from THE FIRST GREEK  LIFE
of
PACHOMIUS:

His Conversion
 

 Holy Hermits,
 Van Eyck, Ghent Altar


Greek: F. Halkin, Le corpus athénien de saint Pachome [Cahiers d'Orientalisme 2. Genève: Cramer, 1982]: 1172. Vita Pachomii (e codice Atheniensi 1015 collato Ambrosiano D 69 Sup.) TLG- 4373.002 THE FIRST GREEK LIFE (G1)[ 187.] The English is adapted from an older edition published in 1932.


THE life, deeds, and wondrous conduct of our holy and wonder-working father Pachomius [...]

[p.407] Βίος καὶ πολιτεία καὶ θαυμάτων διήγησις τοῦ ὁσίου πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ θαυματουργοῦ Παχωμίου

An introduction describes the founding of monasteries during the early fourth century

 
2. THE life of our most ascetic and truly virtuous father Antony was like that of the great Elijah, of Elisha, and of John the Baptist, as the most holy archbishop Athanasius witnesses,  writing about [Antony] after his death, and portraying at the same time the conduct of our holy father Amoun, chief of monastic brothers on the mountain of Nitria, and of Theodore, his companion. [...] (2.)   Τοῦ γὰρ ἀσκητικωτάτου καὶ ἀληθῶς ἐναρέτου πατρὸς ἡμῶν ᾿Αντωνίου τοιοῦτος ἦν ὁ βίος ὡς ὁ τοῦ μεγάλου ῾Ηλιοὺ καὶ ᾿Ελισσαίου καὶ ᾿Ιωάννου τοῦ Βαπτιστοῦ, καθὰ καὶ ἐγγράφως μαρτυρεῖ περὶ αὐτοῦ μετὰ τὴν τελευτὴν αὐτοῦ ὁ ἁγιώτατος ἐπίσκοπος ᾿Αθανάσιος, ὁμοῦ δηλώσας καὶ τὴν διαγωγὴν τοῦ ἁγίου πατρὸς ἡμῶν ᾿Αμοῦν, ὃς ἀρχὴ τῶν ἐν τῷ ὄρει τῆς Νιτρίας μοναζόντων ἀδελφῶν ἐγένετο· σὺν αὐτῷ δὲ καὶ Θεόδωρος.

 

 

[...] In Egypt and the Thebaid there had not been many of them. But after the persecution of Diocletian and Maximian, the conversion of pagans increased throughout the Church the bishops leading them to God according to the Apostles’ teaching and began to bear much fruit. ᾿Εν δὲ τῇ Αἰγύπτῳ καὶ Θηβαΐδι μήπω γεναμένων πολλῶν, μετὰ τὸν διωγμὸν Διοκλητιανοῦ καὶ Μαξιμιανοῦ ἡ μετάνοια τῶν ἐθνῶν πληθυνομένη ἐν τῇ ᾿Αλεξανδρείᾳ (10) σφόδρα ἐκαρποφόρει κατὰ τὴν τῶν ἀποστόλων διδαχήν, τῶν ἐπισκόπων αὐτοὺς ὁδηγούντων πρὸς τὸν θεόν.
AND there was a man called Pachomius, who was also born of pagan parents in the Thebaid.3  Καί τις ὀνόματι Παχώμιος, ἑλλήνων γονέων ὑπάρχων ἐν Θηβαΐδι,

He received the great mercy of becoming a Christian

and, making progress,

he became a perfect monk.

ἐλέους σφόδρα τυχὼν ἐγένετο χριστιανός·

καὶ προκόψας

ἐγένετο τέλειος μοναχός.

We ought to recount his life from childhood, to the glory of God who from all sides calls all into his wonderful light. ᾿Αναγκαῖον οὖν καὶ τούτου τὸν βίον κατὰ μέρος διηγήσασθαι εἰς δόξαν θεοῦ τοῦ πάντας πανταχόθεν καλοῦντος ἐκ σκότους εἰς τὸ θαυμαστὸν αὐτοῦ φῶς. (15)

 

 

 3. Concerning his Childhood

(3.)  Περὶ τῶν παιδικῶν. (t)

   

AS a child he went one day with his parents to an idol’s temple to sacrifice to the phantoms of demons in the river.’ When the priest in charge of the sacrifice saw him, he had him chased out of the place, shouting angrily, `Chase the enemy of the gods out of here.’ On hearing this, his parents became very grieved about him, that he should be an enemy of the so-called gods who are not gods at all, all the more so because on yet another occasion they had given him wine to drink from the libations there, and immediately the child had vomited what he had drunk.

