Saint Barsanuphius, an Egyptian by birth, lived in the 6th.
Century during the reign of Emperor Justinian. He
first lived in a monastery near the township
of Gaza and then, lived without the monastery in a small cave,
spending his time in prayer and silence. Nobody saw him for 50 years. For his great
humility, God honored him with the gifts of wisdom, perspicacity and prophecy.
It has been told that, like Apostle Paul, he ascended into Heaven and witnessed
the indescribable blessings of Godís Kingdom. Being a miracle worker, he raised
the dead and like the Prophet Elijah, could control the heavens. Such were the
great gifts he obtained through unbelievably difficult temptations and
sufferings. At the closing stages of his life ó for the good of the Church ó he
was invited by the Patriarch of Jerusalem to visit the city, where he convinced
the emperor to abandon his erroneous thinking and restore the concordant
relationship with the Church of Jerusalem. He died in the year of 563.
Venerable John also practiced a life of silence
and earned the gifts of prophecy and perspicacity, for which he received the
designation of prophet. His place of birth is unknown. During an 18 year period
up to his death, he lived near the Elder Barsanuphius. Knowing the date of his
demise and in response to Abba Elianusí request he postponed his death for two
weeks in order to instruct him how to run the cloister.
Saints Barsanuphiusí and Johnís instructions have
been preserved in the form of questions and answers posed by individuals of
various callings ó Archbishops, priests and laity.
Saint Barsanuphius instructed Abba Seridus to
record all his answers without having any fear of making mistakes, as the Holy
Spirit would direct him to chronicle everything correctly and in sequential
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