Translation – The Plerophories – 11-20


XI. – At the same time, there was yet another demonstration in Jerusalem similar to the previous one, which announced in advance the injustice which was going to be done to God. The great cross, an object of veneration, which for many years had shone and sparkled in the Church of the Ascension, was suddenly consumed by fire and reduced to ashes. This fact disturbed the hearts of all those who fear God, so that the Empress Eudocia who feared God, to console the people who asked her, had the brass cross put in the place of the old cross which we now see shining, and which contains six thousand pounds of brass.

XII. – Bishop Abba Peter once had a conversation with Abba Isaiah, who rested in peace, in the twelfth year of the indiction. Our brothers Zachariah and Andrew – I am speaking of the assistants of the Abba Peter – attended and they told us what the Abba Isaiah had said. He said: “I know that I used to go to one of these great saints, Abba Paul of the Thebaid, who was already old and who was a little over or a little under a hundred and twenty years old, and I heard the following prophecy from his mouth. In twenty years there will be a prevarication on the part of the bishops, which will be the estrangement from God foretold by the Apostle. It will be the act of a wicked man, of the emperor who will be called Marcian. This emperor will die after a little over six years and after him there will be for a short time a lying man and he will partly make peace and tranquillity in the Churches, and the events will unfold thus until the arrival of the Antichrist.

XIII. – Here is another prophecy quite similar to the previous one, made by the Abba Zeno, who was called “of the three cells” and who remained in peace in the Enaton of Alexandria, as the great scholastic Epainetes reports it. He said: When I was in Alexandria, still young, and I was studying there, I was in the habit, inspired by faith, to go frequently to find this old man. One day when I went to his house as usual and suddenly presented myself near his cell, I saw him standing, carrying a rope in his hands and keeping his eyes turned to the sky. As I thought that he was praying, I refrained from speaking to him so that he would finish his prayer. But he remained a long time without moving and I thought to myself that God was revealing my sins to the old man and that for this reason he had not spoken to me and had no joy in receiving me. When I had waited a little longer and the old man was still in his vision, I turned around as if I was about to leave; but the latter shouted out loud to me: “Why are you leaving?” – I bowed and greeted him – and he, without speaking another word, said to me: “Go and write.” – the Blessed Orthodox Patriarch Timothy was then in exile. – The old man said to me: “After a certain number of years Blessed Timothy will return from exile, he will restore orthodoxy and he will die after two years; his archdeacon will become bishop after him and in his time there will be in the Churches a schism that will not be healed until the arrival of the Antichrist.

XIV. – The Abba Paul, who was a sophist, also told us that he had lived with the Abba Andrew, an old prophet, as well as a hardworking and sincere man, who, before the Council of Chalcedon, was one of the great saints of Egypt. The latter, in a vision, saw an immense crowd of bishops stoking a very fiery furnace into which they threw a beautiful child resplendent like gold and which they closed on all sides so that no one could not see the smoke coming out and that the air could not enter it; and, at the end of three days, he saw the child come out safe and sound from the furnace and he recognized that it was the Lord. As he used to talk to him, he said to him: “Who are those who did this to you and who threw you into the furnace?” He said to him: “The bishops have crucified me again and they have decided to take my glory away from me.” And he was right; for the Nestorians are sick with the disease of the Jews, when they say that he who was crucified was purely and simply a man, and not at all the incarnate God. When the old man looked again, he saw in the distance an old man who was standing, who did not approve of the other bishops and who did not join them, neither when they fanned the furnace, nor when they locked up the child and didn’t care. The old man said to the child: “Who is this old man?” And the latter said to him: “It is Dioscorus, patriarch of the Alexandrians, who alone did not participate in their designs.” The old man, gaining confidence, grew bolder to say to the Lord: “Lord, where does it come from that all the bishops of Alexandria fight to death for the truth?” And this one said: “Since Simon the Cyrene carried my cross – and Cyrene is in a part of Egypt – since then I have foreseen and predicted that Egypt, of which the city of Cyrene is a part located in Libya, would carry my cross to the end, cleave to me and mark her zeal for me until death. “

XV. – In confirmation and in testimony of what has preceded, I must add to this account what I learned from the one who accompanied the venerable Timothy into exile, witnessed his holy death and heard his last words. He therefore related that, when the venerable Timothy was about to die, he summoned the heads of the clergy and said to them: Although I am foolish, as the blessed Apostle says, I believe nevertheless that it is necessary, so that you be warned and that you have a perfect knowledge of our time, that I tell you what happened to me, when I was a small child and that I went to school one morning. An excellent old man, venerable and friend of God, met me; he took my head in his hands and he kissed me with a joyful and shining face, saying to me: “Hail, Timothy, bishop of perfection”, and when he had repeated these words three times, he disappeared, and I never saw him again.