   ᾿Εγένετό ποτε συμπαραγενέσθαι τοῖς γονεῦσι τὸν Παχώμιον ἔτι παῖδα ὄντα εἰς εἰδωλεῖον καὶ τοῖς (1) ἐν τῷ ποταμῷ φαντάσμασι δαιμονίων θυμιᾶν. Καὶ τοῦτο ἰδὼν ὁ ἐπὶ τῆς θυσίας ἱερεὺς ἐποίησε τοῦ τόπου διωχθῆναι αὐτὸν ἐν μανίᾳ κράζων οὕτως· «Τὸν ἐχθρὸν τῶν θεῶν ἐντεῦθεν ἀποδιώξατε.» Καὶ ἀκούσαντες οἱ γονεῖς αὐτοῦ ὡς ἐχθροῦ ὄντος τῶν λεγομένων καὶ μὴ ὄντων θεῶν, μᾶλλον ὅτι καὶ ἄλλοτέ ποτε τοῦ οἴνου τῆς ἐκεῖσε σπονδῆς ἐπότισαν αὐτὸν καὶ εὐθέως ἐξήμεσεν ὅπερ ἔπιεν ὁ παῖς. 

After he became a monk, as he was telling the monks around him about his childhood, he told them about this. ‘Do not think,’ he said, ‘that the demons, who know nothing good, had me driven out on that occasion because they knew beforehand that I was later going to receive mercy through the true faith. Rather, they saw I hated evil even then for God made man upright and it was for this reason that they thought to themselves, “Will he not really be a fearer of God later on?”, and so their servants chased me out.’

(5) Καὶ μετὰ τὸ γενέσθαι αὐτὸν μονάζοντα ἐξηγούμενος περὶ τῶν παιδικῶν αὐτοῦ ἐδήλωσε καὶ τούτου τὴν γνῶσιν τοῖς περὶ αὐτὸν μοναχοῖς λέγων· «Μὴ νομίσητε ὅτι ἐκ προγνώσεως ἐποίησάν με διωχθῆναι οἱ μηδὲν ἀγαθὸν γινώσκοντες δαίμονες ὡς μέλλοντα μετὰ ταῦτα ἐλεηθῆναι τῇ πίστει τῆς ἀληθείας· ἀλλὰ τοῦτο προεῖπον ὁρῶντές με καὶ τότε τὰ κακὰ μισοῦντα—ὁ γὰρ θεὸς τὸν ἄνθρωπον ἐποίησεν εὐθῆ—· διὰ τοῦτο στοχασάμενοι μήπως ἄρα θεοσεβὴς ἔσομαι μετὰ τοῦτο, τῇ ἐνεργείᾳ (10) ἐδίωξάν με διὰ τοῦ ὑπηρέτου αὐτῶν.»

   

Pachomius is converted by the example of Christian compassion

 
   
 4. AFTER the persecution, the great Constantine, the first-fruit of the Christian emperors of the Romans, ruled.   Τότε δὲ μετὰ τὸν διωγμὸν ἐβασίλευσεν ὁ ἐν ἁγίοις βασιλεὺς Κωνσταντῖνος ἀπαρχὴ γενόμενος (1) τῶν χριστιανῶν βασιλέων ῾Ρωμαίων.
Making war against some tyrant, he ordered his officials in Alexandria to  impress many conscripts. Καὶ πρός τινα τύραννον ἀντιτασσόμενος ἐκέλευσε τοῖς ἐν ᾿Αλεξανδρείᾳ κρατοῦσι πολλοὺς τήρωνας συναγαγεῖν.

 Pachomius himself, who was then about twenty years old, was impressed. As the conscripts were sailing downstream, the soldiers who were keeping them put in at the city of Thebes and held them in prison there to make sure they did not run away.

