The saint who disregarded the flesh and cared for the soul

St. Patapius of Thebes, a source of healing

St Patapius of Thebes

Saint Patapius of Thebes lived in the eighth century and came from a wealthy family. His parents were devout believers in Christ. Patapius showed an early interest in the study of Christian teachings, was sent to a catechetical school. His spiritual teacher, a blind man, aroused in him an interest in an ascetic life. As a young adult, he left his parental home, cut off his past friendships, renounced his inheritance, and retired to the desert to live in piety and solitary prayer.

Years later, word of his ascetic deeds spread, and people began to flock to him for advice. Increasingly, being a spiritual teacher of others interfered with his ascetic rule. Searching for solitude, he moved to a cave in Crete. When his followers found him there, he retreated to a highly unusual place for a solitary monk – Constantinople.

There, he found refuge in the environs of the known Blachernae church, which the Mother of God visited to give her protection to the people of the city. Ironically, the bustle of Constantinople hid him from others' attention more reliably than the solitary caves and deserts did before. He found refuge in a cell that he had dug in the city wall. He entered it secretly through a concealed door. Disguised as a simple monk, he performed healings. He healed a blind man by calling out the name of Christ and cured a man with dropsy by anointing him with sacred oil.

He lived to old age and reposed in peace at an old age. His relics lay undiscovered at a monastery in Corinth until the early 20th century. They were found by accident. A tall priest needed adjustments to the height of the chapel ceiling to move about comfortably. St. Patapius appeared to him in a dream warning him not to disturb his relics and showing him the place where they lay. When the builders took apart a section of the wall, they found the relics uncorrupted, wrapped in fresh leaves, as if they had just been picked.

December 21, 2021
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