entreating prayers.

Shortly before his death, according to divine economy, he met Saint Philetairos, who had also been arrested, and after tortures he was released for the same reason. After his release, passing through Kyzikos, he heard about Saint Eubiotos and wanted to meet him. This communication took place in a miraculous way, after an angel of the Lord informed Saint Eubiotos and led him to this meeting. The Saints having remained together for seven days comforted and strengthened each other, then Philetairos departed to his longed for Lord. Eubiotos buried him near his cell and after a short time he also reposed.

His life and conduct give us the opportunity to highlight the following:

Communication between people is important, since a person as a social being socializes with his fellow human beings and therefore he must learn to communicate with them. And it is called this, because the coexistence and the intercourse of people is one thing and the communication between them is another. This means that some people can meet every day, greet each other, talk, trade and, of course, have no communication. That is, they meet for various reasons, perhaps because they are neighbors, colleagues, collaborators and even couples, but they live as strangers, cut off from each other. One does not understand the other, with the result that there is no point of contact, that there is no communion of love, because communion of love is communication in its original dimension. In fact, sometimes, not only do they not communicate, but despite their daily intercourse, it happens that they hate, envy, are jealous of and blame each other. But there are also those people who for many different reasons do not meet often and do not see each other face to face, and yet they have communication. And this happens because, as has been said, communication between people presupposes mutual understanding and love.

In other words, those who are tuned to the same frequency, tuned to the same "transmitter" and "emit at the same wavelength" can communicate. That is, those who tune in to the "highest of waves" emitted by the Triune God, and this "highest of waves", according to Saint Paisios the Athonite, is humility and love. Otherwise, various "parasites" will interfere, due to their passions, and then their communication will be from problematic to impossible, because what puts a barrier in human relations and prevents communication between them are the passions. How can you have communication, that is, a communion of love with the other, when in you you nurture for them jealousy, dislike, disgust, as well as complaints, because it does not satisfy your irrational desires? The passions stem from self-love, which, according to Saint Maximus the Confessor, is the "unreasonable love for the body". Therefore, as long as we are slaves of the passions, that is, of lust, avarice, greed, resentment, etc., it is impossible to understand, to love and to communicate.

The liberation from the passions and the acquisition of selfless love, which "seeks not its own", is achieved by the Grace of God and the personal struggle of each one of us and opens the way for communication between us. And true love knows no boundaries, but removes distances and brings people closer to one another in an inner way, unknown and incomprehensible to all those who do not believe in the true God and do not pray.

Therefore, from what has been said, the conclusion is drawn that communication between people can only exist when they are free from passions, prejudices, fanaticisms, but also when they are willing to take the initiative without knowing it.

The Saints are a model of communication, as well as all those who strive to overcome their passions and achieve their personal sanctification. They, with the power of selfless love, which embraces friends and enemies, overcome all obstacles, difficulties and distances that may exist, and communication develops between them, that is, a society of love. When it pleases God that they would meet and communicate "in life", then this meeting becomes a source of blessing, peace, joy and spiritual rejoicing. With their genuine, sincere and comforting words they comfort and support each other and accept the Grace of Christ, who, because they are united in His name, is with them, but also within them, as He declares. The exhortation is addressed to all of us: "Remain in Me and I in you".

When man, with the Grace of God and his spiritual struggle, dominates his passions and he is renewed internally, then he acquires the ability to communicate with all of those who are of a similar life and are on the same "highest of waves".

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.