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Elders Barsanuphius and John.


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 order.

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