  Μετὰ τούτων οὖν καὶ αὐτὸς συνειλέχθη Παχώμιος, περίπου τὰ εἴκοσι τελῶν ἔτη. Καὶ καταπλεόντων τῶν τηρώνων, οἱ κρατοῦντες αὐτοὺς στρατιῶται προσορμισθέντες ἐν πόλει τῶν Θηβῶν ἐκεῖ ἐνέκλεισαν αὐτοὺς δι’ ὑποψίαν (5) φυγῆς.

In the evening some merciful Christians, hearing about them, brought them something to eat and drink and other necessities, because they were in distress. ᾿Ακούσαντες οὖν τινες τῶν χριστιανῶν ἐλεήμονες ἤνεγκαν αὐτοῖς ἑσπέρας φαγεῖν καὶ πιεῖν καὶ ἄλλας τινὰς χρείας, καθότι ἦσαν ἐν θλίψει.
   
WHEN the young man asked about this, he was told that they were Christians ῾Ο δὲ νεανίας ἐρωτῶν περὶ τούτου ἤκουσε χριστιανοὺς αὐτοὺς εἶναι,

- [namely] those who are merciful to all.

τοὺς καὶ πρὸς πάντας ἐλεήμονας.
   
Again he asked what a Christian was. They told him, ᾿Ερωτᾷ οὖν αὖθις τί ἂν εἴη χριστιανός. Καὶ λέγουσιν αὐτῷ·

[1] ‘They are persons who bear the name of Christ, the only begotten Son of God,

«῎Ανθρωποί εἰσι τὸ τοῦ Χριστοῦ ὄνομα φέροντες τοῦ μονογενοῦς υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ·

[2 and they do all good [things] to everyone,

καὶ πᾶν ἀγαθὸν
πᾶσι ποιοῦντες

[3] putting their hope in Him who made heaven and earth and of us human beings.’

ἐλπίζουσιν ἐπ’ αὐτὸν τὸν ποιήσαντα τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν καὶ ἡμᾶς (10) τοὺς ἀνθρώπους.»  
   

 5. HEARING of this great grace, his heart was set on fire with the fear of God and with joy. Withdrawing alone in the prison, he raised his hands to heaven in prayer and said,

 (5.)   Μετὰ τὸ ἀκοῦσαι οὖν τὴν τηλικαύτην χάριν ἐπυρώθη ἡ καρδία αὐτοῦ φόβῳ θεοῦ καὶ χαρᾷ· καὶ κατ’ ἰδίαν ἐν τῇ φυλακῇ ἀναχωρήσας ἐξέτεινε τὰς χεῖρας αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν εὔχεσθαι· καὶ εἶπεν·

‘O God, maker of heaven and earth, if you will look upon me in my lowliness,because I do not know you, the only true God, and if you will deliver me from this affliction[:]

«῾Ο θεός, ὁ ποιήσας τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν, ἐὰν ἐπιβλέπων ἐπιβλέψῃς ἐπὶ τὴν πτωχείαν μου καθ’ ἣν ἀγνοῶ σε τὸν μόνον ἀληθινὸν θεόν, καὶ ἀπὸ ταύτης τῆς θλίψεως ἀπολύσῃς με,

[1] I will serve your will all the days of my life and,

λατρεύσω τῷ θελήματί σου πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας τῆς ζωῆς μου καὶ

[2] loving all persons,
I will be their servant
according to your command.’

πντας ἀνθρώπους ἀγαπῶν
δουλεύ
σω αὐτοῖς
 (5) κατὰ τὴν ἐντολήν σου.»
   

AFTER saying this prayer he set sail with them. Although he was often importuned in the cities by his companions to worldly pleasures and other disorderly affairs, he avoided them, remembering the grace of God which had come to him. For he had loved chastity even from his childhood.

 Καὶ ταῦτα εὐξάμενος ἔπλευσε μετὰ τῶν λοιπῶν. ᾿Οχλούμενος δὲ πολλάκις ἐν πόλεσιν ὑπὸ τῶν συνόντων αὐτῷ κοσμικῶν ἡδονῶν ἕνεκεν καὶ ἄλλων ἀταξιῶν, τούτους ἀπεστρέφετο τῇ μνήμῃ τῆς πρὸς αὐτὸν γενομένης χάριτος θεοῦ· ἐφίλει γὰρ τὴν ἁγνείαν σφόδρα καὶ ἐκ παιδός.

