File(s) not publicly available

E00612: The Greek Life of *Pachomios (Egyptian monastic founder, ob. 346, S00352), of uncertain date, contains an account of an investigation in the church of Latopolis (Upper Egypt) into Pachomios’ powers of clairvoyance.

online resource
posted on 2015-06-19, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Greek Life of Pachomios

For a description of the complete Greek Life, see E00611.

Halkin, Sancti Pachomii Vitae Graecae, Chap. 112:

Περὶ τοῦ διορατικὸν εἶναι Παχώμιον.
Τῆς φήμης τοῦ μεγάλου Παχωμίου μακρὰν ἐκταθείσης καὶ πανταχοῦ διαδοθείσης, καὶ πολλῶν λαλούντων περὶ αὐτοῦ, τινῶν μὲν τὰ ἴσα, τινῶν δὲ καὶ ὑπὲρ τὸ μέτρον, ὃ φιλεῖ συμβαίνειν ἐν τοῖς τοιούτοις, ἐγένετό ποτε περὶ τὴν Λατῶν ἐκκλησίαν ἀμφιλογία περὶ τοῦ διορατικὸν αὐτὸν λέγειν. Κληθεὶς οὖν καὶ αὐτὸς παρόντων ἐπισκόπων καὶ μοναχῶν ὥστε τὸν περὶ τούτου λόγον γυμνάσαι, ἦλθεν ἐκεῖ μετά τινων ἀρχαίων ἀδελφῶν. Καὶ βλέπων αὐτοὺς περὶ αὐτοῦ φιλονεικοῦντας ἐσιώπησεν. Ἐρωτηθεὶς δὲ λοιπὸν ὑπὸ τῶν ἐπισκόπων Φίλωνος καὶ Θμόει τοῦ ἀπολογήσασθαι λέγει αὐτοῖς· «Οὐ σὺν ἐμοὶ ἦτε ἐν τῷ μοναστηρίῳ ποτὲ μοναχοὶ πρὸ τῆς ἐπισκοπῆς ὑμῶν; Οὐκ οἴδατέ με τῇ χάριτι τοῦ θεοῦ ἀγαπῶντα τὸν θεὸν ὡς ὑμεῖς καὶ φροντίζοντα τῶν ἀδελφῶν; Καὶ ὅτε Μωσῆς ὁ τοῦ λεγομένου Μαγδώλου ἐδαιμονίσθη καὶ ἁρπαζόμενος ὑπὸ δαιμόνων εἰς τὰ κατά- γαια ἐκινδύνευε θανατωθῆναι, οὐκ ἔγνωτε πῶς δι’ ἐμοῦ ἡ χάρις τοῦ θεοῦ ἐβοήθησεν αὐτῷ; ἵνα μὴ λέγω καὶ ἄλλα ὧν ὑμεῖς μάρτυρες.» Ἀπεκρίθησαν αὐτῷ ὅτι «Ὁμολογοῦμέν σε ἄνθρωπον τοῦ θεοῦ εἶναι καὶ γινώσκομέν σε ὅτι ἔβλεπες τοὺς δαίμονας πολεμῶν αὐτοὺς ἀποστῆσαι τῶν ψυχῶν. Ἀλλὰ περὶ τοῦ διορατικοῦ ἀπολόγησαι, ἐπειδὴ μέγα ἐστί· καὶ πείσομεν τοὺς γογγύζοντας.» Καὶ ἀπεκρίθη· «Οὐκ ἠκούσατέ μου λέγοντος πολλάκις ὅτι ἤμην παιδίον μὴ εἰδὸς τί ἐστι θεός, Καὶ ἀπεκρίθη· «Οὐκ ἠκούσατέ μου λέγοντος πολλάκις ὅτι ἤμην παιδίον μὴ εἰδὸς τί ἐστι θεός, ἐξ ἑλλήνων γονέων; Τίς οὖν ἐχαρίσατό μοι τὸ συνιδεῖν τὸ δέον καὶ χριστιανὸν γενέσθαι; Οὐκ αὐτὸς ὁ φιλάνθρωπος θεός; Καὶ μετὰ τοῦτο πολλῶν