XVI. – When I was staying in Jerusalem, I one day followed the road which leads from Siloë, through the valley, to the places situated above it, and there was with me, during this walk, one of the notables of the city who knew all these places. Looking to the left side of the path, I saw at the foot of the mountain located on that side, a large monastery that had grown old and was falling into ruins. All around were trees of different kinds, some withered and some turned wild, and there were thorns and vines growing there as if these places were no longer used. Filled with astonishment, I said to the one who was walking with me: “I am amazed and I wonder how it is that, when so many foreign monks come to Jerusalem and try to find many places, and to buy and build monasteries and rest houses for their use, this place remains without any inhabitant and remains deserted. What does that mean? ” – And this one, with a smiling face, said to me while speaking of this monastery: “It was the monastery of Juvenal, and he remained there in peace when he received the episcopate. Then, when the council of Chalcedon took place, this monastery, against all odds, as by a stroke of the wrath of God, became deserted as it is now. As you see, this place, because of the ruin, was no longer habitable and it was completely deserted since no one could stay there.” I was filled with astonishment and at the same time I lamented, saying: “Truly Juvenal was the companion of Judas, as Blessed Dioscorus said of him; therefore this place inherited the curse of Judas and it is about this that the inspired writer said: Let his habitation be deserted, and there be no one to dwell in his tents.”

XVII. – I remember having learned the following fact, with many others, from the mouth of our father the Abba Peter. As Juvenal used to visit, during the days of the Holy Forty, the monasteries located around the holy city and to visit, according to an ancient custom, those who applied themselves to perfection, he also found a old man, one of those ancient and great ascetics who are close to God. When the latter knew he was approaching, he closed the door of his cell, and, after having pushed the lock, he remained quiet inside. So when Juvenal had arrived and the crowd of clerics and townspeople who accompanied him knocked on the door, he did not open the door; and as these persisted and threatened either to climb the wall or to break the door, the old man began to shout: “Get away far from me, Antichrist, I do not let the Antichrist enter my cell, the traitor Judas will not enter here. ” And he said many other similar words.As those who were with Juvenal got angry and at the same time they blushed for what was being said, Juvenal said to them: “Leave him, he has lost his mind; living the cenobitic life for too long has, in fact, dried up his brain and it no longer knows what it is saying.” This was published aloud throughout the city and its environs and all who heard it were careful to see what would happen; for they knew that this old man was a holy man and a friend of God, filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit and one who said nothing in vain.

XVIII. – There was at that time another miracle of much the same kind, as our father Peter told us, while at that time he was still living in Jerusalem; and he himself saw what happened. He said therefore that in the church called the Pool of Bethesda, where the Lord healed the paralytic, a young reader of those who were in office there, who fulfilled his day on duty, having risen early in the holy place, clearly saw Jesus, our Lord and our God, entering it glorious and surrounded by the saints.

When Jesus saw that some of the the lights of the church were out and the others carelessly placed, he cried out and said, “What shall I do to those to whom I have given such goods, oil and wine and other useful items? They never lacked anything, to give them a reason to abandon and neglect my service. Woe to Juvenal! he has made my house a cave of thieves and he has filled it with fornicators, adulterers and unclean people. After having said this, he entered the sacristy and ordered the cupboards in which were the sacred garments to be opened; having seen that there too there was neglect and disarray and other similar things, he cried out and said to those who were with him, “Take this, you others, wash them well, sprinkle them with fenugreek and put them away properly.”

When it was done, he went out of the sacristy, he saw the reader who for fear had withdrawn and hid himself, and he said: “And this one, what is he doing here? Get him out of here – But he, falling face down on the ground, said: “Have mercy on me!”- And the Lord said to him:” Get out of here, I do not know your works.” – And as he remained prostrate and implored him, the Lord said to him: “Repent therefore from now on, put an end to your negligence.” – And this one said to him: “If your mercies help me, I will do this that I can.”

When the Lord had moved away, the reader remained from that day on in a stupor and sadness which never ended and he constantly uttered unspeakable moans. When the day came, the deacons of this church and the inhabitants who were in the vicinity of this place came running and, seeing that he was so sad and that he was lamenting so loudly, they asked him the cause and he confidently told them of the vision he had had, and he confirmed his account by showing them the sacred adornments; having in fact opened the cupboards, they found them shining with a divine light and as if covered, instead of fenugreek, with a dust which, a strange thing and akin to the wonder, gave off a remarkably pleasant odoir, so that, when all the city learned of it, the inhabitants flocked to this church.

Myself and my brother John, may his soul rest in peace! We witnessed this wonder as we passed by. When Juvenal learned of this, he could not bear the shame and reproach which resulted from what was said about it. Nothing in fact remained secret. During the night he had him who had had this vision taken away, and made him disappear; how and where? God knows it.

The venerable Peter added this: “I know someone among the blessed ones who lived in peace in the holy city – was he speaking of himself or of another, he did not show it in any certain way. He said: – I know this blessed one who, after having had a vision in the time of Juvenal and having seen the impurities which took place inside the sanctuary, no longer wanted to enter the church with Juvenal since that day, nor receive Communion from his hand, but he received it separately in the sacristy. The prevarication of Chalcedon had not in fact yet taken place.” But who was the saint who had this vision, he does not tell us.

