The Shepherd, August 2006

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FROM THE FATHERS

“THEY SAY that a certain elder dwelt by himself in silence, and that a son of the world (layman) used to minister unto him continually; and it happened that the son of that son of the world fell sick, and his father entreated the Elder to go with him to his house and to pray over him, and when he had entreated him to do so often, the Elder went forth and went with him. And the man went before him and entered the village, and he said to the people there, “Come forth to meet the monk.’ Now when the Elder saw the people from afar off, and perceived that they had come forth to meet him carrying lanterns, straightway he stripped off his garments and dipped them in the river, and he began to wash them, being naked. And when the man who ministered unto him saw this, he was ashamed, and he entreated the people of the village, saying: ‘Get ye back, for the Elder hath certainly gone mad!’ Then he approached the Elder, and said unto him, ‘Father, what is it that thou hast done?’ For all the people are saying that the Elder hath a devil.’ And the Elder said, ‘This is what I wished to hear.’”

From the Paradise of the Fathers

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