ὄντων καὶ κατ’ ἰδίαν ἀσκουμένων, μόλις ἂν εὑρέθησαν δύο ἢ πέντε ἢ δέκα τὸ πολὺ μετὰ πολλοῦ κόπου καὶ φόβου θεοῦ κυβερνῶντες τὰς ἰδίας ψυχάς· ἡμεῖς δὲ τοσοῦτον πλῆθός ἐσμεν ἐν ἐννέα μοναῖς νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν σπουδάζοντες τηρῆσαι τὰς ἑαυτῶν ψυχὰς ἀμέμπτους διὰ τοῦ ἐλέους κυρίου, ὡς καὶ ὑμεῖς ὡμολογήσατε γινώσκειν ἡμᾶς τὰ περὶ τῶν ἀκαθάρτων πνευμάτων. Ἐχαρίσατο ἡμῖν ὁ κύριος καὶ τοῦτο ἐπιγινώσκειν, ὅτε βούλεται, τίς αὐτῶν ὁ πορευόμενος καλῶς καὶ τίς ὁ ἐν ὑποκρίσει ὢν μοναχός. Ἄφες τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ θεοῦ· φρόνιμοι ἄνθρωποι κατὰ κόσμον καὶ νοήμονες, εἴ γε ποιήσουσιν ὀλίγας ἡμέρας ἐν μέσῳ ἀνθρώπων, οὐκ ἐπι- γινώσκουσιν αὐτῶν τὴν διάθεσιν, διακρίνοντες ἕκαστα τῶν περὶ αὐτούς; Αὐτὸς δὲ ὁ τὸ ἴδιον αἷμα δι’ ἡμᾶς ἐκχύσας, ἐὰν ἴδῃ τινὰ ἐξ ὅλης καρδίας τρέμοντα τὴν ἀπώλειαν τοῦ πλησίον, μάλιστα καὶ πολλῶν, οὐ χαρίσεται αὐτῷ γνῶσιν, πῶς σώσει αὐτοὺς ἀμέμπτως ἤτοι διακρίσει πνεύματος ἁγίου ἤτοι δι’ ὀπτασίας ὅτε βούλεται καὶ ὡς βούλεται; Μὴ γὰρ ὅτε βούλομαι βλέπω τὰ τῆς σωτηρίας τῶν ἀδελφῶν, ἀλλ’ ὅτε ὁ πᾶσαν κυβέρνησιν ἔχων θεὸς ἐμπιστεύει ἡμῖν. Ἄνθρωπος γὰρ καθ’ ἑαυτὸν ματαιότητι ὡμοιώθη· γενόμενος δὲ ὑπὸ θεοῦ γνησίως οὐκέτι μάταιος, ἀλλὰ ναὸς θεοῦ, καθὼς λέγει· “Ἐνοικήσω ἐν αὐτοῖς καὶ ἐμπεριπατήσω”· οὐκ ἐν πᾶσιν, ἀλλ’ ἐν μόνοις τοῖς ἁγίοις, οὐ μόνον ἐν ὑμῖν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐν Παχωμίῳ, εἴ γε ποιήσει τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ.» Καὶ ταῦτα ἀκούσαντες ὑπερεθαύμασαν τήν τε παρρησίαν καὶ τὴν ταπεινοφροσύνην τοῦ ἀνδρός. Ἠθέλησαν δέ τινες τῶν τοῖς λόγοις μὴ πεισθέντων ἀποκτεῖναι αὐτόν· ἦλθε γάρ τις ἐνεργούμενος ὑπὸ τοῦ ἐχθροῦ, μάχαιραν ἔχων ὥστε σφάξαι αὐτόν· ἀλλὰ θορύβου γενομένου κατὰ τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, ὡς τινῶν μὲν οὕτως λαλούντων, ἄλλων δὲ ἄλλως, ἔσωσεν αὐτὸν ὁ κύριος διὰ τῶν συνόντων ἀδελφῶν. Καὶ διασωθεὶς ἦλθεν εἰς τὴν ἐσχάτην αὐτοῦ μονὴν λεγομένην Παχνούμ, οὖσαν ἐν τῇ ἐνορίᾳ τῆς αὐτῆς πόλεως.