 Constantine defeated his adversaries and the conscripts were then discharged by an imperial edict. Pachomius went to the Upper Thebaid, and came to the church of a village called Chenoboskion. There he was instructed and baptized.

Μετὰ δέ τινας ἡμέρας, κελεύσεως βασιλικῆς γενομένης—ἐνίκησε γὰρ τοὺς ὑπεναντίους Κωσταντῖνος—, ἀπελύθησαν οἱ τήρωνες Τηνικαῦτα οὖν ὁ Παχώμιος ὁρμήσας εἰς τὴν ἄνω (10) Θηβαΐδα ἦλθεν εἰς ἐκκλησίαν κώμης λεγομένης Χηνοβόσκια καὶ κατηχηθεὶς ἐβαπτίσθη

   

 Concerning his Dream

Περὶ τοῦ ἐνυπνίου. (13t)

   

THE night he was made worthy of the mystery, he had a dream. He saw the dew of heaven descend upon him. When the dew had collected in his right hand and turned into solid honey and the honey had dropped onto the ground, he heard someone say to him, ‘Understand what is happening, for it will happen to you later.’

   Τῇ δὲ νυκτὶ ᾗ κατηξιώθη τοῦ μυστηρίου ἐνύπνιον εἶδεν· ἔβλεπε γὰρ ἑαυτὸν καταδροσιζόμενον (14) οὐρανόθεν· καὶ τῆς δρόσου συναχθείσης ἐπὶ τὴν δεξιὰν αὐτοῦ χεῖρα καὶ γενομένης ὡς στερεὸν (15) μέλι καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς πεσόντος τοῦ μέλιτος, ἤκουσέ τινος λέγοντος αὐτῷ· «Τὸ γενόμενον σύνες· ἔσται γάρ σοι μετὰ ταῦτα.»

   

6.  Concerning the monk Palamon

(6.)  Περὶ τοῦ μοναχοῦ Παλάμωνος. (t)

   
THEN, moved by the love of God, he sought to become a monk.’ When he was told of an anchorite called Palamon, he went to him to share his anchoritic life.   Καὶ λοιπὸν κινούμενος τῇ εἰς θεὸν ἀγάπῃ ἐζήτησε μοναχὸς γενέσθαι. Καὶ δηλωθέντος αὐτῷ (1) ἀναχωρητοῦ τινος Παλάμωνος ὀνομαζομένου, παρεγένετο πρὸς αὐτόν, ἀναχωρεῖν σὺν αὐτῷ θέλων.

 When he arrived, he knocked on the door. The old man looked down from above and said, ‘What do you want?’ for he was abrupt in speech. He replied, ‘I ask you, father, make me a monk.’ He said to him, ‘You cannot. This work of God is not so simple; for many have come but have not persevered.’

  Φθάσας οὖν ἔκρουσε τὴν θύραν. Καὶ παρακύψας ἄνωθεν ὁ γέρων ἔλεγε· «Τί θέλεις;» ῏Ην γὰρ ἀπότομος τῷ λόγῳ. Καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Παχώμιος εἶπεν αὐτῷ· «᾿Ερωτῶ σε, πάτερ, ποίησόν με μοναχόν.» Λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ γέρων· «Οὐ δύνασαι. Οὐ γὰρ ἁπλῶς ἐστι τὸ ἔργον τοῦτο, καθότι (5) πολλοὶ ἦλθον καὶ οὐχ ὑπέμειναν.»

Pachomius said, ‘Put me to the test at it and see’. Λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Παχώμιος· «Πείρασόν με ἐν τούτῳ καὶ ἴδε.»
   

The spiritual training (ascesis) of the hermit Palamon

 
   
The old man spoke again, ‘First try yourself out for a while, then come here again. For I have a hard ascesis. Πάλιν ὁ γέρων εἶπεν· «Πρῶτον σεαυτὸν δοκίμασον πρὸς καιρὸν καὶ οὕτως ἧκε. ᾿Εγὼ γὰρ σκληρὰν ἄσκησιν ἔχω.

Corporal training (ascesis)

 

[1] In summer I fast daily and in winter I eat every other day.

