March 4, 2021

The Relationship Between St. Gerasimos of Jordan and St. Kyriakos the Anchorite

In his Life of Kyriakos, Cyril of Scythopolis informs us that Saint Kyriakos came to the Holy Land at the age of eighteen to become a monk, and was brought to Saint Euthymios, who tonsured him, but because he was still a beardless youth, he was not allowed to remain with him at his lavra. At this point Cyril informs us:

"The holy Gerasimos accepted him and, noting his youth, told him to stay in the cenobium."

The cenobium of Gerasimos was a training ground for young monks, whereas the more advanced anchorites were allowed to live in their cells. "There," Cyril tells us, "he hewed wood, carried water, cooked, and performed every kind of service with zeal. He spent his days in labor and toil, and his nights in prayer to God, adding to his manual work great zeal in the office of psalmody."

Cyril further adds:

"While serving in the cenobium, he mastered the life of anchorites, taking bread and water every other day and abstaining from oil, wine, and mixed drink, with the result that the great Gerasimos, observing the ascetic mode of life of the young man, was full of admiration and love for him. Consequently, in the season of the holy fast, he took him with confidence to the utter desert of Rouba; there they lived in solitude till Palm Sunday receiving communion each Sunday from the hands of the great Euthymios. A short time later, when the great Euthymios died in Christ, the holy Gerasimos saw his soul conducted by angels and carried up into heaven; taking Abba Kyriakos, he went up to his monastery and returned after burying his body. In the ninth year of Abba Kyriakos' stay in Palestine, our great father Gerasimos died and was adorned with the crown of righteousness on 5 March of the thirteenth indiction [475 A.D.]."

Thus, after living under Saint Gerasimos for nine years, Saint Kyriakos was accepted by Abba Elias at the Lavra of Saint Euthymios.