'Concerning Pachomios’ being clairvoyant:
As Pachomios' fame spread far away and people talked about him, some would say balanced things, others would exaggerate. And once there arose a debate about his being called clairvoyant (dioratikos). He himself was summoned to answer this in the church of Latopolis in the presence of monks and bishops. He came there with some ancient brothers, and seeing those who were contending against him, he kept silent. When he was asked by bishops Philo and Mouei to answer the charge, he said to them, "Were you not once monks with me in the monastery before you became bishops? Do you not know that by the grace of God I, just like you, love Him and care for the brothers? When Moses of Magdolon, as he was called, was possessed and being snatched away by the demons into the caverns to be put to death, did you not know how the grace of God through me helped him – to say nothing of the rest?"

They answered him, "We confess that you are a man of God and we know that you saw the demons, making war against them to ward them off souls. But since clairvoyance is a great thing, give some answer again about that, and we will persuade the murmurers."

Then he told them, "Have you not heard me frequently say that I was a child of pagan parents, not knowing what God is? Who then gave me the grace to become a Christian? Was it not the man-loving God himself? And after this, as there were few monks, one could scarcely find groups of two or five, or ten at the most, living on their own and governing each other in the fear of God with much toil. Now we are this great multitude – nine monasteries – striving night and day by God's mercy to keep our souls blameless. As you yourselves confess that we have knowledge concerning unclean spirits, so too the Lord has given us to recognise, when he wills, which of them is walking aright and which has only the appearances of a monk. But let the gift of God alone! When those who are wise and sensible according to the world spend a few days in the midst of men, do they not distinguish and recognise each one's disposition? And if the One who shed his own blood for us, the wisdom of the Father, sees someone trembling with all his heart for the loss of his neighbour – especially of many – will he not give him the means to save them blamelessly, either by the discernment of the Holy Spirit, or by an apparition when the Lord wills? For I do not see the realities of our salvation when I wish, but when He who governs everything shows us his confidence. For man in himself is likened to vanity. But when he truly submits to God he is no longer vain but is a temple of God, as God himself says, I will dwell in them. He does not say in all, but only in the saints; in you and in all and also in Pachomios, if he does His will."

When they heard these things, they marvelled at the confidence and the humility of the man. When he stopped speaking, a man possessed by the enemy came with a sword to slay him. But the Lord saved him through the brothers who were with him, while a tumult arose in the church. As some spoke this way and some that, the brothers made their escape and they came to their last monastery, called Phnoum, which is in the district of that same city of Latopolis.'

Translation: A. Veilleux, Pachomian Koinonia, pp. 375–376.

History

Evidence ID

E00612

Saint Name

Pachomius, Egyptian monastic founder, ob. 346. : S00352

Saint Name in Source

Παχούμιος

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Lives of saint

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

340

Evidence not after

1199

Activity not before

340

Activity not after

1199

Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica Egypt and Cyrenaica

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Tabennese Latopolis

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Tabennese Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis Latopolis Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Major author/Major anonymous work

Life of Pachomios

Cult activities - Rejection, Condemnation, Scepticism

Uncertainty/scepticism/rejection of a saint

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits Ecclesiastics - bishops Other lay individuals/ people Crowds

Source

The manuscript in which this Greek Life of Pachomios survives dates from the year 1021. The Greek Life is very similar to the Life of Pachomios written in Bohairic Coptic ($E00610), though the two versions are not dependent on each other. They appear to be two separate witnesses to a common prototype.

Discussion

The Greek Life includes the description of a synod held at Latopolis in 345 (for the date see Rousseau 1999, 73), at which Pachomios is interrogated by two bishops in front of a gathering of bishops and monks. Rumour has arisen that he is clairvoyant, and so he is asked to comment on it and to explain himself at the church of Latopolis. He does so to the general satisfaction of the assembled company, though not to that of all the bystanders, one of whom tries to slay him with a sword. Pachomios argues that he is merely the recipient of God’s grace and that this gift is bestowed upon him solely for the benefit of others. God dwells in the saints, but also in those who do his will, one of them being Pachomios. Since this interesting story does not survive in any of the known Coptic manuscripts of the Life of Pachomios, there is no conclusive evidence to show that the account of the ‘trial’ at Latopolis is early. However, all the known Coptic manuscripts are fragmentary and the circumstantial details in the story are plausible. One argument in favour of its antiquity is the fact that it records serious discussion over the validity of Pachomios’ powers, a story that one might expect to have been erased in later times, rather than to be a late addition to his Life. If it is an early and essentially reliable account, it is a very interesting case of a living saint’s powers, and hence sanctity, being ‘officially’ investigated.

Bibliography

Edition: Halkin, F., Sancti Pachomii Vitae Graecae (Subsidia hagiographica 19; Brussels, 1932). Further reading: Rousseau, P., Pachomius: The Making of a Communitiy in Fourth-Century Egypt (Berkeley, 1999). Veilleux, A., Pachomian Koinonia I: The Life of Saint Pachomius and His Disciples (Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1980). Veilleux, A., “Pachomius, Saint”, in: A. S. Atiya (ed.), The Coptic Encyclopedia, vol. 6 (New York et al., 1991), 1859–1864. Wees, J.K., "Room with a limited view: Coptic Clairvoyance in Hellenistic Egypt," Laval théologique et philosophique 61 (2005), 261–272.

Usage metrics

Licence

Exports