September 17, 2022 - Tout 7, 1739

Departure of St. Severianus, Bishop of Gabla

On this day also departed the righteous holy father, Abba Severianus, Bishop of Gabla in Greece. The name of his father was Blaryanos. He studied the earthly wisdom of the Athenians and then went to Caesarea for higher studies. He returned to Rome where he studied the doctrines of the Church, and learned the Old and New Testaments in a few years. After this his parents departed and left him a great wealth. He wished to give it all to Christ so that he might receive it back a hundred-fold. He built a hotel to house the strangers, the poor, and the afflicted, and planted gardens to have the fruits distributed to the poor. His name was given to these places after his departure from this world. His uncle who was the governor of that city informed Emperor Honorius that he had squandered all his money for the name of the Lord Christ to receive from Him back a hundred-fold as He had promised in His Holy Gospel. The emperor was pleased. He invited him and commanded him not to leave the palace. He used to take him along to the church. In those days Pope Yonakendios was sitting on the chair of Rome, and it was revealed to him by God that Severianus would be in charge of a large group. The Pope loved and honored him, and wished not to be separated from him, and he was loved by everyone.

When St.Severianus (Sawiros) saw that everyone honored him, he became afraid of losing his labor, so he decided to escape from earthly honors secretly. The angel of the Lord appeared to him and commanded him to go to the city of Gabla and there he would become father to many souls. After having put on the garb of the monks, he departed by night and with him was his disciple, Theodore. God sent to him a light to guide him to his destination. There was a monastery led by a holy abbot who learned in a vision about the coming of St.Severianus. He went out and welcomed him and told him about his vision. His fame reached that region and a countless number of people came to him. The Emperor Theodosius had one of the monasteries renewed for him to live in as the angel had determined for him. He became the comforter of many souls. He continued to teach and instruct the monks until they became saints like angels.

God performed many wonders at his hands. The daughter of the governor of Gabla had an evil spirit dwelling in her and the spirit said to her father, If you drive away Severianus from this place, I will get out of your daughter. When her father informed the saint about that, he wrote him a paper saying: In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, get out of her. When he returned to his daughter with this paper, straightaway the devil screamed and left her. Once some magicians agreed with some soldiers to break into his monastery, but they were smitten with blindness and they remained like this for three days until the saint prayed for them to be cured.

Philatheus, the Bishop of the city, learned in a vision from God that St.Severianus (Sawiros) would succeed him on his chair and he said this to his people. When St.Severianus was ordained, he looked after his people in the best way. There was in that city a Jew called Sektar who was proud of his knowledge. He came to the saint and debated with him until finally he was convinced of the correctness of Christianity and the faith in the Lord Christ; many other magicians also believed. During his days, Egypt became as proud of its monks as Constantinople was of Saint John Chrysostom (of the Golden Mouth). When the Persians declared war against Honorius and Arcadius, they sent to St.Severianus asking for his prayers for the kingdom. He sent back to them saying, If we belong to Christ, and our kingdom belongs to Christ, we have no need for armor or spears or troops. And he reminded them of what the Lord had done with those previous kings who pleased Him.

When Empress Eudoxia was angry with Chrysostom (of the Golden Mouth), she brought St.Severianus with others for the trial of St.Chrysostom. He admonished her saying, John Chrysostom (of the Golden Mouth) did nothing worthy of banishment, but she would not hearken to him. He wrote many discourses and sermons which still exist in the church books till now. He waxed old reaching the age of one hundred years. Ten days before his death, the angel of God appeared to him and informed him of the day of his departure from this world. He gave advice to his people and then departed in peace. His pure body was prepared as was met and was placed in the sepulchre. His departure was two years before that of St.John Chrysostom (of the Golden Mouth). May his prayers be with us all, and Glory be to God forever. Amen.