Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Speaking to one of his disciples

     An Egyptian ascetic on the Neutron mountain, Abba Ambo, was a contemporary of St. Anthony the Great and was himself great in monastic asceticism.  Born about AD 303, he was one of the first to join Amoun in Nitria. He was illiterate until he was taught the Scriptures as a monk and ordained a Priest in 340. He had two characteristics by which he was especially known; by long training, he sealed his lips, so that no unnecessary word passed through them, and he never ate any bread other than that which he gained by his own labor, plaiting rushes. He was living like an angel of God and, in old age, his face shone as did the face of Moses in ancient times, so that the monks could not look upon it. He did not give a quick answer even to a simple question, without prayer and pondering in his heart.

     This wonderful Saint had clear discernment into the destiny of the living and the dead.  He entered reward in the Lord in the year 374.

      He said to his disciple: I will tell you this, my child, that the days will come when the Christians will add to and will take away, and will alter the books of the Holy Evangelists, and of the Holy Apostles, and of the Divine Prophets, and of the Holy Fathers.  They’ll tone down the Holy Scriptures and will compose troparia, hymns, and writings technologically.  Their minds will be spilled among them, and they will become alienated from its Heavenly Prototype.  For this reason the Holy Father previously encouraged the monks of the desert to write down the lives of the Fathers not onto parchment, but onto paper, because the coming generation will change them to suit their own personal tastes. So you see. The evil that comes will be terrible.

       Then the disciple said: So then, Geronda, the traditions are going to be changed and the practices of Christians?  Maybe there won’t exist enough   priests in the Church when these unfortunate times come?

And the father continued: In those times the love for God in most souls will grow cold and a great sadness will fall onto the world.  One nation shall face-off against another.  People will move away from their own places. Rulers will be confused. The clergy will be thrown into anarchy, and the monks will be inclined to negligence. The Church leaders will consider useless anything concerned with salvation, as much for their own souls as for the souls of their flocks, and they will despise any such concern.  All will show eagerness and energy for every matter regarding their dining table and their appetites.   They will be lazy in their prayers and casual in their criticisms. 

     As for the lives and teachings of the Holy Fathers, they’ll not have any interest to imitate them, nor even to hear them.   But rather they will complain and say that “if we had lived in those times, we’d have behaved like that.” And the bishops shall give way to the powerful in this world, giving answers on different matters only after taking gifts from everywhere and consulting the rational logic of the academics.  The poor man’s rights will not be defended, they’ll afflict widows, and harass orphans. Debauchery will permeate these people.  Most will not believe in God, they’ll hate each other and devour one another like beasts.  The one will steal from the other, they’ll be drunk and will walk about as blind.

The disciple again asked: What can we do, in such a state?

     And Elder AMBO answered: My child, in these time whoever will save his soul and prompt others to be saved will be called great in the Kingdom of heaven.

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