Patapius of Thebes
Our venerable and God-bearing father Patapius of Thebes was born in Thebes of Egypt and lived in the Kemetian desert sometime during the 3rd century. His holy relics have been found incorrupt and can be venerated to this present day. St. Patapius in the Syriac church is venerated as a patron saint of people who have dropsy. The Church celebrates his memory December 8.
Saint Patapius was born in 380 in the Egyptian city of Thebes. His father was a governor of the region and a descendant of a well known Egyptian family. He and his wife were devout Christians and instructed Patapios in Scripture. As Patapius reached a mature age, well-known tutors were brought from Alexandria to instruct him in science, mathematics, philosophy and rhetoric. Through this education, he became accutely aware of how transient this world is and was attracted to the ascetical way of life. He was particularly inspired by Clement, Origen and Athanasius. His father also took him to the renowned catechetical school in Alexandria where Patapios came under the influence of a blind teacher named Didemus . Didemus inspired him even further to desire the ascetical path he had chosen. When he finished his studies, he returned to Thebes to find out that his father had passed away. Desiring to live a life like the ascetics, he decided to leave for the Egyptian desert where he became well known for his ascetic deeds.
No longer able to find peace in the desert he set off for Constantinople in 428. During his voyage, he met his disciple Sechnuti, who was an Egyptian rower. [During this voyage, their ship passed near Corinth where they stayed for seven years]
By 435, after seven years in Corinth, Patapios left his skete in the Geranian mountaints to resume his journey to Constantinople taking with him the monk Sechnuti. In Constantinople, they secretly went to the Monastery of Blachernae, where he obtained a cell in the city wall. patapios kept his identity a secret and resumed a life of strict fasting, vigil and prayer under the guise of a simple monk.
Here he performed many miracles of healing. After a life adorned with virtue and miracles, he died at a great age of eighty-three (83) in 463 and was buried by his disciples in the church of St. John the Baptist in Constaninople.
Since the saint's repose, the Church has carefully preserved the stories of his life and his sacred relics. One thousand years after the repose of the saint, when the Turks captured Constantinople, his relics where removed and taken to the little cave-skete in Corinth (as he had requested during his lifetime). The saint's body was hidden behind a western wall in the cave facing the iconostasis and chapel they built.
In the early 20th-century a local priest discovered the relics of the saints hidden in the wall. He was an unnaturally tall priest who regularly served this small chapel and because of his height commissioned some changes to the chapel. The night before the works to the western wall were to commence, Fr. Constantine had a dream in which a monk warned him to "take care when you break the wall because I am on the other side. I am Saint Patapius of Egypt." He was found the next day holding a large wooden cross on his chest, a parchment scroll with his identity and large leaves covering his relics as fresh as they had been picked that very moment.
Since his relics have been discovered, many people have been visited by the saint in visions and dreams asking them to visit "his house in Loutraki". He is especially known for healing cancer and miracles occur world-wide throughout the world, including Australia and America.
Monastery of St. Patapios
- See Main Article: Monastery of St. Patapios in Loutraki, Greece
His relics was brought to the Geraneia mountains, in the Gulf of Corinth, by ascetics from Constantinople and sealed in a cave. In 1904, the relics were discovered when the cave was opened. The saint's body had been placed beneath tiles and large leaves, to protect it from the damp, and it exuded a sweet odour. On the relic was a scroll giving Patapios's name, with a wooden cross and some Byzantine coins. The holy relic is now in a special wooden structure at the back of the cave. In 1952 a Greek priest built the all-female monastery on this site. The local people initially resisted this idea since the location of the monastery is very difficult to reach even to this day.
Hymns and Troparia
Troparion in Tone 8
- The image of God was truly preserved in you, O Father,
- for you took up the Cross and followed Christ.
- By so doing you taught us to disregard the flesh for it passes away
- but to care instead for the soul, since it is immortal.
- Therefore your spirit, venerable Patápius, rejoices with the angels.
Kontakion in Tone 3
- Your temple is found to be a source of healing,
- and the people flock to it eagerly, O saint.
- They seek the healing of their diseases and the forgiveness of their sins,
- for you are a protector for all those in need, venerable Patápius.
- This is the Didemus who St. Anthony the Great said, "Do not mourn that you are deprived of physical eyes, they are only good for the flies and mosquitos. You should rejoice that you have the eyes of the soul and that your inner sight has been opened to divine and heavenly beauty."
- Father Constantine Sosanis
- Father Nektarios Kyriakos
- Images from the Monastery and the saint