Τῷ μὲν θέρει νηστεύω καθ’ ἡμέραν, τῷ δὲ χειμῶνι διὰ δύο τρέφομαι

[2] By the grace of Christ I eat nothing but bread and salt.

καὶ οὐδὲν ἐσθίω χάριτι Χριστοῦ εἰ μὴ ἄρτον καὶ ἅλας·

[3] I have no custom of [using] oil and wine.

ἐλαίου δὲ καὶ οἴνου συνήθειαν οὐκ ἔχω.

Spiritual training (ascesis)

 
I keep vigil as I was taught, always spending half the night  Καὶ ἀγρυπνῶ, ὡς ἐδιδάχθην, ἀεὶ μὲν τὸ ἥμισυ τῆς νυκτὸς

[1] in prayer

εἰς εὐχὴν

[2] and reciting [meditating] the words of God.’

καὶ μελέτην λόγων θεοῦ,
and often I spend the whole night thus πολλάκις δὲ καὶ ὅλην τὴν (10) νύκτα.»
   
When the youth heard the old man say this, he was still more strengthened in spirit to endure every hardship with him. ‘I believe,’ he said to him, ‘that with the help of God and your prayers,  I will endure all you have told me.’ Then opening the door, [the old man] let him in and clothed him in the monk’s habit. They practised the ascesis together and gave time to prayers. ᾿Ακούσας οὖν ταῦτα τοῦ γέροντος ὁ νεανίας ἔτι μᾶλλον ἐνεδυναμώθη τῷ πνεύματι πρὸς τὸ πάντα πόνον σὺν αὐτῷ ὑπομένειν· καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν· «Πιστεύω τῇ τοῦ θεοῦ βοηθείᾳ κατὰ τὰς εὐχάς σου ὅτι ὑπομένω πάντα ὅσα εἴρηκάς μοι.» Τότε ἀνοίξας ὁ γέρων τὴν θύραν εἰσήνεγκεν αὐτὸν καὶ ἐνέδυσεν αὐτὸν τὸ σχῆμα τῶν μοναχῶν. Καὶ ἦσαν ἀμφότεροι ἀσκούμενοι καὶ σχολάζοντες εἰς προσευχάς.  (15)
   

Concerning the Lifestyle of Palamon and Pachomius

Περὶ τῆς διαγωγῆς Παλάμωνος καὶ Παχωμίου. (16t)

   
THEIR work consisted of spinning and weaving hair sacks. In their work they toiled not for themselves but they remembered the poor, as the Apostle says. If when the old man was keeping vigil, he saw that sleep was weighing them down, they both went out to the sand [field] of the mountain. Then they carried [sand] in baskets from one place to another, giving the body labor in order to stay awake for prayer. The old man would say, ‘Stay awake, Pachomius, lest Satan tempt and harm you.’ Seeing his obedience in everything and his progress in endurance, the old man rejoiced at his salvation. Τὸ δὲ ἔργον ἦν αὐτοῖς τὸ νήθειν καὶ ὑφαίνειν σάκκους τριχίνους· ἐργαζόμενοι δὲ ἔκαμνον οὐχ (17) ἕνεκεν ἀπολαύσεως αὐτῶν, ἀλλὰ τῶν πτωχῶν μνημονεύοντες κατὰ τὸν ἀπόστολον. ᾿Αγρυπνῶν δὲ ὁ γέρων, εἴποτε εἶδεν ὅτι ὁ ὕπνος ἐβάρει αὐτούς, ἐξήρχετο μετὰ Παχωμίου εἰς τὴν ἔρημον τοῦ ὄρους· καὶ οὕτως ἀμφότεροι τοῖς σπυριδίοις μετέφερον τὴν ἄμμον ἀπὸ τόπου εἰς τόπον καταπονοῦντες τὸ (20) σῶμα εἰς νῆψιν εὐχῶν, λέγοντος τοῦ γέροντος· «Νῆφε, Παχώμιε, μὴ πειράσῃ σε ὁ σατανᾶς καὶ βλαβῇς.» Βλέπων δὲ τὴν εἰς πάντα αὐτοῦ ὑπακοὴν ὁ γέρων καὶ τὴν προκοπὴν τῆς ὑπομονῆς ἠγαλλιᾶτο χάριν τῆς σωτηρίας αὐτοῦ.

 

xxxx» cont

 

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