Greetings on the day of St. Pachomius

posted May 28, 2010, 10:07 AM by fr.irenei@stjohnsacademysf.org
Today, 28th May 2010, is the feast day of St. Pachomius the Great of Egypt, one of the founding fathers of Orthodox monasticism. This great saint, who received his instructions in the monastic life from the hand of an angel in the late third century, has been an inspiration to countless millions throughout Christian history - not just monastics, who look to him as one of their great patrons, but all devout Orthodox who seek to live the life in Christ fully, completely, with their whole heart and mind.

One aspect of St. Pachomius' life is particularly relevant to the life of our school. He began his life not as a Christian, but as a Pagan soldier who, from the age of 20, was conscripted into the service of the imperial Roman army in Egypt. During his time as a soldier (in which, by the grace of God, he was spared ever having to fight in battle), Pachomius was imprisoned. By providence, the prison in which he found himself was looked after by Christians, who daily brought food and water to the inmates, cared for their needs, and tended to their well-being. So impressed and moved was the young soldier by the love and joyful spirit exemplified in these Christians, that he vowed to God from his cell that if he should ever be freed, he would dedicate his life to Him 'whom I do not yet know'. And so it came to pass: he was released from prison and the army, and became a Christian - exemplifying throughout the remainder of his life a deep devotion to God that expressed itself in love and service to others.

It was the joy of the Christian example, the love of the Christian people, that moved the heart of this young man to such zeal for the Holy Trinity. In his prison cell he knew no doctrine, had heard no homilies; but his Christian neighbours loved him and shared their spirit with him - a Spirit of joy that could not be overcome by war, by prison, by turmoil - and his heart was drawn up into a completely transforming life.

In this, St. Pachomius is truly an example and patron for our school community. In all we say and do, our hearts must burn with a love that we show towards others - first and foremost our students and school children, but truly all the world - so that 'their joy may be complete', and the Life in Christ become something craved, not drudged through.  

May our holy Father, St. Pachomius, never cease in his prayers on our behalf! And may he guide us ever into the joy and love of the life in Christ.

Hieromonk Irenei
Principal, St. John's
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