Happy Feast Day, Saint John of Egypt

Tuesday 27 March 2012

This particular Saint John was one of the hermits of the Nitrean desert, having formerly been a carpenter (like someone else we know with connections to this blog).

According to hagiographer Alban Butler, John was noted for performing seemingly absurd acts at the bidding of the Holy Spirit, such as rolling rocks from place to place and cultivating dead trees. After performing such acts he would withdraw to the top of a cliff, where he could avoid all human contact (keeping clear of women, in particular).

Saint Augustine wrote that John was tempted by devils and performed miraculous cures. He cured a woman, according to Augustine, of blindness but then appeared to her in a vision to avoid seeing her in person. He possessed the spiritual gift of prophecy and spoke through a window to people twice a week, often predicting the future and knowing the details of persons he had never met. He predicted future victories to the Emperor Theodosius the Great.

He apparently spent the last three days of his life without food or drink or any interactions but prayer. He was discovered in his cell, with his body in a position of prayer in AD 394. His feast day in the West is, of course, March 27.

So Happy Feast Day, John of Egypt, Saint of Pointless Things**.

* A writer of biographies of saints or other venerated persons.

** Like nipples on men, free catalogues in magazines, and Posh Spice.


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