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January 21, 2019 - Toba 13, 1735

Departure of St. Theophilus, the Monk

On this day also, St. Theophilus the Monk, departed. He was the only son of a king of one of the Roman islands. He brought him up well in the Christian faith and knowledge. When he was 12 years old, he read in the epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews, And you, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of your hands. They will perish but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will fold them up and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not fail. (Hebrews 1:10-12) Then he read in his first epistle to the Corinthians, It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband... for I wish that all men were even as I myself... and I think I also have the spirit of God. (I Corinthians 7:1,2,7,40) He also read in the holy gospel the words of the Lord, If you want to be perfect, go sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me. (Matthew 19:21)

Theophilus left his father's house and all that was his, and went out in disguise. He went from one monastery to another until he arrived in Alexandria. From there, he went to the Glass Monastery. When St. Boctor, the abbot of the monastery, saw him and knew by the spirit that he was a descendant of kings, he received him well and blessed him. He asked him about his story. St. Boctor was greatly surprised and glorified God and accepted him in the monastery. When he saw his successful, virtuous, and active spiritual life, he clothed him in the holy Eskeem. Ten years later, some soldiers sent by Theophilus' father came and took him by force. When he came before his father, he could not recognize him, for asceticism had changed his appearance. The saint revealed his identity to his father, who rejoiced greatly. The saint started to preach to his father telling him about life, death and judgement. His words left a mark in the heart of his father. His father took the crown off his head, relinquishing his throne to his brother. He went with his wife and St. Theophilus, their son to the Glass monastery, where the king became a monk and stayed with his son. St. Theophilus' mother became a nun in a convent. They all lived an ascetic life in worship and in virtue until the end of their days. When they completed their strife, they departed in peace. May Their prayers be with us. Amen.