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"My Lord and God Jesus Christ, make me worthy
of walking along the path of the Saints."
H.H. Pope Kyrillos VI


ANBA STRATIOS

ST. Stratios The Anchorite

During the reign of one of the Orthodox kings who ruled Rome, there was a prince from Rome who was in command of one hundred soldiers. Filled with God’s grace he said to the king; "I want to leave this transitory world and go to the wilderness to become a monk there." He sailed to Alexandria and after that he traveled on land to Tor Sina .

That was 200 years after the departure of both St. John Clamacus, who wrote The Ladder of Divine Ascent and was the father of all the Sinai monks and St. Anastas the Sinai the Abbot. Both were righteous and advanced in virtue. At that time there were 250 monks in the monastery. St. Stratios behaved in the monastery with great devoutness and with a flaming fervor for Jesus Christ that he deserved to wear the monastic garb (Eskeem).

After spending many years in the monastery during which he served the monks with extreme love, he begged his Godfather to let him go into the wilderness. His father agreed thinking he was going to live in a cave near by, and not too far from the monastery……..

He took his scarf and his walking stick and walked praising God and saying: "I lift my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth….." psalm 121 Until he reached a cave far in the wilderness, and there he continued striving in devotion and struggling aggressively in his spiritual life and in his love for the Lord Jesus Christ. He ate from the grass growing on the rocks and drank from a spring which was close to this grass in the wilderness. He overlapped the days fasting and would only eat a handful of grass and little water.

His prayer was beyond computation because he imitated the spiritual people in their continuous praising and nonstop prayer…. And he continued that way for about twelve years. He knew that he was going to depart from this passing transitory world to join the saints in the forthcoming world after forty days. When he felt that his time was close he made the sign of the holy cross, of the glorious Lord Jesus Christ, on the wind and he was carried off instantly and brought inside the monastery.

There he met the abbot of the monastery and he became an old man…and when he asked him, "Who are you?" He answered, "I am your son Stratios who lived in the monastery twelve years ago, and I have come now because my departure from this world is near. After forty days I will go to the new world, where there is the comfortable eternity. So I want to spend these few days with the monastery fathers and the saints’ prayers, so that I may have there blessings before I depart." The abbot was so glad to see him that he hugged him and had the bells chime. The fathers came and they too were glad to see the anchorite saint…Then they gave him a separate cell into which he entered and closed the door. Then he left without anyone noticing, and went to the graves of John Clamacus and St. Anastas. He knelt down asking for the assistance of these saints prayers who preceded him two hundred years.

While he was praying and asking them insistently, the Lords’ angel appeared to him and called "Stratios. St. John and St. Anastas came here by spirit to bless you, oh you blessed and happy saint, before your departure from this world…. Right away he saw them and received there blessings, and they told him "We will be there when your soul departs from your body, and we will pray upon you in your cell that the fathers gave you inside the monastery.." They gave him peace and left. After that he went back to his cell.

He didn’t tell anyone about this except his disciple to whom he said, "My son after thirty seven days are completed open the door to my cell because I will be departed on that day from this transitory world, and don’t linger on counting these days so you can bury my body."

When the days passed and the time came, they knocked on the door, no one answered. Finally they broke the cell’s door and found him lying down and his face was covered with a scarf that was made of rough wool.

They were amazed to find next to him a censer with coal in it. Incense, which had a very good scent, was coming up from it and this was a sign that the anchorite fathers had come and prayed upon him. Then the fathers prayed very short prayers upon him and buried him, with great respect, with the saints fathers. An unexplainable herbal scent came from his body, and spread all around, it was indescribable. He became a blessing to many.

Unto the Lord is due all glory and honor and veneration from now and onto the ages of all ages………

AMEN


LINKS TO ANCHORITES

ANBA MOUSA: THE ANCHORITE
ANBA TOMAS: THE ANCHORITE
ANBA KARRAS: THE ANCHORITE
ANBA POULA: THE FIRST ANCHORITE
ST. ANASIMON: THE ANCHORITE QUEEN
ANBA ONNOPHRIOS: THE ANCHORITE
ANBA MISAEL: THE ANCHORITE

anchorite@copticmail.com



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This story was translated from arabic by Nashed Nashed

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