XIX. – But our blessed father, sincere and a man of God, added to the previous account the following: As he could not bear the perversity of what was happening because of Juvenal, and the members of his family and his assistants, and because he saw the scandal from such a great number and from the strangers who came to this church from everywhere, by a kind of divine inspiration, he locked himself in his cell from the ninth hour and bowed down before God shedding bitter tears and lamenting; while frequently he made genuflections and stood up, he was as if filled with the person of God and he said: “What must I do for the salvation of men that I have not done? I consolidated Heaven, I established the earth, I planted Paradise, I made all creation turn to their happiness; after Adam’s fault, I gave the Law, I sent the patriarchs and the prophets, I made to persuade them a great number of signs and wonders, and, in the last place, I sent for their sake my only begotten Son who, once he arrived among them, preached the kingdom from heaven, granted forgiveness of sins, healed their sick, showed the blind and paralytics walking, cast out demons, was crucified for them and died for them, after destroying death, came out of the tomb, strengthening thus the hope in the resurrection, and after ascending to heaven, sent the Holy Spirit, gave the apostles and evangelists their mission, and overthrew the idols. And, in return for all this, they offend me, trample on my law and my commandments and transgress my faith: behold their house remains deserted. Since this vision, Peter did not cease to fulfill all the same office days, adding the same lamentations and similar words and tears for a long time, until the time of the transgression which took place in Chalcedon was about to come.

XX. The village of Ganta which is fifteen miles from the holy city, in the northern part, after having first belonged to the Empress Eudocia, now belongs, by her will, to the Church of Jerusalem. There was a priest there, from this very village, named Paul. Since his childhood he had loved the kind of life of ascetics and he was adorned with all the evangelical perfection: holiness, virginity, purity, kindness towards the poor and love of strangers. He was revered by all the inhabitants and even by the queen and he was a chosen one of God. He founded a coenobium in the village, that is to say a monastery, large and illustrious, and he became the father of a large crowd of monks. Finally he was seized by the inhabitants of the village and was made priest of the village church. People who had tested this man, affirm about him that, although he gathered this village to the services for so many years, men and women at the same time, he took care, among other virtues, never to look or even see a woman’s face. When the Empress Eudocia had learned of this and had known him by experience, she no longer wanted, until her death, to receive Communion except from him alone and not from another, not from a bishop, nor from a cleric, even though he be a monk. The venerable Peter, our father, who loved him very much and who had a close relationship with him, also bore witness to the divine perfection of this ascetic.At the time when the Council of Chalcedon of these infidels was already convoked, the venerable Paul had a night vision. He saw a great plain which contained, so to speak, all mankind, and in the middle of this plain he saw a high hill and, on the top of this hill, a canopy carried by columns of gold and silver; between these columns rose an altar, formed of precious stones and magnificent pearls and emitting an indescribable light; all around was a large crowd of saints standing and doing the altar service; – among these, according to his saying, he knew some who were still living at that time. – A voice came from heaven saying: “Let him be anathema, he who will proclaim two natures”; and those who were standing around the altar answered from their side in a loud voice: “So be it.” The people who filled the plain, keeping silence, were in awe and terror as a result of the astonishment. The divine voice cried again: “Let him be anathema, he who divides the Being, one and indivisible; let apostates be anathema”; and only those who surrounded the altar answered, “So be it.” When the vision had ceased, the old man then came to himself and he was seized by great anguish and by groans, reflecting to himself and thinking that, if in this vision there was allusion to some scandal, this could only come from the Council of Chalcedon and Juvenal. This impious one, in fact, had passed through the monastery of Paul when he went to court. Juvenal in fact revered him when he saw that the Empress Eudocia had great confidence in him; and during his passage he said to the old man: “Here is why I passed by your house: it is because I do not expect to see you again. We are going to the fight and exile is reserved for us, unless we trample on our conscience which is in God; they ask us, in fact, to despise and deny the faith of our fathers and to think what Simon the Magician and the Jews thought, as if the Christ who suffered for us was not God. Pray therefore for us, Lord Father, that I may not be ashamed in my old age.”As he remembered these facts and regarded with astonishment the object of the vision, without however succeeding in grasping it, the old man again saw, during the night, Juvenal who was standing in a corner, stripped and hiding everything in shame. He had turned all black like the one who lights a furnace, and he was dressed with a dirty belt full of coins. The old man said to him, shouting in a loud voice: “Lord, head of the bishops, what is happening to you? What does this habit with which you are dressed mean?” And this one said: “What shall I do for my sins? Behold you see my shame: I am gathering much gold for the Antichrist, because he is about to enter into contention with the dust.” When the old man awoke, he was amazed at his vision and thought that in this council nothing good would happen, but rather scandals. Because of this, he waited for the event to confirm this testimony. When the apostasy was published everywhere, the old man was astonished at the vision he had had and as the old man wondered what the meaning of what Juvenal had told him in the vision about the Antichrist who was going to struggle with the dust, he understood, with the light of the Holy Spirit, that what was designated by that dust was certainly the man who is made of dust and formed of earth; and all those who are earthly and attached to the earth, the Antichrist was going to take them, overcome them and deceive them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.